Chicago, IL, May 28, 2015 – The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc., in partnership with Reed Smith LLP, settled a federal fair housing discrimination lawsuit on behalf of Kimberly Katz and Kenneth Payne against Kane Property Management Corporation, Brandon Shores Condominium Association, and Marilynn Wharton.
Plaintiff Kimberly Katz has osteoarthritis, an ACL tear, a torn meniscus in her right knee, and neuropathic pain syndrome, which makes it difficult for her to maneuver in tight spaces. As a result, Ms. Katz requires a handicap accessible parking spot so that she can safely enter and exit her car and walk to her home in the Brandon Shores Condominium Building.
The lawsuit alleged that, even though Ms. Katz is disabled and unable to use her deeded parking spot because it is flanked by a cement wall on one side and a tall gate on the other, the defendants refused to provide her a reasonable accommodation after multiple requests for an accessible parking spot. Also, when Ms. Katz attempted to make private agreements to obtain an accessible parking spot on her own, the defendants actively interfered with her efforts. The lawsuit alleged that Brandon Shores Condominium Association’s President, Marilyn Wharton would monitor the parking lot and refuse to allow Ms. Katz to use another tenant’s parking space, even though Ms. Katz had made an oral agreement with this tenant to park in the space.
The lawsuit further alleged that the defendants intentionally and willfully refused to reasonably accommodate Ms. Katz’s handicap and thus, denying her equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. Without a handicap accessible parking space, Ms. Katz had extreme difficulty getting from her car to her condo. She suffered physical and emotional injuries. Ms. Katz’s rights to fair housing were violated as she had been deprived of the ability to use and enjoy her dwelling in the same manner as non-handicapped individuals.
“We are pleased with the terms of the settlement which provides a designated handicapped parking space for Ms. Katz and any other disabled persons, as well as monetary damages in the amount of $38,000.00," states Chicago Lawyers’ Committee Fair Housing attorney, Danielle McCain. The defendants are also required require to attend fair housing training and adopt new rules to govern how they respond to reasonable accommodation requests.
Kimberly Katz and Kenneth Payne were represented by Reed Smith’s pro bono attorneys, Casey L. Westover and Jillian L. Burstein, as well as Danielle McCain and Jessica Schneider, staff attorneys for the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee.
The focus of Reed Smith’s pro bono work is on aiding people of limited means, assisting charities with their legal needs, and championing important legal and human rights. Reed Smith’s pro bono work has received much acclaim and recognition for its services to the underprivileged.
Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. protects and promotes civil rights by bringing the strength and prestige of the private bar to bear on the problems of poverty and discrimination. The Committee champions equal justice and community development for underrepresented people by partnering with volunteer lawyers to provide litigation and transactional representation. The Fair Housing Project works to eliminate housing discrimination and promote fair and equal housing in the Chicago metropolitan area through legal representation, education, and advocacy. For more information, visit www.clccrul.org .
We are looking for a full-time National Volunteer Service position with AmeriCorps to start in August, that includes a monthly stipend and some other benefits. The VISTA will work on outreach and media for our fair housing project. For more information on the position and to apply CLICK HERE.