ILNews

Co-op discriminated against disabled renter, suit claims

Dave Stafford
February 8, 2016
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A daughter and care provider for her quadriplegic mother who was denied housing at a south side Indianapolis housing cooperative has sued in federal court, claiming the apartment management violated state and federal housing and anti-discrimination laws.

Sharna McFarland claims she was sent a letter urging her to attend a mandatory new member orientation last August after she applied to rent an apartment at Grandville Cooperative. After she met with board members at the orientation session and informed them of her mother’s disability, she received a rejection letter stating “Grandview Cooperative is not handicap accessible and it will be a liability to offer you a unit that is not accommodating to everyone in the household.”

The lawsuit filed Thursday notes Grandville is a 156-unit complex that was built and developed as affordable housing for lower-income tenants, and that its property management company, Kirkpatrick Management Co. Inc., is among the largest in Indianapolis and has a portfolio of more than 10,000 apartments.

The suit was filed on behalf of the family by the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana Inc. and Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services. It seeks actual and punitive damages, declaratory judgments that defendants violated the federal Fair Housing Act and the Indiana Fair Housing Act, and legal fees.

“Disability has been a federally protected class since 1988, but we still see examples of housing discrimination daily,” said Amy Nelson, executive director of the FHCCI. “Persons with disabilities must have housing options available to them similar to those without disabilities, including access to housing of their choice.”

The center said in a statement it investigated the family’s claims and found evidence of discrimination due to disability in violation of fair housing laws.

“This case outlines Kirkpatrick’s blatant disregard for the law and it is a clear violation of the Fair Housing Act. An established management company of this size should be knowledgeable and in compliance with the law,” IPAS Executive Director Dawn Adams said in a statement. “All people with disabilities have the right to choose where they want to live and Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services will continue to protect this right.”

The suit was filed before Judge Sarah Evans Barker in the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. The case is Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana Inc., Virginia Morton and Sharna McFarland v. Grandville Cooperative Inc., Karen Mitchell and Kirkpatrick Management Inc., 1:16-CV-300.
 

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  1. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

  2. Unlike the federal judge who refused to protect me, the Virginia State Bar gave me a hearing. After the hearing, the Virginia State Bar refused to discipline me. VSB said that attacking me with the court ADA coordinator had, " all the grace and charm of a drive-by shooting." One does wonder why the VSB was able to have a hearing and come to that conclusion, but the federal judge in Indiana slammed the door of the courthouse in my face.

  3. I agree. My husband has almost the exact same situation. Age states and all.

  4. Thanks Jim. We surprised ourselves with the first album, so we did a second one. We are releasing it 6/30/17 at the HiFi. The reviews so far are amazing! www.itsjustcraig.com Skope Mag: It’s Just Craig offers a warm intimacy with the tender folk of “Dark Corners”. Rather lovely in execution, It’s Just Craig opts for a full, rich sound. Quite ornate instrumentally, the songs unfurl with such grace and style. Everything about the album feels real and fully lived. By far the highlight of the album are the soft smooth reassuring vocals whose highly articulate lyrics have a dreamy quality to them. Stories emerge out of these small snapshots of reflective moments.... A wide variety of styles are utilized, with folk anchoring it but allowing for chamber pop, soundtrack work, and found electronics filtering their way into the mix. Without a word, It’s Just Craig sets the tone of the album with the warble of “Intro”. From there things get truly started with the hush of “Go”. Building up into a great structure, “Go” has a kindness to it. Organs glisten in the distance on the fragile textures of “Alone” whose light melody adds to the song’s gorgeousness. A wonderful bloom of color defines the spaciousness of “Captain”. Infectious grooves take hold on the otherworldly origins of “Goodnight” with precise drum work giving the song a jazzy feeling. Hazy to its very core is the tragedy of “Leaving Now”. By far the highlight of the album comes with the closing impassioned “Thirty-Nine” where many layers of sound work together possessing a poetic quality.

  5. Andrew, if what you report is true, then it certainly is newsworthy. If what you report is false, then it certainly is newsworthy. Any journalists reading along??? And that same Coordinator blew me up real good as well, even destroying evidence to get the ordered wetwork done. There is a story here, if any have the moxie to go for it. Search ADA here for just some of my experiences with the court's junk yard dog. https://www.scribd.com/document/299040062/Brown-ind-Bar-memo-Pet-cert Yep, drive by shootings. The lawyers of the Old Dominion got that right. Career executions lacking any real semblance of due process. It is the ISC way ... under the bad shepard's leadership ... and a compliant, silent, boot-licking fifth estate.

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