The Justice Department announced that J. Randolph Parry Architects P.C. (Parry) has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit alleging that it violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to design and construct senior living facilities to be accessible to people with disabilities.
Under the consent order that was approved by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Parry will pay $350,000 to fund retrofits at eight Pennsylvania properties, $75,000 into a settlement fund to compensate individuals harmed by the inaccessible housing and $25,000 to the government as a civil penalty to vindicate the public interest. The retrofits will, among other things, make the kitchens and bathrooms at these properties more accessible and useable. The department previously resolved its claims against defendant LifeQuest Nursing Center, the developer and owner of one of the properties. The department’s lawsuit against the owners of other properties will continue and is unaffected by these settlements.
“The Justice Department is committed to vigorously enforcing the federal laws guaranteeing people with disabilities equal access to housing,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. This settlement should serve as a reminder to architects and developers across the country that they cannot ignore federally-mandated accessibility requirements, including those that apply to housing for seniors.”
The consent order requires Parry to contribute funds toward retrofits and to compensate persons who have been harmed as a result of the inaccessible conditions at these properties:
Individuals who believe they or someone they know may have had difficulties because of the inaccessible conditions at any of these properties should send an e-mail to the Justice Department at email@example.com or leave a message at 1-833-591-0291 and select option numbers (1-4-1).
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division enforces the FHA, which prohibits discrimination in housing based on disability, race, color, religion, national origin, sex and familial status. This law requires that multifamily housing buildings with four or more units constructed after March 13, 1991, have basic accessible features. Enacted in 1990, the ADA requires that places of public accommodation, such as rental offices at multifamily housing complexes constructed after Jan. 26, 1993, be accessible to persons with disabilities.
More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.justice.gov/crt. Individuals may report disability discrimination or other forms of housing discrimination by calling the Justice Department’s Housing Discrimination tip line at 1-833-591-0291, e-mailing the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or submitting a report online. Individuals may also report such discrimination by contacting HUD at 1-800-669-9777 or by filing a complaint online.