VICTORY for the Fischers and Sorenson the Dog
On Thursday, March 13, 2014, Judge Robert Scola vindicated the Deborah Fischer’s right to use a service animal, Sorenson the Dog, in her home because of her obvious need of this trained animal. See Order – Omnibus DE 283. In this case, her condominum association sued Mr. and Mrs. Fischer in Federal Court to force them to produce ALL of her medical records to even request the dog, and then to establish that the dog is necessary for Ms. Fischer to “survive.” In vindicating Ms. Fischer’s right, Judge Scola stated:
So the Court realizes that there is some reason to be skeptical of requests to keep a dog as an accommodation for a disability in certain cases, particularly cases where the dog assists the disabled person by rendering emotional support. But this is not such a case. It is undisputed that Deborah has a bona fide physical disability that has severe physical symptoms. And her specially trained service dog does not assist her by providing emotional support: it assists her by helping her complete physical tasks that her physical disability makes difficult. That Counter Defendants turned to the courts to resolve what should have been an easy decision is a sad commentary on the litigious nature of our society. And it does a disservice to people like Deborah who actually are disabled and have a legitimate need for a service dog as an accommodation under the [Fair Housing Act].