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Settlement Reached in Disability Discrimination Case

Photo © by Bernard Kleina

March 13, 2024

FHJC COMPLAINT ALLEGED REPEATED DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION VIOLATIONS

On March 13, Federal Judge Denise L. Cote approved a consent judgment between the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC), owners Carnegie Management Inc and Bruckner Tower, LLC, and architects Fischer + Makooi Architects PLLC.

The lawsuit, based on the results of a testing investigation conducted by the FHJC in 2018, alleged that the defendants failed to comply with the accessibility requirements in the design and construction of two buildings located at 25 Bruckner Boulevard. Identified as The Staccato and the Legato, known collectively as The Crescendo, these buildings contain approximately 130 apartments along with public and common use areas.

The 2018 investigation found numerous non-compliant features in the apartments and common areas of The Crescendo, including doors that were not sufficiently wide enough to be usable, a lack of accessible routes into and through dwelling units, electrical outlets placed in inaccessible locations, and not enough clear floor space in some bathrooms and kitchens.

While admitting no wrongdoing, Carnegie Management Inc, Bruckner Tower, LLC, and Fischer + Makooi Architects PLLC will collectively pay $200,000 in damages related to claims brought by Plaintiff against the Defendants in the action.

The agreement also includes injunctive relief that addresses the alleged non-compliant features by requiring defendants to perform modifications to the building to make the housing more accessible.

Other injunctive relief includes inserting a fair housing policy on rental applications, posting a HUD poster in the rental office, and including equal housing opportunity language or logos on Defendant’s websites. Defendant’s covered employees will also be required to attend trainings on fair housing laws.

The full settlement can be read HERE.

“Accessible housing is a civil right,” said the FHJC’s Disability Justice and Accessibility Legal Fellow Cass Sicherer. “Far too often developers and architects design and construct new multi-family housing that is not in compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act. This settlement is a reminder to developers and architects that they are required to create FHA compliant builds.”

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.