COACH's Pop Quiz!
Q: Can you be accused of a fair housing violation based on what you say in a blog post?
A: Yes, according to a recent court ruling about a dispute over assistance animals at a condominium community in the Virgin Islands, which had a rule banning dogs. The lawsuit was filed by two residents, who accused the community of unlawfully refused to grant reasonable accommodation requests to keep the dogs as emotional support animals. They also accused two neighbors of harassment and retaliation based on their posts to an online blog about the community.
A lower court had dismissed the case, but the appeals court recently reversed and reinstated the residents’ fair housing claims. Among other things, the court ruled that the residents could pursue claims against the blogger and the neighbor for interference with their fair housing rights. The court ruled that it was up to a jury to decide whether the conduct of the blogger or the neighbor amounted to harassment that was sufficiently severe as to interfere with the residents’ fair housing rights [Revock v. Cowpet Bay West Condominium Association, 3d Cir. (VI), March 2017].
For more information on this case, along with other recent rulings, see the Coach’s June 2017 lesson, “Here’s Why You Should Be Careful with Reasonable Accommodation Requests,” available to our subscribers here.