Colorado Woman Prevails in Court
Thursday, April 12, 2007 4:49 PM

A Colorado woman successfully sued Urban Property Management, managers of low-income housing in Denver, after her landlord refused to allow her to move following an incident of violence by an ex-boyfriend. Colorado Legal Services, attorneys from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, and Legal Momentum filed suit on behalf of the victim, Wyneneicka Blackwell, who hoped to protect other women in subsidized housing from suffering the same abuse, fear and psychological damage she had endured.

Following a nine-hour trauma where Ms. Blackwell was beaten, raped and stabbed, she requested assistance cleaning the blood from the assault and a transfer to a different complex, both of which she was denied. Fearing for her life and the lives of her two young children, Ms. Blackwell moved in with family and neighbors for three-and-a-half months until her ex-boyfriend was caught and jailed. During that time, he was able to track her down at each residence causing such great fear that neither she nor her children left the house.

The suit claimed that the denial of transfer constituted housing discrimination based on sex in part because of her history of domestic abuse. The settlement mandated training for Urban Property Management employees in domestic violence and fair housing, as well as a guarantee that residents in dangerous domestic violence situations would be moved within five days of their request. The company is thought to be the first low-income management company to take such steps in protecting against domestic violence.

Compiled fromLegal Victory for Domestic Violence Victims, Howard Pankratz, The Denver Post, 2 March 2007.