CORUNNA, March 10, 2022: The Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan (FHC) has announced the settlement of its first lawsuit in Shiawassee County.

According to FHC, a Corunna resident with a mobility impairment contacted the FHC after her landlord at Cavalier Greene Apartments refused to provide her with a designated accessible parking space near the entrance to her apartment. While the case began as a simple request for reasonable accommodation for her physical disability, “it went on to include months of stalling on the part of the management company, Woda Cooper, and threats of retaliation from the manager, Penny Lalonde.” 

According to the lawsuit, filed in Federal Court by FHC Cooperating Attorney Daniel Gwinn, Lalonde told the complainant that they might not renew her lease or that they might have to move her, though no units were available in the 18-unit apartment complex—it is illegal to retaliate against an individual for exercising their fair housing rights.

This was the first FHC lawsuit in Shiawassee County. It was assigned to Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis. The complainant/plaintiff accepted a monetary settlement and was given her reserved accessible parking space and sign.

“We formally added Shiawassee County to our service area in 2021,” said FHC Director of Investigations Jessica Ortiz Farley, “and we hope stories like this will help get the word out to residents of Corunna, Durand, Laingsburg, Owosso, Perry, and the rest of the county that they can turn to the Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid-Michigan if they suspect they’ve been discriminated against in the rental, sale, or financing of housing.”