U.S. Justice Dept. finds Huntsville senior living home in violation for not having accessible walkways

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) -Luxury apartments with a pool, nail salon and movie theatre: that’s what you’ll find at Fleming Farm Senior Living in Huntsville.

The U.S. Justice Department says the company did not build proper accessibility  features for...
The U.S. Justice Department says the company did not build proper accessibility features for people with disabilities at eight of its facilities.(WAFF)

But according to the U.S. Justice Department, what you won’t find is full access for people with disabilities.

The company Dominion Management LLC, who owns Fleming Farms, which is operated by Bridge Senior Living, settled a lawsuit by agreeing to pay for the costs to make the facilities accessible, and pay $450,000.

“It’s kind of a sad commentary on life is when the only way it gets accomplished is when somebody gets sued,” William Van Der Pol, an attorney for the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program said.

Fleming Farms Senior Living in Huntsville is one of eight locations in the southeast hit with a federal lawsuit.

The full facilities found with violations are listed below:

  • Fleming Farms, Huntsville (Alabama)
  • Somerby St. Vincent’s One Nineteen, Birmingham (Alabama)
  • Somerby Peachtree City (Georgia)
  • Somerby Sandy Springs (Georgia)
  • Westside, Alpharetta (Georgia)
  • Somerby Santa Rosa Beach (Florida)
  • Somerby Mount Pleasant (South Carolina)
  • Somerby Franklin (Tennessee

The apartment community boasts luxury amenities and an elegant lifestyle for seniors, however, the U.S. Justice Department says it missed the mark on safety, alleging the facilities failed to build proper walkway areas for people with disabilities and that disabled residents don’t have access to certain amenities.

“The swimming pool is useless to a person with a disability if they cant get there. This is not rocket science,” Van Der Pol said.

Van Der Pol says these are simple, but critical pieces of construction the developers missed.

“Any good, competent architect, any good competent person who’s doing construction should be able to comply with the types of things we’re talking about here.. Things like curb cuts and bathrooms and kitchens, those are really simple things.”

Without a curb cut for example…

“You have the normal curb that’s 4-6 inches tall, and obviously a person in a wheelchair cant get up that.”

What they need to add, “areas where it’s cut down and it’s slopped down to allow a person with an impairment, whether it be a wheelchair or a walker or whatelse, to get up on the sidewalk,” he explained.

Dominion Management LLC will pay all costs to make the apartments accessible, on top of $400,000 to residents affected by the inaccessibility, and pay $50,000 fine to the government.

” I would hope developers, particularly developers whose clientele are seniors are going to be wanting to be partners with those individuals and wanting to ensure the very people that they are serving are receiving what they are entitled to under the law,” Van Der Pol said.

WAFF 48 reached out to the executive director of Fleming Farms to ask for a comment about this now settled lawsuit and plans moving forward to make accommodations for its senior residents on Friday afternoon.

We are waiting to hear back.

From the U.S. Justice Department:

Individuals who are entitled to share in the settlement fund will be identified through a process established in the consent order.

Persons who believe that they or their family members were subjected to unlawful discrimination at any of these complexes should contact the Justice Department toll-free at 1-833-591-0291, select option 1 for English; select option 4 for housing accessibility for persons with disabilities; and select option 2 for Dominion Management LLC to leave a voice message or e-mail the Justice Department at [email protected].

Copyright 2021 WAFF. All rights reserved.


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