Yesterday, a judge declined to dismiss most counts against the Westlake Golf & Country Club in Jackson in a lawsuit brought by Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz. He and his sons, who live with him, are handicapped and had been denied accommodation of their disability by Westlake in refusing to allow them to build a screened porch on their house for use as a Sukkah as well as access to a gate that would allow them to attend religious services. Rabbi Lefkowitz sued under the Fair Housing Act, NJ’s Law Against Discrimination, and NJ’s Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act.
After the lawsuit was filed, Westlake relented on the screened porch, a feature which other houses in the development have as well. However, they asked the court to dismiss the rabbi’s request for access to the gate and construction of a small path leading to the gate as accommodations that these laws do not require them to allow. In an ruling yesterday the judge let most of the counts stand though, dismissing one and consolidating two others, but leaving in counts that would require both the path construction and gate access. The suit will now proceed to discovery and trial unless it is settled first.