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ADAIN Blog

by Richard Acree of ADA Inspections Nationwide, LLC

The DOJ Files ADA Lawsuit Against Owners and Developers of 82 Apartment Complexes in 13 States

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) Files Lawsuit Alleging Disability-Based Discrimination by Owners and Developers of 82 Apartment Complexes in 13 States.

The DOJ and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio recently filed a lawsuit against Ohio-based Miller-Valentine Operations Inc. and affiliated companies, owners, developers and builders of 82 multifamily housing complexes located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants failed to design and construct housing units and related facilities to make them accessible to persons with disabilities in compliance with the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The 82 complexes contain more than 3,000 units that are required by the FHA to have accessible features, and most contain public spaces that are required to comply with the ADA.

The complaint alleges not only that Miller-Valentine designed and built multi-family housing complexes that are not accessible to people with disabilities, but also that Miller-Valentine took public money to build those complexes and yet still built them such that some citizens wouldn’t be able to live there.”

The lawsuit alleges that the 82 properties have significant accessibility barriers including: steps leading to building entrances; non-existent or excessively sloped pedestrian routes from apartment units to site amenities (e.g., picnic areas, dumpsters, clubhouse/leasing offices); inaccessible parking; inaccessible bathrooms and kitchens; inaccessible door hardware; and insufficient maneuvering space at unit entrances and entrances to common use areas that make those entrances inaccessible to many people with disabilities.

The lawsuit seeks an order (1) requiring the defendants to bring the properties into compliance with the FHA and the ADA, (2) requiring the defendants to pay monetary damages to persons harmed by the lack of accessibility and civil penalties to the United States to vindicate the public interest, and (3) prohibiting the defendants from designing or constructing future residential properties in a manner that discriminates against persons with disabilities.

If you observe a building that is not ADA compliant and you would like to know how to proceed, please see the link at What To Do When A Building Is Not ADA Compliant or Accessible.