On behalf of private fair housing organizations, Relman Colfax recently settled two cases involving allegations of accessibility violations for newly constructed apartment complexes in New Mexico and Indiana. Each was settled prior to the filing of a federal court complaint.
The New Mexico settlement involves the National Fair Housing Alliance and GSL Properties, Inc. DBG Properties LLC, DekkerPerichSabatini Ltd. architects and others and requires modifications to make 14 properties located in New Mexico more accessible to people with disabilities.
The Indiana settlement involves the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana and Elwood Real Equities, Inc., Construction Management & Design, Inc., Property Management & Maintenance, LLC, J.S.L. & Associates architects and others and expands access to persons with disabilities in 14 apartment complexes located across Central and Northern Indiana.
Each settlement requires defendants to undertake extensive retrofits and remedial actions in the public and common use areas of all the apartment complexes involved; including adding more ramps and curb ramps and replacing steep sidewalks; making accessible routes to units and removing steps; providing the appropriate number of accessible and van accessible parking spaces.
Each settlement includes a requirement that owners establish a modification funds to provide increased accessibility in individual units in the complexes at the request of tenants, especially with respect to accessible bathrooms. The modification fund in New Mexico totals $300,000 and the Indiana fund totals $280,000.
Both agreements provide for payment of substantial damages and attorney’s fees as part of the settlement.
The Relman Colfax team consisted of Reed Colfax and Sara Pratt with paralegal assistance from Callan Showers. Morgan Williams also represented NFHA in the New Mexico matter, and Tom Crishon of Disability Rights Indiana was co-counsel in the Indiana matter.