Lincoln Realty Management Co. v. Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission

143 Pa. Commw. 54, 598 A.2d 594 (1991)

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Lincoln Realty Management Co. v. Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
143 Pa. Commw. 54, 598 A.2d 594 (1991)

  • Written by Alexander Hager-DeMyer, JD

Facts

Sally Atkinson was a tenant at the Audubon Apartments (Audubon), an apartment complex managed by Lincoln Realty Management Company (Lincoln) (plaintiff). Atkinson was extremely sensitive to many chemicals and chemical products, including paints, pesticides, and herbicides. To accommodate her condition, Atkinson requested that she be allowed to remove carpets, install an in-unit washer and dryer, and install an exhaust fan in the laundry room, with some assurances that she would bear costs and return the apartment to its original state after moving. Atkinson further requested that she be notified of any pest-control or painting efforts and that Lincoln use recommended nontoxic paints and pesticides. Lincoln considered some of Atkinson’s requests but stopped painting and pest-control efforts entirely rather than consulting with Atkinson to find functional alternatives. Other residents complained about the lack of painting and the increase in insect activity. Lincoln then notified Atkinson that it would not renew her lease because it could not accommodate her condition. Atkinson filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (commission) (defendant). The commission found that Lincoln discriminated against Atkinson due to her disability by evicting her and rejecting her proposed accommodations, in violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. The commission issued an award requiring Lincoln to meet Atkinson’s requested accommodations and to provide additional accommodations. The commission did not indicate whether Atkinson requested the additional accommodations or whether she agreed to fund the alterations. Lincoln appealed the commission’s decision in state court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McGinley, J.)

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