A Federal judge has just ruled that Equity Residential, the largest multi-family housing developer in the country, can, in fact, be sued by the D.C.-based nonprofit The Equal Rights Center for violating a bunch of Fair Housing Act and American With Disabilities Act statutes. Here's the plain speak, siphoned directly from the legal mumbo-jumbo itself: Equity Residential owns a bunch of residential rental buildings throughout the country, 61 of which were investigated by the ERC in 2006. The organization deployed testers to check out properties in Florida, Jersey, Washington, California, D.C., and Texas, and then conducted "floor plan reviews" of other Equity properties to see if there were FHA violations based on "shared design elements" with the 61 tested. Ultimately, the ERC decided that 300 properties proved at odds with various FHA building codes. After years of lawsuits proffered and thrown out for various reasons—Hey now, that legal doc started making us dizzy!—the ERC officially has grounds to sue. And now, a bit from the Equal Rights Center press release that just landed in our Inbox: "In its lawsuit, the ERC seeks injunctive relief to ensure that Equity’s properties are made more accessible to people with disabilities, as well as damages for the harm that the ERC suffered when it was forced to divert resources to investigating and combating Equity’s violations." It's a good thing Brooklyn's tallest building, an Equity skyscraper, has an elevator!
· The Equal Rights Center [official site]
· Equal Rights Center v. Equity Residential [Leagle]
· All coverage of The Brooklyner [Curbed NY]