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Neithamer v. Brenneman Property Services, Inc.

United States District Court of the District of Columbia
81 F.Supp.2d (1999)


Facts

William Neithamer (plaintiff), who was gay and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive, applied to rent a townhouse in September 1997. Neithamer provided Brenneman Property Services, Inc. (Brenneman) and its agents (defendants) with bank statements and credit reports. Neithamer explained to Brenneman’s agents that he had failed to make payments to creditors years before, because Neithamer had exhausted his financial resources paying the medical bills of his lover, who died of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in 1994. Neithamer maintained good credit since 1994. Brenneman rejected Neithamer’s application despite Neithamer’s offers to pay a second month’s rent as security, obtain a co-signor, and pre-pay a year’s rent. Neithamer sued Brenneman and its agents under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 46 U.S.C. § 3601, et seq., alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and medical disability. Brenneman moved for summary judgment, arguing it rejected Neithamer’s application because of his poor credit history and that Brenneman was merely acting as the property owner’s agent. Neithamer provided evidence that Brenneman did not consistently reject applicants with poor credit and did not present the property owner with all of Neithamer’s offers.

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Holding and Reasoning (Kessler, J.)

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