Sunday, January 29, 2017

HOA That Denied Family's Request To Keep RV Used As Medical Transport In Driveway To Accommodate Travel Needs Of Severely Disabled Adult Daughter Loses Fair Housing Lawsuit; Trial To Potentially Slam HOA With Compensatory, Punitive Damages Pending

In Keizer, Oregon, the Statesman Journal reports:
  • A federal judge has ruled that a Keizer homeowners' association violated state and federal fair housing laws by not accommodating a family of former residents of McNary Estates,(1) whose daughter has multiple disabilities.

    Gary and Renee Kuhn bought a home in the Keizer neighborhood in 2005. Five years later, their daughter, Khrizma, 34, began living with the couple full time. The Kuhns are the legal guardians for their daughter, who has Down syndrome and autism, uses a wheelchair outside the home and suffers from severe bowel incontinence.

    Her incontinence problems worsened in 2014. Because she needs to be near a toilet at all times, the Kuhns and their medical providers decided in March 2015 that a motor home would be the best way for Khrizma to travel. She could always be near a restroom and use the motor home's shower in case she soiled herself.

    The Kuhns asked the McNary Estates Homeowner's Association for an exception to a rule preventing parking a motor home in their driveway, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.

    That request was not granted. After unsuccessfully trying to reverse that decision, the Kuhns sold their home and moved to Woodburn. The family filed a lawsuit in federal court in January 2016, alleging that the homeowner's association violated fair housing laws by not accommodating their daughter's needs. Almost exactly a year later, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken ruled in their favor.

    "(The Kuhns) are feeling very vindicated," said Dennis Steinman , the family's lawyer.

    Not only are the Kuhns feeling justice for the years of strife and distress they endured, they also feel they spoke up for the disabled community. They stood up for their rights, Steinman said.

    "Unfortunately, too many people who are subjected to discrimination just accept it," he said.

    A jury trial will determine damages. The trial is not scheduled, but Steinman said he expects it to go forward in 2017. Representatives from the homeowners' association did not reply to requests for comment.

    The lawsuit asked the court to order the McNary Estates Homeowner's Association to take action to provide equal access to people with disabilities and award an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages.
For more, see Judge rules for family in suit against Keizer HOA.

For earlier post on this story, see HOA That Denied Family's Accommodation Request To Keep RV Which Was Allegedly Used As Medical Transport For Daughter With Multiple Disabilities Gets Tagged With Fair Housing Discrimination Lawsuit.
(1) This homeowners' association appears to be establishing a track record for violating fair housing rights of those with disabilities. See, Court: HOA discriminated against disabled boy:
  • The McNary Estates Homeowners Association violated the Fair Housing Act by not accommodating a developmentally disabled boy, a Marion County judge ruled [].

    The Aug. 23 letter from Circuit Court Judge Joseph Guimond states the association was in error by barring a homeowner from installing privacy screens that he said prevents the boy from wandering off into the adjacent golf course. The 11-year-old child is the son of a homeowner’s girlfriend, who regularly stays at the house along with her son.