Opening Acts: September 17, 2019

Lawsuit Alleges Disability Discrimination Involving Bronx Apartment Buildings

FHJC INVESTIGATION DOCUMENTS INACCESSIBLE FEATURES IN APARTMENT COMPLEX

Today, the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) alleging that a developer of multi-family housing failed to design and construct a luxury rental complex in the Bronx in compliance with accessibility requirements under local, state, and federal fair housing laws. The defendants named in the lawsuit include Bruckner Tower LLC, Carnegie Management Inc., Karl Fischer Architecture PLLC, and Fischer + Makooi Architects PLLC. The lawsuit is based on the results of a testing investigation conducted by the FHJC which yielded evidence that the defendants failed to ensure that the newly constructed housing is accessible to persons with physical disabilities who use wheelchairs.

The investigation was focused on two buildings, The Staccato and The Legato, located at 25 Bruckner Boulevard. Known collectively as The Crescendo, the complex contains approximately 130 apartments along with public and common use areas. In the Fall of 2018, FHJC testers identified various features in these buildings that were non-compliant including, but not limited to, inaccessible common areas; doors not sufficiently wide to be usable; the lack of an accessible route into and through dwelling units; electrical outlets in inaccessible locations; and lack of clear floor space in some bathrooms and kitchens.

FHJC Executive Director Fred Freiberg stated “A failure to design and construct new multifamily housing in compliance with the accessibility requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act constitutes discrimination based on disability. This has been the law for more than 25 years and yet our investigations still find many developers and architects are willfully disregarding the law.” Freiberg added, “Accessible housing is a civil right.”

The lawsuit seeks damages and injunctive relief to stop the discrimination, retrofit the buildings to make them accessible, and take other remedial action to ensure that future housing built by the defendants will be designed and constructed in compliance with fair housing accessibility requirements.  The FHJC is represented by Glen H. Parker, Adam S. Hanski, and Robert G. Hanski of the law firm Parker Hanski LLC.

FHJC’s investigation in this case was supported, in part or in whole, with funding from a Private Enforcement Initiative (PEI) grant received from the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

The mission of the FHJC, a nonprofit civil rights organization, is to eliminate housing discrimination; promote policies and programs that foster open, accessible, and inclusive communities; and strengthen fair housing enforcement in the New York City region.