Richard Waris and Brendan Nelligan recently secured a dismissal in the U.S. District Court for a property owner charged with violations of the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Pretzel & Stouffer’s client owned a three-flat building on Chicago’s Northwest side, where the first floor tenant operated a take-out restaurant. Two customers of the restaurant filed a federal lawsuit against the owners of the property alleging that the plaintiffs were discriminated against in violation of the IHRA and ADA. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that they faced architectural barriers in accessing the restaurant and sought injunctive relief against the property owners, as well as monetary damages and punitive damages. The property owners had no involvement with the restaurant and had no knowledge of either the plaintiffs or any efforts the plaintiffs made to access the property.
Pretzel & Stouffer’s attorneys successfully moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the plaintiffs’ claims were barred by their failure to exhaust administrative remedies by filing a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. The United States District Court agreed and dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint.