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Little v. Landsman Dev. Corp.

United States District Court, W.D. New York

June 5, 2014

KENNETH LITTLE and ALBERT CAFFERELLI, Plaintiffs,
v.
LANDSMAN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION and ORDER PHILLIPS VILLAGE PRESERVATION L.P., Defendants

For Kenneth Little, Albert Cafferelli, Plaintiffs: Robin Crystal Marable, LEAD ATTORNEY, Monroe County Legal Assistance Center, Rochester, NY.

For Landsman Development Corporation, Phillips Village Preservation L.P., Defendants: Carolyn G. Nussbaum, LEAD ATTORNEY, Nixon Peabody LLP, Rochester, NY.

OPINION

MICHAEL A. TELESCA, United States District Judge.

Page 295

ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs Kenneth Little and Albert Cafferelli, tenants of the Phillips Village

Page 296

apartment complex owned and operated by defendants Landsman Development Corporation and Phillips Village Preservation L.P., brought this action claiming that the defendants violated their rights under the Fair Housing Act and the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code. Specifically, plaintiffs, who allege that they are disabled, claimed that the defendants improperly removed wheelchair ramps used by the plaintiffs to access their respective apartments, thus depriving plaintiffs of reasonable and safe access to their apartments.

By motion dated August 2, 2012, the plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction seeking an Order from this Court directing defendants to reinstall the ramps during the pendency of this litigation. By Decision and Order dated September 5, 2012, I denied plaintiffs' motion. Thereafter, the parties engaged in settlement negotiations, and after successful negotiations, each plaintiff entered into a settlement agreement (" the Agreements" ) with the defendants pursuant to which, inter alia, the defendants agreed to " construct an exterior ramp from the enclosed rear patio adjacent to the Apartment Unit to the grassy unimproved area behind the building (" the Ramp" ), subject to the granting of consent and approval required by any municipal authorities." Confidential Settlement Agreement between Albert Cafferelli and Landsman Development Corporation et. al., at ¶ 1; Confidential Settlement Agreement between Kenneth Little and Landsman Development Corporation et. al., at ¶ 1.

Plaintiffs contend that the defendants have failed to comply with the Agreements because rather than construct ramps as defined under the New York State Building Code, the defendants simply created dirt and sod ramps, with no rails and no foundation, extending from the ground to the edge of their respective patios. Plaintiffs claim that these earthen inclines are not functional as ramps, and do not satisfy the obligation to install ramps as contemplated and agreed to by the parties. Plaintiffs now move to enforce the Agreements by requiring defendants to construct ramps as defined under the New York State Building Code for their respective units. Defendants oppose the plaintiff's motion arguing that the ramps they built satisfy the ramps promised in the Agreements.

For the reasons set forth below, I grant plaintiffs' motion to enforce the settlement agreement and Order defendant to construct ramps that are in compliance with the New York State Building Code for each plaintiff's unit.

BACKGROUND

The following facts were largely set forth in my previous Order denying plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction. Plaintiffs Kenneth Little and Albert Cafferelli are residents of the Phillips Village Apartment Community, a complex consisting of 33 apartment buildings and 500 residential units. According to the Complaint, Little uses a wheelchair for mobility, and Cafferelli has limited ambulatory mobility due to various medical conditions. Little rents a one-bedroom first floor apartment, and ...


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