CCRC to pay $255,000 to settle discrimination suit

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Sedgebrook, a Life Care Services-managed continuing care retirement community in Lincolnshire, IL, has agreed to pay $255,000 to settle allegations that its owners and operators violated the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against residents with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Justice has announced.

The proposed settlement, which still must be approved by the court, was filed with a complaint Oct. 5 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The complaint alleges that since 2011, Sedgebrook has instituted policies that prohibited, and then limited, residents' ability to dine in the communal dining rooms of the independent living wing of the CCRC if they required assistance with eating due to a disability. Also, the complaint alleges that a Sedgebrook policy prohibited residents of the independent living wing from hiring live-in caregivers and refused to grant reasonable accommodations to that policy, which would have allowed residents with disabilities to use and enjoy their apartments.

Sedgebrook has agreed to pay $210,000 to compensate residents and family members and also to pay a $45,000 civil penalty. In addition, Sedgebrook will appoint a Fair Housing Act compliance officer and will implement a new dining and events policy, a new policy applicable to residents' private employment of caregivers and a new reasonable accommodation policy. Also, Life Care Services, which is a named defendant in the lawsuit, has agreed to implement similar policies at the more than 100 independent living communities and CCRCs it owns or manages.

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