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Attorney sues condo developer over accessibility

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A resident of the 3Mass condo development who uses an electric wheelchair is suing the developers for failing to provide handicap accessibility to a rooftop terrace overlooking downtown Indianapolis.

Katrina Gossett, an attorney at Baker & Daniels, had already put down her deposit when she learned that the terrace, offering impressive skyline views, could not be accessed without climbing at least two flights of stairs, the lawsuit says. Gossett agreed to buy the condo in 2008 and moved into her fourth-floor unit in January.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, on Sept. 29, asks for Halakar Properties Inc., Keystone Construction Corp. and Schmidt Associates Inc. to bring the building into compliance with the federal Fair Housing Act. All three companies are based in Indianapolis. Gossett also is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, and attorney's fees.

An attorney for the developers, J. Thomas Vetne of Jones Obenchain of South Bend, said they are investigating the complaint and preparing a response. An official with Halakar said company policy prohibits comment on pending litigation.

The developers have marketed the terrace as an amenity for the building. It is maintained by homeowners' association fees that Gossett is required to pay, the suit says.

"Defendants have collectively failed to design and construct public-use areas that are readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities, which is discriminatory conduct in violation of the Fair Housing Act," says the suit, brought by Indianapolis-based DeLaney & DeLaney.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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