WASHINGTON – The Justice Department filed a lawsuit today in federal district court in Nashville, Tenn., against Murphy Development, LLC, for failing to provide required accessible features for persons with disabilities at seven Nashville-area multi-family housing developments with more than 375 covered ground floor units.
"The Fair Housing Act requires multi-family housing to be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "When design professionals and builders fail to design and construct homes without the required accessibility features, we will vigorously enforce the law."
According to the complaint, the public and common use areas of these developments lack walkway connections to covered dwelling units; have routes leading to covered dwelling units that are too steeply sloped to be accessible to persons who use mobility assistance devices; and have non-protected stairways and other protruding objects that pose a danger to persons who are visually impaired. In addition, the exterior doors to covered dwellings have knob handles which require grasping and twisting of the wrist, which could pose a problem for persons with certain physical disabilities. The complexes at issue are Meadowcreek Apartments, Miller Town Apartments, 17th Street Apartments, Forest View Apartments, Swiss Ridge Apartments, Lakeside Apartments and Stonebridge Apartments.
The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring the defendants to modify the complexes to bring them into compliance with federal law and prohibiting future discrimination. It also seeks monetary damages to compensate victims and a civil penalty to be paid to the government to vindicate the public interest.
Fighting housing discrimination is a top priority of the Justice Department. Since Jan. 1, 2001, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has filed 269 cases to enforce the Fair Housing Act, 124 of which have alleged discrimination based on disability.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt, http://www.usdoj.gov/fairhousing. Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of discrimination at these or other properties built by Murphy Development can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, e-mail the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.