Thursday, May 30, 2013

Feds Settle Fair Housing Suit Against Developer Accused Of Building Housing With Features Making It Inaccessible To Those With Disabilities; Action Against Design, Engineering Professionals Continues

From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):

  • The Justice Department announced [] that Oregon developer David Montagne and others affiliated with him have agreed to pay $80,000 and remove accessibility barriers at Gateway Village, a 275 unit apartment complex in Salem, Oregon, to settle a lawsuit alleging that they had violated the Fair Housing Act by building the complex with steps and other features that made it inaccessible to persons with disabilities.

    Under the terms of the parties’ agreement, Montagne and the other developers, Montagne Development Company, Gateway II LLC, Dav II Investment Group LLC and William Jones, must take extensive actions to make the complex accessible to persons with disabilities.

    These corrective actions include removing steps from sidewalks, widening interior doorways, reducing threshold heights, replacing excessively sloped portions of sidewalks, and installing properly sloped curb ramps to allow persons with disabilities to access the sidewalks from the parking areas.

    In addition, these defendants will pay $48,000 to the Fair Housing Council of Oregon,(1) whose investigation revealed the violations and which intervened in the United States’ lawsuit,(2) and $32,000 to establish a settlement fund for the purpose of compensating disabled individuals impacted by the accessibility violations.

    This settlement does not resolve the entire lawsuit. The case continues against the defendant that provided design and engineering services for Gateway Village, Multi/Tech Engineering.
For the Justice Department press release, see Justice Department Announces Fair Housing Settlement with Oregon Developer.

(1)The Fair Housing Council of Oregon is a nonprofit civil rights organization whose mission is to eliminate illegal housing discrimination through enforcement and education across Oregon and southwest Washington..

(2) See Fair Housing Defense blog: Standing and Fair Housing Testers for a brief introduction to the subject of outfits that employ investigators, testers, etc. to conduct private probes into alleged housing discrimination and their legal standing to file, or intervene in, Fair Housing lawsuits.

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