Hollis v. Chestnut Bend Homeowners Ass’n

The Hollis family, with five children, lived in a house in Franklin, Tennessee. The two youngest children have Down Syndrome and developmental disabilities. The parents wanted to attach a sunroom to their house to permit the children to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of sunlight, as recommended by a pediatric cardiologist who treated the children. The house is in a residential subdivision, which is subject to restrictive covenants. The homeowners association rejected several applications for approval to build the addition. The Hollises sued under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3604, individually and as “next friends” of the children. The district court dismissed their personal-capacity claims for want of standing and then, applying the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting test to the claim under the reasonable-modification provision of the Act, awarded summary judgment to the association on the “next friend” claim. The Sixth Circuit vacated and remanded. Intent is irrelevant in reasonable modification claims: a reasonable modification plaintiff must prove the reasonableness and necessity of the requested modification; that she suffers from a disability; that she requested an accommodation or modification; that the defendant refused to make the accommodation or to permit the modification; and that the defendant knew or should have known of the disability at the time. View "Hollis v. Chestnut Bend Homeowners Ass'n" on Justia Law