Fed judge dismisses lawsuit against TMHA


By Justin Wier

jwier@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit U.S. Attorneys brought against the Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority because it was filed after the statute of limitations expired.

The civil lawsuit claimed the housing authority discriminated against a man with diabetes and end-stage kidney disease in its housing-voucher program.

The legal action resulted from a decision by TMHA to terminate the man’s voucher assistance in October 2014 after he refused to move into a basement room that could not accommodate home dialysis, according to the lawsuit.

The couple found another house it wanted to rent, but TMHA denied the couple because they did not move into the previous house after the authority inspected and approved it, the lawsuit said.

Without a voucher, the couple couldn’t afford to rent a suitable home, so the man went to live with his father, and his wife and their children moved to her grandmother’s home 20 miles away, straining their marriage and family life, and causing the man’s health to decline, according to the lawsuit.

In the 11 months the couple lived apart, the man was hospitalized at least four times and twice contracted dialysis-related infections, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit, which alleges housing discrimination based on disability, was filed in January 2017 after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development investigated the matter and found the defendants in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Judge Benita Y. Pearson of Youngstown’s U.S. District Court issued a summary judgment Thursday that said according to the statute, the lawsuit should have been filed within two years of the alleged offense.

Because she dismissed the case, she did not rule on whether discrimination occurred.

The suit sought unspecified monetary damages and a court order that would have required TMHA “to restore them to the position they would have occupied, but for such discriminatory conduct.”

The authority’s executive director was not available Friday to comment.

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