Complaint Sufficiently Alleges Housing Discrimination Under the NYC Human Rights Law

In Boswell v. The 706 Condominium, No. 157018/2021, 2023 WL 3738426 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County May 31, 2023), the court, inter alia, denied defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s housing discrimination claim under the New York City Human Rights Law. 

From the decision:

Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged a claim under the NYCHRL. Plaintiffs allege that based on their age, disability, and race, they are not being provided the same accommodations and services as other residents in the Subject Building. The provisions of the NYCHRL are to be construed liberally for the accomplishment of its uniquely broad and remedial purposes and are decidedly more protective than comparable federal and New York State anti-discrimination legislation (Mutual Apartments, Inc. v New York City Commission on Human Rights, 203 AD3d 1154 [2nd Dept 2022]). It is illegal under the NYCHRL for any person or entity to refuse to make reasonable accommodations to afford a handicapped person an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling unit (see NYC Admin. Code § 8-107(15); see also Espino v New York City Hous. Auth. Patterson Houses, 60 Misc.3d 667 [Civ. Ct., Bronx Co. 2018]). The Court is mindful that whether a plaintiff can ultimately establish its allegations is not part of the calculus in determining a motion to dismiss (see EBC I, Inc. v Goldman, Sachs & Co., 5 NY3d 11 [2005]). Therefore, as it relates to those tenants who allege they are disabled senior citizens who are being denied reasonable accommodations, their claims survive.1

The affidavit of Kim Powell further swears, under penalty of perjury, that all Plaintiffs are either African American or Latino, and appear to have been targeted by Defendants or agents of Defendants in granting access to apartments for repairs with no notice and then failing to actually repair the conditions. It is also alleged that Defendants or Defendants’ agents have cut all of the wires to Plaintiffs’ telephones and cable service without notice. Granting the Plaintiffs’ all favorable inferences on this motion to dismiss, and based on Powell’s affidavit, which has amplified the Complaint, these alleged acts give rise to an inference of discrimination under the NYCHRL. 

[Cleaned up.]

Based on this, the court held that plaintiffs’ NYCHRL claim survives. 

The court was, however, careful to note that since this is a motion to dismiss, the instant ruling “has no bearing on the merits of any potential motion for summary judgment based on a more developed evidentiary record.”

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