Agency Not Liable for Resident's Untimely Discrimination Claim
Facts: A public housing resident sued the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), claiming that the agency inadequately maintained garbage facilities at her building and created hazardous conditions for residents at the garbage collection site. The resident, who claims she is disabled, also alleged that NYCHA failed to accommodate her disability by keeping the elevator in her building in working order. The resident said that she is unable to walk without assistance and cannot reach her 14th-floor apartment by climbing the stairs.
Decision: The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed the case.
Reasoning: The statute of limitations for private causes of action under the Fair Housing Act is two years. The relevant statute of limitations in New York State under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is three years from the time the cause of action took place. The court ruled that the resident did not bring her suit within the time allowed. In addition, the resident did not notify NYCHA of any disability that denied her access to her apartment, so the Authority was not able to offer her a reasonable accommodation. Her written complaints to NYCHA about the elevator related to the general conditions at the site, not to a claim of disability. The court noted, though, that the resident's serious claims of deficient housing conditions may still be heard in state court.
- Williams v. NYCHA, March 2009