The Justice Department yesterday filed a lawsuit against the owners and managers of rental homes in and near Kelso and Longview, Wash., for violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against persons with disabilities.


The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, alleges that Linda Barber, Bert Barber and Lori Thompson engaged in a pattern or practice of violating the Fair Housing Act or denied rights protected by the Act.  Specifically, the lawsuit asserts that the defendants established and implemented a discriminatory policy that allowed waiver of the defendants’ mandatory $1,000 “pet deposit” for service animals with specialized training, but not for other assistance animals, including emotional support animals.  The suit also alleges that, by refusing a tenant’s requests for a reasonable accommodation to waive the $1,000 pet deposit for her assistance animal, the defendants violated the Fair Housing Act.

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