New HUD Support Animal Complaint Against Cooperative in New York
On January 6, 2016 the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), filed a complaint (Eugene and Galina Ovsishcher v. Trump village Section IV Inc.) against a housing cooperative in New York seeking not less than $48,000 in penalties in addition to damages and attorney fees. The claim is based on failing to grant a reasonable accomodation under the Fair Housing Act. The complainants were a husband and wife and the husband, a combat military veteran of afghanistan and Kosovo, had received a recommendation from his psychiatrist to obtain an animal to assist with psychiatric disabilities related to his service. Not only did the cooperative and its leader refuse to allow the dog, they immediately began retaliating against the couple because of their request. The Association, or its insurance company, is likelely to spend tens of thousands of dollars in the defense of this claim and will also likely end up paying attorney fees, penalties, and damages. With a little competent legal advice early on, this matter would likely have been handled completely different and the association could have avoided this claim and the bad publicity it created. Morris Sperry always recommends seeking competent legal advice when an association receives a request for service or emotional support animals or other requests for accomodation related to any claimed or apparent disability.