East River Housing Corp. v. N.Y. State Division of Human Rights

R&E successfully represented a 1600+ unit cooperative corporation in defending them from claims of discrimination and negotiated a settlement of pending litigation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. By achieving a settlement, we were able to avoid a protracted jury trial, saving our client a fortune in litigation costs and sparing the coop from any potential exposure.

The three complainants in the case had all harbored dogs in violation of the coop’s rules. The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged that the coop engaged in discriminatory acts against complainants, and had engaged in a “pattern or practice of discrimination.” The coop had at all times maintained that these charges were brought in bad faith by people who do not suffer a disability, and who did not require a reasonable accommodation.

As part of the settlement, there was no finding of discrimination or a “pattern or practice” of discrimination on behalf of the coop, which were the two main points of the government’s complaint. This is the first time that the Justice Department has agreed to a settlement requiring a tenant who purportedly suffers from a disability requiring a reasonable accommodation to permanently remove the pet.

(United States District Court, Southern District of New York – Decided: 03/19/2015)
(Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. Team: Bradley S. Silverbush , Anthony J. Virga for plaintiff)