Justice Department Settle Idaho Lawsuit Alleging Discrimination based on Disability

Thursday, May 29, 2008 – WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced that the owners and managers of Shadow Canyon Apartments, located in Idaho Falls, Idaho, have agreed to pay $62,000 to resolve a lawsuit filed by the Department alleging that defendants refused to allow residents with disabilities to keep assistance dogs.

The Fair Housing Act requires landlords to make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Department will continue to vigorously enforce laws that prevent discrimination against people with disabilities.”

This lawsuit arose as a result of a charge of discrimination issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) following HUD’s investigation of a complaint filed by the Intermountain Fair Housing Council.

The consent decree, which must be approved by the U.S. District Court in Idaho, calls for training, a nondiscrimination policy, record keeping, and monitoring. Additionally, defendants will pay $7,500 to compensate a former tenant and $17,000 to compensate the Intermountain Fair Housing Council. In addition, they will establish a $12,500 fund to compensate any victims subsequently identified by the United States, and they will pay a $25,000 civil penalty to the United States.

Individuals who believe that they may have been a victim of discrimination at Shadow Canyon Apartments should call the Justice Department’s Housing and Civil Enforcement Section at 1-800-896-7743. Anyone wishing to report other unlawful housing discrimination should also contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. Since Jan. 1, 2001, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has filed 247 cases to enforce the Fair Housing Act, 117 of which have alleged discrimination based on disability.

More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt.