Representing the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and the West Palm Beach Coalition for Independent Living Options (CILO), M&S with co-counsel Matthew Dietz filed a housing discrimination lawsuit in federal court on June 2, 2011, against Cornerstone Group Development Corporation, one of the largest multi-family housing developers in the State of Florida. Plaintiffs alleged a pattern or practice of discrimination against people with disabilities under the federal Fair Housing Act in the design and construction of affordable housing developments.
Plaintiffs alleged violations at over 58 Cornerstone Group developments, including steps at entrances to covered units and inaccessible kitchens and bathrooms. In applying for federal and state funding and tax credits for the properties, Cornerstone repeatedly certified that it would comply with the design and accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
The parties reached a comprehensive settlement that included major retrofits at all Cornerstone Group developments to remedy violations, over $1,350,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees to NFHA and CILO, and the creation of a Housing Accessibility Fund by which residences of persons with disabilities in Florida can be made accessible through a grant from the Fund.