WASHINGTON—The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against the owners, developers, architects and civil engineers of Park Place Apartments, a 276-unit complex in Louisville, Ky., for failing to provide accessible features required by the Fair Housing Act.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Louisville, alleges that Kevin D. Cogan, Edwynn Burckle, George E. Clark, Doris Cogan, Bayus-Evola Architects, James A. Hall, Hall Construction Company, Mindel Scott & Associates Inc. and Willett Engineering Company discriminated against persons with disabilities when they designed and constructed Park Place with, among other things, interior doors that are too narrow for persons who use wheelchairs; kitchens and bathrooms that limit or prevent individuals who use wheelchairs from maneuvering about them; thermostat controls that are mounted above the maximum reach height of persons who use wheelchairs; and routes from the public access parking areas to apartment units and to site amenities that are not accessible to persons who use wheelchairs.
"Since 1991, federal law has required that new multi-family housing complexes with four or more units be built with certain accessible features. There is no excuse for developers and design professionals to fail to comply," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Inaccessible multi-family housing developments deny persons with disabilities their legal right to equal housing opportunities."
This lawsuit arose from a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD conducted an investigation and referred the matter to the Justice Department. The suit seeks a court order requiring the defendants to make appropriate accessibility retrofits at the complex, to pay monetary damages to individuals who have been harmed by their conduct and to refrain from future discrimination.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex familial status, national origin and disability. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.usdoj.gov/crt. Individuals who believe that they have been victims of housing discrimination at Park Place or have information related to this lawsuit can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, ext. 9996, or e-mail the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.