A Citizen, Pro Se

Amended Complaint – August 8 2007

A Complainant (like myself) is allowed to ‘amend’ the complaint at any time until the ‘determination’ is made.  I had submitted a first Amended Complaint on May 16, along with ICRC’s complaint form.  Between May 1 and mid-July, the ICRC investigator had raised many spurious ‘defenses’ which I treated as though they were valid, and wrote this second Amended Complaint (with attachment) to answer those ‘defenses’.

An Amended Complaint is supposed to treated as part of the original complaint, and treated as though it was received along with the original complaint.  Both my May 1 and my August 8 amended complaints were ignored and omitted from the case record by ICRC.

 

August 8, 2007

Mr. Michael Johnson
Repace Team Investigator
Indiana Civil Rights Commission
Indiana Government Center North
100 North Senate Avenue, RM N103
Indianapolis IN 46204

RE: ‘Anne E. Citizen’ v Henderson Court Apartments
ICRC Case HOha07040187
HUD Case 05-07-077608
Section 504 Case 05-07-0106-4

SUBJECT: Amended Complaint

Dear Mr. Johnson:

Thank you for allowing me to exercise my right to submit an amended complaint in my disability civil rights case. This letter, with its attachment, should be considered my second Amended Complaint and an extension of the documents I have already provided to your office. These documents include: my first Amended Complaint (with cover letter) dated May 16 2007; my May 15 memo; my May 17 memo; and my June 26 memo. I will be glad to supply you with additional copies of these documents, if needed.

My complaint is based on Henderson Court’s March 19 2007 letter with its attached 5-page Service Animal Policy and Service Animal Permit (see my May 16 Amended Complaint for my full response, or my June 26 memo for a summary). This letter threatened me with eviction to coerce me into accepting discriminatory terms and conditions because my handicap requires a reasonable accommodation (service animal). In mid-June, I received a letter (dated June 7) from Sheehan Property Management, which replaced the 5-page Policy with a 2-page Service Animal Agreement and another version of the Service Animal Permit. The threat of eviction has not been removed, and the June 7 letter simply replaces one set of discriminatory terms with another. In addition, the June 7 letter states quite plainly that Sheehan Property Management (which owns and/or manages 1653 units in eleven properties) makes a standard practice of requiring disabled tenants with service animals to accept these discriminatory terms as a condition of residency (see my June 17 memo).

Henderson Court/SheehanPM’s demand that a disabled person sign two contracts in addition to the HUD model lease is a discriminatory housing practice. SheehanPM admits that they routinely demand two additional contracts from every disabled tenant who requires a reasonable accommodation (service animal); this admission is clear evidence of a ‘pattern and practice’ of discriminatory actions against a group of disabled people.

In case the letter of the law seems unclear on this point, I will quote from the HUD/DOJ 2004 Joint Statement on Reasonable Accommodations Under The Fair Housing Act, which, in its description of prohibited discrimination, states:

The Act prohibits housing providers from discriminating against applicants or residents . . . and from treating persons with disabilities less favorably than others because of their disability. The Act also makes it unlawful for any person to refuse “to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford … person(s) [with disabilities] equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. The Act also prohibits housing providers from refusing residency to persons with disabilities, or placing conditions on their residency, because those persons may require reasonable accommodations.

In our phone conversation on July 24, I gave you a point-by-point breakdown of the reasoning behind my belief that the Service Animal contracts required by Henderson Court Apartments (and their Owner/Management Agent, Sheehan Property Management) are ‘discriminatory housing practices’ under State and Federal law. Because it was this explanation that clarified my complaint to you, I will document that reasoning here for the benefit of other reviewers:

Disabled people are a protected class under FHA Title 8. Disabled people whose disability requires a service animal are a sub-group of that protected class, and share the same protections as the whole class.

The right to reasonable accommodation for disabled people is protected by FHA Title 8. Service animals are a type of reasonable accommodation, therefore the right to a service animal is protected under Title 8.

Since ‘service animals’ are defined by the fact that they are required due to disability, applying ‘terms and conditions’ to service animals is equivalent to applying those ‘terms and conditions’ a sub-group of the protected class of disabled people.

The Landlord acknowledges that my animal is a ‘service animal’ (March 19, June 7) and acknowledges my right to a service animal (June 7). In making these acknowledgements, the Landlord also tacitly acknowledges (1) that I am disabled under the civil rights definition of ‘disability’, and (2) that I have a right to reasonable accommodations, including that of having a service animal. Nevertheless, the Landlord threatens a disabled person with eviction to coerce acceptance of discriminatory terms and conditions that interfere with the exercise of the right to a reasonable accommodation (March 19 and June 7).

In addition, the June 7 letter states plainly that the ‘requirement’ of signing two additional contracts is routinely imposed on a sub-group of disabled residents in all properties owned or managed by Sheehan Property Management. This statement by the President of Sheehan PM establishes a ‘pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment’ of the right to a reasonable accommodation (service animal).

Following this chain of reasoning, I believe that Henderson Court and Sheehan Property Management’s actions, as evidenced in their March 19 and June 7 letters and their Service Animal contracts, appear to:

1. Discriminate, make unavailable or otherwise deny housing due to handicap (FHA 804f1A, 42 USC 3604f2, IC 22-9.5-5-1(a), IC 22-9.5-5-5(a))
2. Discriminate in terms and conditions of rental due to handicap (FHA 804f2A, 42 USC 3604f2A, IC 22-9.5-5-1(b), IC 22-9.5-5-5(b))
3. Refuse Reasonable Accommodation (Service Animal) due to handicap (FHA 804f3B, 42 USC 3604f3B, IC 22-9.5-5-5(c)(2))
4. Coerce, threaten, interfere with the exercise and enjoyment a protected right (Reasonable Accommodation) (FHA 818, 42 USC 3617, IC 22-9.5-5-8 )
5. Demonstrate a pattern and practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights protected by FHA Title 8 (FHA 814, 42 USC 3614, IC 22-9.5-8.1-1)

As we discussed on July 24, I have attached a document reviewing State and Federal discrimination laws, arranged according to the numbered list of discriminatory housing practices above. Since you raised many questions during the investigation period (which might also occur to other reviewers), I have included those questions and my responses in the attachment.

I hope this Amended Complaint provides sufficient clarification for your investigation and for a finding of reasonable cause. If it would be helpful to you, I would be glad to go back through this letter and insert the relevant quotes from my previous documents, to clarify each step of my reasoning. If I can provide any other information to you, please let me know.

With due respect,

‘Anne E. Citizen’
Attachment: Responses to Questions Raised during ICRC Investigation and Review of Laws Prohibiting Discriminatory Housing Practices (7 pages)

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