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Wetzel v. Glen St. Andrew Living Community, LLC
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
901 F.3d 856 (2018)
Marsha Wetzel (plaintiff) moved into Glen St. Andrew Living Community, LLC (St. Andrew) (defendant). Wetzel was subjected to verbal and physical abuse from other tenants because she identified as lesbian. Wetzel informed St. Andrew’s management of the harassment on multiple occasions. St. Andrew did not act to stop the abuse and eventually retaliated against Wetzel by barring her from the communal areas and attempting to evict her by not notifying her of rent due and accusing her of smoking in her room. After 15 months of consistent abuse, Wetzel filed an action in federal district court against St. Andrew for violating the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Wetzel alleged that St. Andrew had violated the FHA by not taking reasonable steps to prevent the abuse, which resulted in a hostile housing environment, and by retaliating against her for making complaints. St. Andrew argued that the FHA did not impose liability on landlords for tenant-on-tenant harassment. St. Andrew also argued that the FHA did not protect established tenants from discrimination and that a tenant could not establish a retaliation claim without showing discriminatory animus. The district court accepted St. Andrew’s arguments and dismissed the case. Wetzel appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Wood, C.J.)
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