A Boston area landlord has been forced to pay $25,000 for trying to force an HIV+ tenant to move or get rid of his emotional support dog.
Richard M. Blake, who was diagnosed with HIV more than two decades ago, filed suit against Brighton Gardens LP, which owns the building; Lombardi Corp., a general partner in Brighton Gardens LP; and the president and vice president of Lombardi Corp., Michael J. Lombardi and Louis M. Lombardi, according to Boston.com.
Denise McWilliams, Blake’s attorney, argued that a doctor suggested her client get a support dog after he became depressed, isolating himself and rarely leaving the house.
“He was depressed, basically lounging around the apartment all day long, and his weight rose and blood pressure got out of control,’’ McWilliams said.
He got Kayla, a boxer mix, in 2008, and almost immediately, his health and his mood began to improve. Blake says his landlord gave him permission to get a dog, but two months later, informed tenants a no pet policy would be enforced Oct 1, 2008.
Blake says he tried to fight the landlord’s decision and filed a complaint in December 2008 with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
The panel ruled in Blake’s favor last week and a hearing officer announced Monday that the evidence “supports a finding that requiring Complainant to give up his dog would seriously jeopardize his emotional and physical well-being.’’