Condo association settles lawsuit with veteran over service dog
A Park City condo association will pay $20,000 to a disabled veteran, ending a legal conflict over whether the man should be forced to pay fees to keep a service dog that helps him cope with depression and anxiety.
The U.S. Justice Department sued the Fox Point at Redstone condo association and its management company in November, alleging that Thomas Burton, a combat veteran of the first Gulf War, was forced to move out of his rented condo because the association would not waive its pet fees and insurance requirements for Burton's service dog.
The Justice Department claimed the association and Property Management Systems violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to accommodate Burton's psychological disabilities.
On Monday, a federal judge signed a consent decree enacting the $20,000 settlement. The condo association and its managers also must attend fair housing training, stop requiring owners of service animals to pay for pet insurance and pet fees and submit to monitoring. The condo association must accept any service animal, regardless of its training or certification, if the owner provides written instruction from a doctor.
"No veteran should be denied the right to have a support animal when they return home with mobility impairments or other conditions," said John Tras-viÃ±a, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity.