What Determines Whether an Accommodation Request is ‘Reasonable’?
The Illinois Court of Appeals recently ruled that a condo association must provide only those accommodations that reduce the effects of a disability so that a requesting resident isn’t disadvantaged because of the disability. This standard proved too high of a hurdle in a recent discrimination lawsuit brought by a particularly litigious owner in a Chicago condo association.
“Some people complain about something but don’t do anything about it — he doubles down,” says Michael Kim, of counsel with the Chicago law firm Schoenberg Finkel Newman & Rosenberg, LLC, about Michael Spiegel, the plaintiff in this case.
Spiegel took exception to a rule that required residents to take their pool furniture back to their units when they leave the pool area for the day. According to the court opinion, Spiegel had a physical disability related to either his prostate or his neck and back, and his doctors recommended he use an orthopedic chair.
After receiving a citation for violating the pool furniture rule, he asked for permission to leave his orthopedic chair in the pool area overnight. The association granted the accommodation on a provisional basis and requested independent third-party certification 1) of a doctor’s recommendation that the chair was medically necessary, 2) that his chair was an orthopedic chair, and 3) of the weight of the chair.
“The steps the association took requiring validation were appropriate,” Kim says. “The reality is that sometimes a person claiming a disability may get someone to sign something who isn’t necessarily a bona fide medical professional for the particular condition.”
Read the full story now to learn how the court ruled: