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Article of Interest - Court Cases

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Bridges4Kids LogoU.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Finds Housing Law Requires Accessible Front Door
Gongwer News Service, August 25, 2004
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Federal housing discrimination laws require the front door of a new multi-unit apartment must be made handicapped accessible even if the design allows access through another means, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday. The circuit was the first in the nation to rule on the issue as it blocked further construction on 19 apartment buildings in Michigan and Ohio that provided handicapped access only through a patio door.

The ruling (United States v. Rose, USCOA docket No. 03-1316) affirmed the U.S. District Court, which adopted the position of the U.S. Department of Justice that the front door, which is closest to the parking lot, is the primary entrance and as such was a public or common area. It upheld the injunction barring further construction based on the overriding public interest, the interpretation of the Fair Housing Act that was provided to the builder and the likelihood of Justice in prevailing on the merits of the case.

The decision was issued by Judges Eugene Siler Jr., Karen Moore and Jeffrey Sutton.

The apartment builder, Edward Rose and Sons, had argued the law required only that one entrance be accessible and that the Justice arguments would ultimately require every entrance to be accessible.

Briefs in the case were also filed by the National Association of Home Builders and the National Multi Housing Council.

    

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