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Title Citation Alternate Citation Summary Type
Ohio v. George 2014-Ohio-5781 (App. Ct, 2014) Clayton George was convicted of raping two children of his girlfriend, age six and eight at the time of the crime. Among assignments of error on appeal was that the trial court had abused its discretion in allowing Avery, a facility dog, to accompany the two children during their testimony without a showing of necessity. On appeal, the defense argued that (1) unlike the facility dogs in Tohom, Spence, and Dye, Avery was “recognizable on the record while he was in court,” (2) the prosecution failed to show necessity for having Avery at trial, and (3) the standards set in Tohom, Spence, and Dye should have applied to determine whether Avery was permitted at trial. The appellate court noted that the defense had not objected to the presence of the dog during the trial nor had he made these three points at trial, meaning that the appellate court did not need to consider them for the first time on appeal under Ohio appellate law. The assignments of error were all overruled and the judgement of the trial court was affirmed. Case
Warren v. Delvista Towers Condominium Ass'n, Inc. 49 F.Supp.3d 1082 (S.D. Fla. 2014) In its motion for summary judgment, Defendant argues Plaintiff’s accommodation request under the Federal Fair Housing Act (the “FHA”) to modify Defendant's “no pet” policy was unreasonable because Plaintiff's emotional support animal was a pit bull and pit bulls were banned by county ordinance. In denying the Defendant’s motion, the District Court found that changing a no pets policy for an emotional support animal was a reasonable accommodation under the FHA. The court also found that enforcing the county ordinance would violate the FHA by permitting a discriminatory housing practice. However, in line with US Department of Housing and Urban Development notices, the court found genuine issues of material fact remained as to whether the dog posed a direct threat to members of the condominium association, and whether that threat could be reduced by other reasonable accommodations. Case
Leigh v. State 58 So. 3d 396 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2011) 36 Fla. L. Weekly D778 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2011) Philip Leigh (Defendant) appeals from an order summarily denying his motion for postconviction relief. Following a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to traffic. Defendant claimed his trial counsel was ineffective for allowing him to appear in a leg restraint and for failing to object to the presence of a dog. Apparently, the dog became disruptive on more than one occasion and was visible to the judge and jury. The Florida appellate court reversed and remanded, with a provision that the trial court could attach portions of the record that would refute the possibility that defense counsel’s failure to object to the dog’s presence indicated ineffective assistance of counsel. Since there was apparently no evidence of the dog’s presence in the record at all, the trial court was presumably obligated to conduct an evidentiary hearing on the matter. Case
Fair Housing of the Dakotas, Inc. v. Goldmark Property Management, Inc. 78 F.Supp.2d 1028 (D.N.D. 2011) 42 NDLR P 280, 66 A.L.R. Fed. 2d 687 Plaintiffs bring this action against Goldmark Property Management alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The alleged discriminatory policy is a mandatory application fee, non-refundable deposit, and monthly charge that Goldmark imposes on tenants with disabilities who reside with a non-specially trained assistance animal (i.e. a companion pet). These same fees are waived for tenants with disabilities who reside with a trained assistance animal (i.e. a seeing eye dog). The FHA encompasses all types of assistance animals regardless of training; therefore, Goldmark's policy implicates the FHA. Further, Plaintiffs have met their burden of establishing a prima face case of discrimination and have presented sufficient evidence to create genuine issues for trial on the questions of the necessity and reasonableness of the requested accommodation and whether Goldmark's alleged objective for the policy is permissible under the FHA and not pretextual. Therefore, Goldmark's motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part. It is granted as to Plaintiffs' claim of disparate treatment because no proof was offered of a discriminatory intent. It is denied as to Plaintiffs' claims of disparate impact and failure to make a reasonable accommodation. Case
Stevens v. Hollywood Towers and Condominium Ass'n 836 F.Supp.2d 800 (N.D. Ill. 2011) Plaintiffs brought the instant suit contending that their Condo Board's refusal to accommodate the need for an emotional support animal forced them to sell their condo. The Defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state claims upon which relief could be granted. After finding that Plaintiffs were not entitled to unrestricted access for their dog despite a no pet waiver and after needing more facts to determine whether Defendants restrictions on Plaintiffs’ access to the building were reasonable, the District Court denied Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims under the Federal Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) and the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). The District Court also found Plaintiffs' interference or intimidation allegations sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. However, the District Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ nuisance claim because Plaintiffs had not contended that Defendants unreasonably used their own property to interfere in Plaintiffs' use and enjoyment of their home, but rather, contended that Defendants made rules that interfered with the Plaintiff's ability to use the common areas of the property as they wished. Plaintiffs’ intentional infliction of emotional distress claim was also dismissed because Plaintiffs had not sufficiently alleged that Defendants' conduct was extreme or outrageous. Finally, the constructive eviction claim was dismissed because more than a year had past between the owners’ accommodation request and the sale of their condominium. In sum, Counts I, II, and III went forward, but the remainder of the complaint was dismissed. Additionally, Defendant Sudler Building Services was dismissed from the complaint. Case
Connecticut v. Devon D. --- A.3d ---- 2016 WL 3194779 (Conn.,2016) 321 Conn. 656 (2016) Devon D. was convicted of four counts sexual assault and three counts of risk of injury to a child upon allegations made by three of Devon D.’s biological children, C1, C2, and C3. He appealed his conviction on the grounds that the trial court had abused its discretion by having the three cases to be tried jointly and by permitting C1 to testify with a dog at her feet. The appellate court had accepted these arguments and reversed and remanded for a new trial, but the Supreme Court of Connecticut reversed the appellate court. The Connecticut Supreme Court concluded that “the trial court properly exercised its discretion in permitting the cases to be tried together because the evidence in all three cases was cross admissible,” and reversed on that issue. As to the appellate court’s determination that the trial court had abused its discretion in permitting a dog to sit near C1 during her testimony to provide comfort and support,” the Supreme Court also reversed, reinstating the verdict and judgment of the trial court. Case
Castillo Condominium Ass'n v. U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development --- F.3d ----, 2016 WL 1732499 (1st Cir. May 2, 2016) In 2010, the Castillo Condominium Association learned that Carlo Giménez Bianco (Giménez), a condominium resident, was keeping a dog on the premises and warned him that he would be fined unless he removed the dog. Giménez, who suffered from anxiety and depression, advised the board of directors that he planned to keep his emotional support dog and that he was entitled to do so under federal law. As a result of the conflict, Giménez was forced to vacate and sell his unit and he filed a complaint of disability discrimination with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD filed a charge of discrimination against the Association under the Fair Housing Act. An administrative law judge (ALJ) concluded that the Association had not violated the Act because Giménez failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he suffered from a mental impairment. The ALJ’s decision was appealed to the Secretary, who found that Gimenez suffered from a cognizable disability. The Court of Appeals, First Circuit, held that substantial evidence supported the Secretary's finding that the Association's refusal to allow Gimenez to keep an emotional support dog in his condominium unit as a reasonable accommodation for his disability violated the Fair Housing Act. The Association’s petition for review was denied and the Secretary’s cross petition was granted. Case
Anderson v. City of Blue Ash --- F.3d ----2015 WL 4774591 (6th Cir., 2015) This case stems from a dispute between Plaintiff/Appellant and the city of Blue Ash (City) on whether Plaintiff/Appellant could keep a miniature horse at her house as a service animal for her disabled minor daughter. Plaintiff/Appellant’s daughter suffers from a number of disabilities that affect her ability to walk and balance independently, and the horse enabled her to play and get exercise in her backyard without assistance from an adult. In 2013, the City passed a municipal ordinance banning horses from residential property and then criminally prosecuted plaintiff/appellant for violating it. Plaintiff/Appellant’s defense was that the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and the Fair Housing Amendments Act (“FHAA”), both entitled her to keep the horse at her house as a service animal for her daughter. Rejecting those arguments, the Hamilton County Municipal Court found Plaintiff/Appellant guilty. Plaintiff/Appellant filed suit in federal court arguing that the ADA and FHAA entitled her to keep her horse as a service animal. The district court granted summary judgment to the City, finding that Plaintiff/Appellant's claims were barred by claim and issue preclusion stemming from her Municipal Court conviction. On appeal, the Sixth Circuit found that, because the fact-finding procedures available in a criminal proceeding in municipal court differed substantially from those available in a civil proceeding, Plaintiff/Appellant's conviction had no preclusive effect on this lawsuit. Furthermore, while there was no evidence that the City's actions were motivated by discriminatory intent against the minor daughter or had a disparate impact on disabled individuals, there were significant factual disputes regarding whether the ADA or FHAA required the City to permit Plaintiff/Appellant to keep her miniature horse at her house. The district court's grant of summary judgment to the City on those claims was therefore reversed. Case
Chavez v. Aber --- F.Supp.3d ----2015 WL 4724807 (W.D. Tex., 2015) Plaintiffs sought damages stemming from Defendants' refusal to accommodate Plaintiffs’ minor son's mental health disabilities by allowing Plaintiffs to keep a mixed-breed pit bull as an emotional support animal in their rented duplex. Plaintiffs asserted (1) housing discrimination under the Federal Housing Act (“FHA”), (2) unlawful retaliation under the FHA, (3) discrimination under the Texas Fair Housing Act (“TFHA”), and (4) unlawful retaliation under § 92.331 of the Texas Property Code. Defendants filed the Motion, seeking dismissal of the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). The court found Plaintiffs had adequately pleaded all claims and denied the Defendant’s motion to dismiss. Case
Levine v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation --- F.Supp.3d ----2015 WL 674073 (D.D.C., 2015) This action arose from plaintiff’s experience of bringing her service dog on Amtrak trains. Plaintiff brought claims on her own behalf and on behalf of a putative class of other disabled passengers against Amtrak pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act. Each claim related to Amtrak′s alleged practice of storing luggage in its train's “mobility aid” seating areas. Amtrak argued, amongst other things, that plaintiff lacked Article III Constitutional Standing because she had not suffered an injury in fact. The district court agreed and granted Amtrak′s motion to dismiss. The case was dismissed in its entirety. Case

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