Illinois District Court decision (March 6, 2015).
This case involved claims filed by husband and wife homeowners and their minor daughter against their homeowners association, its board of directors, its property management company, and the individual property manager for violations of the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA). The defendants sought to dismiss the claims of the daughter on the basis that she lacked standing to pursue discrimination claims under the FHA because she was not disabled. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss the daughter and the defendants appealed that ruling.
In analyzing the criteria for standing to sue under the FHA, the appellate court found that to pursue a claim under the FHA, a plaintiff need only establish that: (i) he or she suffered an invasion of a legally protected interest which is (a) concrete and particularized and (b) actual or imminent; (ii) there is a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of, and (iii) it is likely that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision.
Applying the criteria for standing to the claims of the daughter, the court commented that on the face of the allegations, she has been subject to direct harm. The court found that the daughter would suffer concrete and actual injury, such as the loss of her home and restrictions on her ability to use common areas, as a direct result of the associations discriminatory actions against her parents. The court stated, there is a distinct and palpable harm in the stigma suffered by a minor who cannot walk k through her own lobby with her parents and instead must accompany them through a back door and up a service elevator. As such, it is simply impossible to deny that children who live with parents who are the subjects of housing discrimination are often (if not always) affected just as much by discriminatory acts aimed at restricting and ending the use of enjoyment of a home. Accordingly, the appellate court concluded that because the daughter would suffer direct injury by the alleged actions of the defendants, she had standing to pursue claims under the FHA.
See case decision: Novak_v._State_Parkwaycondom