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Varnum Wins for Client in Housing Discrimination Matter

May 31, 2024

Varnum recently defended an apartment complex landlord in a housing discrimination matter in which the plaintiff alleged discrimination because of his physical disabilities. All claims were dismissed in U.S. District Court on a successful motion for summary judgment following discovery, and the dismissal was recently upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Varnum defended Lansing-based Rivershell Apartments, AndMark Investment Fund IV LLC and AndMark Rivershell Apartments in the matter, after a resident claimed discrimination related to certain physical disabilities, failure to accommodate those disabilities, and retaliation against him for filing a complaint. The claims involved service animals, wheelchair accessible ramps and accessible tenant mailboxes.

Varnum attorneys Brion Doyle and Ashleigh Draft represented the client in the matter, successfully showing, among other things, that the plaintiff’s requests for modifications were never refused. Varnum was also able to demonstrate that each of the claims was false and that they arose following attempts to evict the plaintiff for legitimate business reasons, including extensive damage to the living unit by the service animals and nonpayment of rent.

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