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DISABILITY accommodation;BOARD'S MISHANDLING one shocking backstory - lawyer D. LASH article 2018/09/21 12:08  
1 - It's now a no brainer that in most jurisdictions with modern disability rights laws, governancers have to be seen to genuinely engage with requests for "disability accommodation" - some degree of exemption - to the point of undue hardship.

Demonstrating such may require full reliance on competent licensed professional legal advice as from LSO the Law Society of Ontario. And on external professional technical expertise too.

Using general owners' funds to totally rebuild a requester's choice of unit, is likely well beyond that. So is setting up suffering for others whose enjoyment would suffer substantially.

But many requests do not reach the sometimes obscure point of "undue hardship", or they may get seen as dismissively handled.

Like it or not governancers who think rights are a joke, may eventually learn a humiliating, disruptive & sometimes expensive punishment lesson. So also those who think that they can simply throw any outcome "against the wall to see if it sticks" . . .

Eventually there may arrive a plaintiff & topnotch counsel who wipe the floor with those governancers.

Tribunals or pure "judge" adjudication, may be more tolerant or less punishing of rights blockers than civil juries. Other jurisdictions that allow feeding disability wars to civil juries, occasionally see some gob-smacking outcomes like below. Ontario isn't seeing that, but it doesn't mean that governancers here are any fairer to disabled accommodation seekers !

The bigger picture includes that voodoo mis-governance occurs, can be detected & might get punished even in Ontario. Lots more disabilities have been raised than decades ago. In condos/stratas/ Building Schemes, there can be lots more awareness of voodoo shenanigans by Boards & mis-managers . . . Legislatures and the media may hear it.( see the example below). Adjudicators may start getting it . . .

2 - A recent article by highly respected Toronto condo lawyer Denise Lash ( Lash Condo Law LLP ) reminds the issues and pitfalls of being caught on the wrong side of disability issues.( “Accommodating Disabled Condo Residents” ).

Ms Lash cites the potential warning of several outcomes including one that culminated in a massive U.S. civil jury award. ( That award has subsequently been upheld on judicial appeal with massive additional costs awarded against the Board. )

The following is also one of the gob-smacking outcomes followed early by Deborah Goonan's consumer site Independent American Communities

$1.7 MILLIONS ( U.S. ) was awarded on July 17 2018 by a Hawaiian civil jury against the Villas at Kenolio Association of Apartment Owners. The Association had gone so far as to levy $ 170 K US in fines against a visually disabled requester unit owner Gregory White. It actually even began formal foreclosure procedures to force the sale of White's unit ! !

White's requests had been reportedly cursively rejected in 23 minutes ( ! ) despite later reported additional medical documentation. Another unit owner feared disruption & threatened litigation against the Directors personally if White's request was granted ( But eventually the civil jury heard that empirically no such disruption could be established ).

Before litigation White's savvy counsel attorney Eric G. Ferrer ( Dentons U.S. ) at least was able to persuade the Board NOT to continue with the compulsory sale, its $ 200 daily fines he persuaded being unlawful even by the vires of the association !

But the enforcement measures continued against his owner client, culminating in litigation where counsel Ferrer wiped the floor with the association to the initial tune of $ 1.7 MILLION U.S. !

3 - One unresolved question in my own mind was whether the Villas Board had at the very start approached the Whites' requests from a position of having in hand some credible / professional technical or engineering data.

As in : whether the Board could have already demonstrated a credible technical basis for either refusing the Whites' request or insisting on the inclusion of expensive materials at the Whites' expense ?

In Ontario the point of "undue hardship" might be arguably reached if owners generally would be asked to massively fund works within a single unit. That discussion apparently was not bothered with. . . .

4 - Is evicting the blind with voodoo fines & foreclosure, going to help much ? Should it get legislative sympathy ?

White v Villas at Kenolio Association of Apartment Owners 2018 Hawaii 2nd Circuit Court - jury ;

Civil jury outcomes in that state result in simple forms, not transcripted rationales. So far, texts are not online.

Anyway Attorney Eric Ferrer advises :" . . . .The take away from this case is that Board members Associations need to follow the 3 C’s with its disabled owners, Compassion, Communication and Cooperation. Indeed, it if followed any one of these, this result could have been avoided. "

Mr Ferrer has cited online that the association judicially appealed for a re-trial but lost. It has just been hit for an additional $ 468,115.75, in attorney fees and costs ! Total amount of judgment : $2,233,115.75. )

July 18/18 Attorney Eric G. Ferrer JD BA MS( Dentons U.S. ); “Maui jury awards $1,765,300 to disabled man and wife against Home Owner's Association”

see also July 20/18 “ Tha Maui News” “Villas at Kenolio condo AOAO fined owners $200 a day in carpeting dispute” lawsuit/

see also July 20/18 Hawaii News Now with video
“Jury awards Maui couple $1.7M in suit against their condo association” association
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