$760,000 Settlement Reached in Disability Lawsuits

$760,000 Settlement Reached in Disability Lawsuits

The Justice Department recently announced that the county of Sarasota in Florida has agreed to settle the two disabilities lawsuits that were filed against them.

The suits claimed that the county discriminated against individuals with disabilities when they denied group homes for people in recovery from alcohol and substance abuse.

Federal Government Lawsuit

The federal government filed a lawsuit against the county in June 2006.

The suit alleged that Sarasota County’s 2004 zoning decision, known as “Tammi House” was intentionally discriminating.

The zoning decision would have closed group homes for people in recovery from alcohol and substance abuse.

The county reportedly also denied reasonable accommodation and instead retaliated against homes the operator of the homes, Renaissance Manor Inc., by refusing them grant funding.

The Fair Housing Act

According to the suit, Sarasota County failed to comply with The Fair Housing Act that is strongly enforced in the state of Florida.

“In The Fair Housing Act it is clear that local governments cannot use their zoning and land use laws to discriminate against persons with disabilities,” explains Rena J. Comisac, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

Lawsuit Against Renaissance Manor Inc.

In 2007, Renaissance Manor Inc. and four individuals who felt they were being discriminated against due to their disabilities joined the federal government’s suit when they filed a private lawsuit in 2007.

Under the two lawsuits, the county is being forced to pay $750,000 to Renaissance Manor, Coastal Behavioral Healthcare Inc., and three individual plaintiffs.

(Source: WebWire)

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