John Dubois and Timothy Prindable lived in a Honolulucondominium on the beach at Waikiki, across from Kapiolani Park and nearDiamond Head. The condo by-laws say, “No animals ? shall be permitted onthe premises, except that qualified individuals with disabilities may have assistanceanimals.”
In January 2000, Dubois brought home “Einstein,”an English bulldog. Dubois and Prindable submitted to the association severalletters from doctors recommending they be allowed to keep Einstein for”medical reasons” but without further details.
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Upon request by the homeowner’s association, they submittedletters from a behavioral medicine specialist and two doctors stating Prindablesuffered depression and he would benefit from animal-assisted therapy.
The condo homeowner’s association then granted Dubois andPrindable temporary permission to keep Einstein, pending review of Prindable’smedical condition.
However, Prindable then filed a housing discriminationcomplaint against the condo owner’s association with the U.S. Dept. of Housingand Urban Development, which referred the matter to the Hawaii Civil RightsCommission.
But rather than await the results, Dubois and Prindablefiled this lawsuit, alleging discrimination.
If you were the judge would you rule the condo homeowner’sassociation discriminated against Dubois and Prindable?
The judge said no!
The condominium homeowner’s association did not deny therequest of Dubois and Prindable for a reasonable accommodation of serviceanimal Einstein, the judge began.
“The Condominium Association never required Einstein toleave and thus never refused to make the requested accommodation, which is oneof the essential elements of the Fair Housing Act claim. Dubois and Prindablekept Einstein from the day they brought him home in January 2000 until the daythey vacated their unit in September 2003,” the judge emphasized.
The homeowner’s association requested more medicalinformation from Prindable, and that was not unreasonable to verify that anexception to the no-pets rule should be made to accommodate Prindable’scondition, the judge concluded.
Based on the 2006 U.S. Court of Appeals decision in Duboisv. Association of Apartment Owners 2985 Kalakaua, 453 Fed.3d 1175.
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Copyright 2006 Inman News