John Dubois and Timothy Prindable lived in a Honolulu condominium on the beach at Waikiki, across from Kapiolani Park and near Diamond Head. The condo by-laws say, “No animals … shall be permitted on the premises, except that qualified individuals with disabilities may have assistance animals.”
In January 2000, Dubois brought home “Einstein,” an English bulldog. Dubois and Prindable submitted to the association several letters from doctors recommending they be allowed to keep Einstein for “medical reasons” but without further details.
Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.
Upon request by the homeowner’s association, they submitted letters from a behavioral medicine specialist and two doctors stating Prindable suffered depression and he would benefit from animal-assisted therapy.
The condo homeowner’s association then granted Dubois and Prindable temporary permission to keep Einstein, pending review of Prindable’s medical condition.
However, Prindable then filed a housing discrimination complaint against the condo owner’s association with the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, which referred the matter to the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission.
But rather than await the results, Dubois and Prindable filed this lawsuit, alleging discrimination.
If you were the judge would you rule the condo homeowner’s association discriminated against Dubois and Prindable?
The judge said no!
The condominium homeowner’s association did not deny the request of Dubois and Prindable for a reasonable accommodation of service animal Einstein, the judge began.
“The Condominium Association never required Einstein to leave and thus never refused to make the requested accommodation, which is one of the essential elements of the Fair Housing Act claim. Dubois and Prindable kept Einstein from the day they brought him home in January 2000 until the day they vacated their unit in September 2003,” the judge emphasized.
The homeowner’s association requested more medical information from Prindable, and that was not unreasonable to verify that an exception to the no-pets rule should be made to accommodate Prindable’s condition, the judge concluded.
Based on the 2006 U.S. Court of Appeals decision in Dubois v. Association of Apartment Owners 2985 Kalakaua, 453 Fed.3d 1175.
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