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Lawsuit alleges city violated Fair Housing Act

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The United States has filed a lawsuit against the city of Columbus accusing it of violating the Fair Housing Act because it refused to grant a permit to a nonprofit group that wanted to operate a group home for men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

The Department of Justice on Wednesday filed the suit, United States of America v. The City of Columbus, Ind., No. 1:09-CV-1225, in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division.

In the civil complaint, the federal government says the Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals refused to grant a special use application to Bethesda House in 2007 because of discriminatory attitudes toward recovering addicts among neighboring property owners. The house would hold up to 11 men at a time who are considered "handicapped" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. Section 3602(h).

Bethesda House filed timely complaints with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, alleging discrimination on the basis of disability. HUD referred the cases to the Department of Justice after conducting an investigation.

The United States is asking the court to enjoin Columbus from violating the Fair Housing Act and refusing to allow the operation of Bethesda House. It also asks for monetary damages against each person aggrieved by the city's discriminatory housing practices and a civil penalty.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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