Homeowners association settles RV dispute for $300,000
Khrizma Kuhn stands in front of the ‘For Sale’ sign her parents posted outside their Keizer home in 2015. The Kuhns decided to move after the McNary Estates Homeowners Association announced plans to ask a court to order the Kuhns to remove their motorhome from their driveway. (photo sent)
The parents of a disabled woman who say they were forced out of their Marion County neighborhood after the homeowners association banned them from parking an RV in their driveway have settled their lawsuit for $300,000.
Khrizma Kuhn’s parents had argued that their disabled 34-year-old daughter needed the RV to get to medical appointments and elsewhere. She suffered from an illness that caused frequent bouts of diarrhea and had to be near a toilet and shower, they said.
Gary and Renee Kuhn bought their Keizer home in 2005 and got the RV in 2015 after their daughter’s incontinence got worse. She has Down syndrome, autism and an IQ of 36.
But the McNary Estates Homeowners Association stood firm, saying the 25ft RV was too big to park at their home and violated neighborhood conventions.
Seeing no other choice, the Kuhns sold their home in August 2015 and moved to Woodburn, where the homeowners association immediately approved parking for their RV.
The Kuhns filed a lawsuit in United States District Court in January 2016, alleging that McNary Estates and an association of sub-owners violated their daughter’s civil rights under federal and Oregon landlord laws. fair housing by failing to make a “reasonable accommodation” of his request, as required by law.
In January, federal judge Ann Aiken ruled the Kuhns were correct that their daughter had been discriminated against. All that remained to be decided, Aiken said, was how much the homeowners association should pay as compensation.
On Thursday, attorneys in the case announced the $300,000 settlement, which is being paid by McNary Estates’ insurer.
The settlement will cover the Kuhns’ economic losses, including $2,400 for accommodations during the month they had to stay in a motel while moving and the $76,000 difference between the sale price of their old home and the money they paid for their new home. The Kuhns will pay their attorney fees from the $300,000.
Greg Lusby, a McNary Estates attorney, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
In Aiken’s written decision, she noted that a next-door neighbor was upset that the RV blocked her line of sight as she pulled out of her driveway. The Kuhns offered her a parabolic mirror to help her, but she rejected it, writing in an email to the Kuhns, “I left your parabolic mirror on our porch. Please collect it today as we do not wish to use it.
Judge wrote that it appears the parabolic mirror would reduce or eliminate the neighbor’s problem with sightlines.
Dennis Steinman, the Portland attorney who represented the Kuhn family, called the judge’s January ruling “powerful” and said it could be used as a precedent for other cases in which people with disabilities are fighting for their lives. a “reasonable accommodation” in their accommodation.
“I think that’s a terrific vindication for disability rights,” Steinman said. “I think this review will go a long way in helping other people with disabilities in the future.”
The Kuhns only wanted to fulfill their daughter’s “need to be in public so she could engage with the world and not be isolated in her bedroom,” he said. But “they found extreme resistance from neighbors and council (owners) for no legitimate reason.”
Steinman said he hopes it sends a message to McNary Estates, as well as other homeowners associations with unwavering rules.
“Many people who live in HOAs are often frustrated with the power HOAs have over how they live in their community,” Steinman said. “This is a case where the HOA may have taken their power too far.”