Calling the behavior of a Davie condominium association “absurd” and “unreasonable,” a federal judge has ordered a Davie condominium to allow a disabled resident to keep her service dog.
The two-year dispute will carry a hefty price tag for the Sabal Palm Condominiums: $300,000.
Deborah Fischer, a retired Bro-ward art teacher who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000, was sued by Sabal Palm Condominiums after her dog, Sorenson, moved into her apartment in November 2011. Fischer, who uses a wheelchair and has limited use of her arms and hands, needs Sorenson to pick things, up, open and close doors and retrieve items from countertops.
“Sabal Palm got it exactly — and unreasonably — wrong,” U.S. District Judge Scola wrote in his order. “This is not just common sense — though it is most certainly that.”
The condominium complex in Davie’s Pine Island Ridge neighborhood does not allow pets over 20 pounds and demanded medical records and other information to prove that Fischer needed Sorenson — a 5-year-old Labrador-golden retriever mix — to help her. Saying Fischer didn’t provide the proper documentation, the condo association sued, said the woman’s attorney, Matthew Dietz of Miami.