On February 1, 2022, attorneys from Bell Law, Lipman Law Firm, and the Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom filed suit in federal court against, respectively, the owner and manager of the Cross-Lines Retirement Center, located in Kansas City, Kansas. The plaintiffs—all elderly and disabled—named in this proposed class-action lawsuit allege that the Cross-Lines housing complex suffers from extreme habitability problems, including persistent bed-bug infestations, decaying rodent bodies, electrical and fire hazards, poor ventilation and excessive mold growth, lack of security measures to protect the Center’s vulnerable population, undue leaking and standing water, and a paucity of accommodations for the disabled. The lawsuit further notes that the Cross-Lines complex, first developed in the 1960s, was to be “specially designed” to meet the needs of the elderly and disabled but has since fallen into substantial disrepair despite the owner’s receipt of “approximately $1.2 million” in annual revenues. The complaint names Cross-Lines Retirement Center, Inc. as the owner and Young Management Corp. as the property manager.
The lawsuit asserts a variety of legal claims, including ones for violations of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and Fair Housing Act, which are commonly referred to as, respectively, the “ADA” and “FHA.” These ADA and AHA claims allow for the plaintiffs, as well as the proposed class members they seek to represent, to request injunctive relief. This means that the lawsuit seeks, among other things, a court order compelling the defendants to make the Cross-Lines complex habitable by curing a number of deficiencies, such as those stated above. For example, the complaint asks that the judge order the defendants to promptly retain “third-party pest-control professionals,” “a professional, third-party mold inspector,” and “immediately install fire-escape routes and fire-prevention mechanisms . . . suitable for an elderly, largely disabled population.” The lawsuit also provides examples of how its named plaintiffs have been made to suffer because of poor living conditions. Such examples include an 87-year-old, arthritic, wheelchair-bound veteran of the Korean War who has been thoroughly bitten by bed bugs and struggles to open the Center’s entry doors, as well as a 70-year-old, wheelchair-bound woman who was placed on the eighth floor with no viable fire-escape route.
The suit further states that the defendant property manager, Young Management, “also managed Central Park Towers, another HUD-subsidized complex in Kansas City, Kansas that was highly similar . . . in its age, design, and decrepitude.” In that same regard, the complaint includes a screen-grab from a channel 41 Action News story in which a former worker at Central Park Towers, upon sharing pictures of mold at that complex, stated that “it’s just disgusting.” Bell Law, Lipman Law Firm, and the Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom also served as counsel in a lawsuit concerning Central Park Towers. That case settled and resulted in monetary compensation for the residents and renovation of the Central Park Towers complex by a new owner.
The pending Cross-Lines lawsuit is Case No. 2:22-cv02047 in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas.
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