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Jafri v. Chandler LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

October 4, 2013

FAHAD JAFRI and HOPE FAIR HOUSING CENTER, Plaintiffs,
v.
CHANDLER LLC, CHANDLER CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, and UNKNOWN NON-HANDICAPPED OWNERS OF DEEDED HANDICAP PARKING SPACES AT CHANDLER CONDOMINIUMS, 450 E. WATERSIDE DR., CHICAGO, IL, Defendants and PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS ex rel. LISA MADIGAN, Attorney General of Illinois, Intervenor Plaintiff,

Page 853

For Fahad Jafri, HOPE Fair Housing Center Inc., Plaintiffs: Jeffrey Lynn Taren, LEAD ATTORNEY, Joanne Kinoy, Miriam N. Geraghty, Kinoy, Taren, Geraghty & Potter, Chicago, IL.

For Chandler LLC, an Illinois Limited Liability Corporation, Defendant, Cross Defendant: Mitchell Bruce Katten, Nancy Anne Temple, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Joshua Richard Diller, Katten & Temple, LLP, Chicago, IL.

For Chandler Condominium Association, An Illinois Corporation, Defendant, Cross Claimant, ThirdParty Plaintiff: Geoffrey Alexander Belzer, Michael P. Tone, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Courtney Olivia Wylie, Kimberly Elizabeth Blair, Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, LLP, Chicago, IL; Kelly Christine Elmore, Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit, Chicago, IL.

For Attorney General of the State of Illinois, The People of the State of Illinois ex rel., Intervenor Plaintiff: Jason M. Johnson, Illinois Attorney General's Office, Chicago, IL.

For Magellan Development Group, LLC, David Carlins, Joel Carlins, James Loewenberg, Chad Middendorf, Third Party Defendants: Mitchell Bruce Katten, Nancy Anne Temple, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Joshua Richard Diller, Katten & Temple, LLP, Chicago, IL.

OPINION

Page 854

Feinerman, United State    s District Judge.

Memorandum Opinion and Order

Plaintiffs Fahad Jafri and Hope Fair Housing Center brought this suit against Defendants Chandler LLC (" Chandler" ) and Chandler Condominium Association (" Association" ), the developer and condominium association, respectively, of a condominium building where Jafri once lived, alleging that the unavailability of accessible

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parking in the building violated the Fair Housing Act (" FHA" ), as amended by the Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq. Doc. 9. The People of the State of Illinois, on the relation of the Attorney General of Illinois, intervened as a plaintiff, alleging violations of the FHA, the Illinois Environmental Barriers Act (" IEBA" ), 410 ILCS 25/1 et seq., and the Illinois Human Rights Act (" IHRA" ), 775 ILCS 5/1-101 et seq. Docs. 52, 53. The Association answered. Docs. 35, 65. Chandler answered Plaintiffs' amended complaint, Doc. 36, and moved for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), Doc. 37. Chandler then moved to dismiss the State's complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). Doc. 55. The court denied both of Chandler's motions in a minute order, Doc. 130, and this opinion sets forth the rationale for the denials.

Background

On a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) or Rule 12(c), the court assumes the truth of the complaint's well-pleaded factual allegations, though not its legal conclusions. See Reger Dev., LLC v. Nat'l City Bank, 592 F.3d 759, 763 (7th Cir. 2010); N. Ind. Gun & Outdoor Shows, Inc. v. City of South Bend, 163 F.3d 449, 452 (7th Cir. 1998) (" We review 12(c) motions under the same standard as a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)." ). The court must also consider " documents attached to the complaint, documents that are critical to the complaint and referred to in it, and information that is subject to proper judicial notice," along with additional facts set forth in the non-movant's brief opposing dismissal, so long as those facts " are consistent with the pleadings." Geinosky v. City of Chicago, 675 F.3d 743, 745 n.1 (7th Cir. 2012). To the extent an exhibit contradicts the complaint's allegations, the exhibit takes precedence. See Forrest v. Universal Sav. Bank, F.A., 507 F.3d 540, 542 (7th Cir. 2007). The following facts are set forth as favorably to Plaintiffs and the State as permitted by Plaintiffs' amended complaint, the State's complaint, and the other materials that must be considered on Rule 12(b)(6) and 12(c) motions.

Chandler developed a 40-story condominium building, named " The Chandler," in the Lakeshore East neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. Doc. 9 at ¶ ¶ 8-9; Doc. 52 at ¶ 2. The building, which was completed in 2007, has 342 parking spaces, seven of which are accessible by persons with disabilities. Doc. 9 at ¶ ¶ 9-10; Doc. 52 at ¶ ¶ 2, 19. Chandler sold the accessible spaces to persons without disabilities, and was able to charge a premium of between $15,000 and $25,000 for each space in light of their attractive location and size. Doc. 9 at ¶ ¶ 7, 20-21; Doc. 52 at ¶ ¶ 2, 20, 27. Chandler sold the last accessible space on August 15, 2008. Doc. 36-3. Chandler continued to sell residential units and parking spaces for first occupancy through the beginning of 2011, and it retained three non-accessible parking spaces for itself. Doc. 9 at ¶ ¶ 8, 11; Doc. 42 at 2 n.4; Doc. 52 at ¶ 19. The record includes seven " partial certificates of occupancy" that the City of Chicago issued to The Chandler between June 2007 and February 2008. Doc. 50 at 3-9. The record does not indicate, one way or the other, whether the City issued any additional certificates of occupancy to the Chandler after February 2008. (The affidavit submitted by Chandler regarding the seven partial certificates, Doc. 50 at 1-2, does not aver that those certificates were the only ones issued or that the February 2008 certificate was the last such certificate, but even if it did, the court could not consider the affidavit on a Rule 12(c) motion. See Geinosky, 675 F.3d at 745 n.1.)

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Jafri has multiple sclerosis and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Doc. 9 at ¶ 5. He began renting a condominium in The Chandler on May 28, 2009. Doc. 36-4. At that time, Jafri was relatively healthy and did not require an accessible parking space. Doc. 20-2 at 2. In July 2009, however, a series of medical setbacks severely limited his mobility. Doc. 9 at ¶ ¶ 5, 19; Doc. 20-2 at 2; Doc. 38 at 2. Those setbacks resulted in Jafri requiring an accessible space because he needed to use a walker or wheelchair and experienced difficulty climbing stairs and walking long distances. Doc. 9 at ¶ ¶ 5, 19. By the time Jafri moved into The Chandler, all seven accessible spaces had been sold and were occupied by their owners, none of whom had a placard allowing them to use an accessible space. Id. at ¶ 22; Doc. 52 at ¶ ¶ 3, 30. The Association prohibited Jafri from temporarily parking in those spaces even though he had an accessible parking placard. Doc. 9 at ¶ ¶ 5, 27; Doc. 52 at ¶ 30. Instead, Jafri had to park in a non-accessible space and walk over 100 feet and climb stairs to reach the elevator. Doc. 9 at ¶ 23. Jafri fell once and feared for his safety due to the poor cell phone reception in the garage. Ibid.

On April 29, 2010, Jafri asked the Association for a parking accommodation, id. at ¶ 28, and Jafri's doctor informed the Association of his disability, id. at ¶ 5. The Association denied the accommodation on the ground that all accessible spaces had been sold and none were available for use. Id. at ¶ ¶ 28, 30-31; Doc. 52 at ¶ ¶ 3, 29. Hope Fair Housing, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote equal opportunity in housing, id. at ¶ 4, also asked the Association for an accommodation on Jafri's behalf and was turned down, id. at ¶ 32.

On June 1, 2010, Jafri filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (" IDHR" ) regarding the Association's failure to provide him with a reasonable accommodation. Doc. 29 at 8. On October 29, 2010, the IDHR found Jafri's complaint to be unsupported by substantial evidence, reasoning that his requested accommodation was unreasonable because all accessible spots had been sold and none remained. Id. at 11-12.

On February 28, 2011, Jafri and Hope Fair Housing asked Chandler for an accessible parking space and stated their intent to file suit. Doc. 20-2 at 28-29; Doc. 38 at 3. Plaintiffs brought suit on April 11, 2011, and filed an amended complaint shortly thereafter. Doc. 9. Plaintiffs then sought a preliminary injunction directing Defendants to allow Jafri to park in the accessible spaces and to prohibit individuals without disabilities from parking in those spaces. Doc. 19. Two weeks later, Chandler leased an accessible parking space to Jafri for a six-month term, with the option to renew for three additional six-month terms. Doc. 36-2. Given that development, the court denied the preliminary injunction motion as moot. Doc. 41.

Plaintiffs' amended complaint alleges that Chandler's " practice of selling [accessible] spaces has made it virtually impossible for [Jafri] or other persons with a handicap[] to rent or purchase units in the Chandler or to otherwise obtain access to a handicap parking space and has interfered with [Jafri's] ability to fully enjoy his dwelling," and that " the failure to provide handicap parking poses a real threat to Mr. Jafri's health and safety." Doc. 9 at ¶ ¶ 22-23. The amended complaint further alleges that Jafri " would be interested in purchasing a condominium unit at the Chandler," but that Chandler's " actions ... have made housing unavailable to [Jafri]" because " he would not be able to utilize his dwelling ... unless he could purchase a handicap parking space." Id. at

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¶ 20. The amended complaint alleges that the Association " refused to enforce its obligation to ensure that handicap parking spaces are occupied only by vehicles exhibiting a handicap parking license plate" and has " failed to meet its legal obligation to ensure that accessible, handicap parking spaces are available for residents who require them." Id. at ¶ 26. The amended complaint claims that Defendants failed to make any number of reasonable accommodations, including requiring that an owner of an accessible space let Jafri use the space, purchasing back the accessible spaces and making them available to individuals with disabilities, purchasing contiguous parking spaces to create additional accessible parking, policing the use of the accessible spaces, or re-striping the parking facility to create more accessible parking. Id. at ΒΆ 39. Finally, the amended complaint alleges that the seven owners of the accessible spaces " illegally park" in those spaces because none has an accessible ...


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