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Bloch v. Frischholz

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
587 F.3d 771 (7th Cir. 2009)


Facts

The Blochs (plaintiffs) are Jewish residents of a condominium building known as Shoreline Towers. As residents of Shoreline Towers, the Blochs are required to observe rules and regulations set out by the Condo Association’s Board of Managers (Association). In 2001, the Association enacted a new rule, known as Rule 1, which prohibits the placement of any objects outside unit doors. The Association initially relied on Rule 1 to keep hallways clear. In 2004, however, the Association reinterpreted Rule 1 to require the removal of religious and secular objects from doorposts. As observant Jews, the Blochs had a mezuzah, a Jewish symbol, affixed to the doorpost of their condominium for three decades. The Blochs were permitted to keep the mezuzah on their doorpost until 2004, when the Association began taking down mezuzot in accordance with its reinterpretation of Rule 1. On one occasion, the Blochs obtained assurances from Frischholz (defendant), the Association president, that the mezuzah would be allowed to remain on the Blochs’ doorpost while the family grieved for the loss of Marvin Bloch. The Association also provided a coat rack and card table in the hallway for visitors. However, during the funeral of Marvin Bloch, the Association removed the Blochs’ mezuzah, while leaving the coat rack and card table in the hallway. Around this time, the Blochs sought to resolve matters with Frischholz, but communications between the Blochs and Frischholz were hostile. The Blochs brought this suit seeking relief under the Fair Housing Act.

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Holding and Reasoning (Tinder, J.)

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