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Janine Battistone with daugthers Laura and Lindsey.

Battistone v Johnson

#W95-24 | Location: Milan | Court Level: State | Settlement: Non-disclosed

Categories: Physical Disability, Rental
Tags: Ramp, Reasonable Accommodation, Wheelchair

Janine Batttistone filed suit against landlord David Johnson claiming discrimination based on disability. The law suit claims that Johnson violated the Michigan Handicappers’ Civil Rights Act by refusing to rent his first floor apartment to Battistone and her family because ten-year-old uses a wheelchair.

Battistone told the Fair Housing Center of Washtenaw County that she explained to Johnson that the apartment met her family’s needs and that she would have a ramp to the front door installed at her own expense. Battistone later called Johnson and made an appointment to see the unit again and to return a completed application.

According to Battistone, Johnson canceled the appointment saying he couldn’t afford to make the unit accessible. Battistone said she reminded him that she would pay for the ramp and that no other alternations were required. FHC testing supports Battistone’s discrimination claim.

Prior to litigation Battistone attempted to conciliate the case by having FHC staff contact the owner. During the conciliation Johnson told FHC staff that his attorney advised him that he did not have to pay for [making the unit accessible] if it was an undue hardship. FHC reminded Johnson that Battistone offered to pay for the ramp herself.

FHC Cooperating Attorney Martin Scott filed the suit in Wayne County Circuit court on behalf of Janine and Laura Battistone. The case was assigned to Judge Claudia Morcom. The case was filed in April 1995. Janine settled her case, the details of the settlement are undisclosed.

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