Westchester Residential Opportunities Settles Housing Discrimination Claims Against Tor View Village Apartments in Rockland County
White Plains, NY – Westchester Residential Opportunities, Inc. (WRO), a non-profit fair housing agency, has settled claims in its federal lawsuit against Berk-Cohen Associates and Manhattan Management Company, the owner and manager of Tor View Village Apartments, a 370-unit apartment complex in the Rockland County hamlet of Garnerville. The lawsuit alleged housing discrimination toward people with disabilities, based on a multi-year testing investigation conducted by WRO of Tor View’s reasonable accommodation practices.
Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Tor View’s owners and managers have agreed to adopt new fair housing and reasonable accommodation policies, undergo fair housing training and other corrective actions. Tor View has also agreed to pay monetary damages, including attorney’s fees and costs, to WRO of $135,000. Defendants in the lawsuit do not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement.
Regarding the settlement agreement, WRO Executive Director Marlene Zarfes commented: “We are very pleased with the outcome of this enforcement action. But it’s also a reminder of the struggles that our disabled neighbors encounter in trying to fully enjoy their homes. WRO will continue to champion the fair housing rights of the disabled community.”
WRO’s attorneys in this matter were Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, who represented WRO pro bono. Ms. Zarfes commended Simpson Thacher’s work, adding that “WRO deeply thanks Simpson Thacher for its devotion of substantial time and talent to this important matter, and in particular gratefully acknowledges the work of Senior Counsel David Elbaum and Associate Rick Walker, who led the firm’s efforts.”
The fair housing investigation that provided the basis for this lawsuit was supported by funding provided through a private enforcement initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Founded in 1968, WRO is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote equal, affordable, and accessible housing opportunities for all residents in the Lower Hudson Valley region of New York.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (www.simpsonthacher.com) is one of the world’s leading international law firms. The Firm was established in 1884 and has more than 1,000 lawyers. Headquartered in New York with offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, São Paulo, Tokyo and Washington, D.C., the Firm provides coordinated legal advice and transactional capability to clients around the globe.