City of Lawrence files housing lawsuit on behalf of veteran

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The City of Lawrence is suing a local management company, saying a veteran with an emotional support animal was discriminated against when he tried to rent a townhome.

The lawsuit was filed by the City of Lawrence Human Relations Commission. It says KanMar Management LLC violated fair housing laws by refusing to rent to Christopher Evans based on his disability and use of a service dog. According to the lawsuit, the company refused based on the pet policy of townhomes even though Evans supplied a letter from his therapist regarding the dog, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

“The city is working to prevent discrimination in housing in the city for folks who do suffer disabilities,” city attorney David Brown said. “And in this case, conciliation efforts with the landlord failed, and so they’re going forward and they’re enforcing the law as and when it’s needed.”

Lyndon and Kathi Mullis own and operate the management company. The lawsuit stated that Lyndon Mullis had previously rented an apartment to a tenant that had a service animal. They declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks damages of more than $75,000, stating that the figure is including actual monetary damages as well as damages for Evans’ “pain, suffering and humiliation.”

The city’s Human Relations Commission performs investigations on employment discrimination, accommodations and housing. Brown said the commission usually resolves claims without litigation, and a lawsuit hasn’t been filed in several years.

A court hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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