Real Estate Law

Real Cases in Real Estate By Andrea Lee Negroni, Esq. – February 27th, 2013 Update

Real Cases in Real Estate is a weekly update on real estate law, with legal principles illustrated and explained by lawsuits from around the country. The topics are wide-ranging for appeal to a broad spectrum of readers including lawyers, homeowners, investors and the general public. Andrea Lee Negroni, a Washington DC attorney and legal writer with 25 years of experience in financial services and mortgage law, contributes the case summaries.

Followers of Real Cases in Real Estate will learn and be entertained by lawsuits involving nuisance, trespass, zoning violations, deed restrictions, title insurance, public utilities, mechanics liens, construction defects, adverse possession, foreclosure and eviction, divorce and marital property rights, tenants' rights, and more. Real Cases in Real Estate uncovers the unpredictable, amusing, and sometimes outrageous disputes between next-door neighbors, contractors and homeowners, condo boards and residents, real estate brokers and homebuyers, and zoning administrators and developers.

Each fully cited case summary highlights the essential law of the case and explains the principal legal theories and concepts relevant to the outcome. Plain language treatment makes Real Cases in Real Estate accessible to lawyers and laymen alike.

Whether you follow real estate law professionally or as a hobby, you'll find something new and useful every week in Real Cases in Real Estate.

Updates for the Week of February 27th, 2013

Plaintiff Lacked Standing to Sue for Associational Discrimination Against Her Disabled Mother.

Rosa Gonzalez, a tenant in an apartment complex in Van Nuys, California was hard of hearing and lacked mobility and balance. Her daughter Milly took care of Rosa every day, but did not live in the same apartment complex. Milly sued the apartment owner for violating the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the Fair Housing Act, on the basis that Rosa suffered unlawful housing discrimination. Milly’s lawsuit also claimed breach of the landlord’s covenant of quiet enjoyment.

Milly claimed the landlord unlawfully refused to allow Rosa to move to a ground floor apartment, refused to allow Milly to park in Rosa’s parking space, failed to properly vent Rosa’s apartment and threatened to evict Rosa rather than make reasonable accommodations for her disability. The California appeals court considered the applicability of associational discrimination because both the California and federal fair housing laws prohibit discrimination against a person who is “associated with” a person with a disability. However, to have standing to sue under the fair housing acts, the plaintiff must allege injury to herself, not just to the person she is associated with. An “aggrieved person” may bring a civil action to challenge discriminatory housing practices, but the term “aggrieved person” means a person who has been injured by such a practice. Here, Milly’s claims were based solely on Rosa’s injuries – Milly did not allege she herself had suffered an independent injury as a result of the landlord’s actions.

The court held that a plaintiff has no standing to sue under the fair housing laws if she merely witnesses and becomes upset by discrimination against a person with a disability. The plaintiff must allege a distinct and palpable injury of her own.  The court found “no legal authority for the proposition that a plaintiff associated with a person with a disability may bring a claim under the FHA or the FEHA challenging only … unlawful treatment of the person with the disability, and based on injuries only the disabled person suffered.”

Milly’s claim for breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment was also unsuccessful because Milly was not a tenant in the complex and had no legal right to use of its facilities and services.

Milly Gonzalez v. 15115-15125 Victory Blvd LLC, 2012 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1520 (Feb. 29, 2012).


Sign in with your ID to access Real Estate Law resources on or any of these Mathew Bender  Real Estate Law publications

Click here to order Property Law treatises/resources and Mathew Bender publications. 

Click here to order Real Estate Law treatises/resources and Mathew Bender publications. 

LexisNexis Publications:

View the LexisNexis Catalog of Legal and Professional Publications

LexisNexis eBooks

Click here for a list of available LexisNexis eBooks.

Click here to learn more about LexisNexis eBooks.

For more information about LexisNexis products and solutions connect with us through our corporate site.