Judge Awards Sanctions in HIV/AIDS Housing Discrimination Case

Plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions against Manhattan Apartments in Short v. Manhattan Apts., et al., was granted by the Hon. Kimba Wood on October 11, 2012. The lawsuit alleges that Defendants Manhattan Apartments and Abba Realty discriminate on the basis of both disability and source of income. Ignoring repeated requests from the Plaintiffs and flouting multiple court orders, Defendant Manhattan Apartments refused to produce its rental listings database.

Judge Wood found that Manhattan Apartments “had a culpable state of mind in failing to produce the requested documents” and that it “acted with intentional bad faith.” Accordingly, the Court awarded attorneys’ fees to the Plaintiffs in the amount of $23,100 and designated the following fact: for the relevant time period, Manhattan Apartments’ rental listing database included directives from landlords that the company not assist clients with governmental housing subsidies in applying for or renting those landlords’ apartments.

Plaintiffs are represented by ECBA’s Diane L. Houk, along with co-counsel Armen Merjian and Robert Bacigalupi of Housing Works. In awarding attorneys’ fees, Judge Wood praised the “exceptionally high quality” of Plaintiffs’ counsel’s work, while citing their extensive experience and positive track records. Further, the decision takes note of the novel subject matter of the case, housing discrimination against individuals living with AIDS and using a rental subsidy provided by the City’s HIV/AIDS Services Administration (“HASA”).

To read the decision, click  here.


Federal Judge Denies Real Estate Company’s Motion to Dismiss

Federal District Court Judge Batts denied a motion to dismiss a disability and source of income discrimination lawsuit brought by ECBA and the Urban Justice Center on behalf of a formerly homeless disabled man and a non-profit fair housing organization against 20 real estate companies and brokers. The motion was filed by Queens-based Bayside NY Homes LLC d/b/a Keller Williams Realty. Judge Batts found that the plaintiffs had sufficiently alleged disability discrimination in their Complaint against the Queens-based real estate company based on a disparate impact theory of liability. ECBA attorneys Diane L. Houk and Elizabeth Saylor represent plaintiff Fair Housing Justice Center in the matter.

To read the Order, click