Judge Allows Young Black Former Tenant's Discrimination Claims Against UDR To Advance
Filing accuses nationwide apartment owner of racial discrimination against crime victim
WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — UDR Inc. (NYSE: UDR), a large national real estate corporation, cannot shake a discrimination lawsuit that a former tenant filed in 2021 after he was forced to vacate the premises after unknown assailants shot him at his Washington, D.C. apartment, Capitol View at 14th.
A judge’s order, issued Friday, allows key portions of the lawsuit filed on behalf of Patrick Oseni, a young Black graduate of Howard University, to proceed.
The lawsuit stems from a January 2020 incident at Capitol View, a luxury apartment building, where Oseni was shot one Saturday morning after opening the door to his unit. The lawsuit says assailants entered the building unimpeded, went up to the fourth floor, knocked on Oseni’s door and shot him in the head and torso when he opened it. He survived after undergoing emergency surgery.
The claim alleges that when he returned from the hospital in bandages, UDR had changed the lock on Oseni’s apartment door and pressed him to vacate because UDR claimed other tenants were “uncomfortable” with him continuing to live in the building.
One month later, a police raid on another Capitol View apartment—on the same floor where Oseni had resided—turned up guns, cash and drugs including crystal meth and cocaine. That illegal operation—and not Oseni—was the likely target of the initial incident, according to the lawsuit.
“I think Patrick may have been shot by assailants who had the wrong door and nearly killed the wrong guy,” said lead attorney Mark A. Smith of Smith Mustille, LLC, who along with Judith A. Mustille represents Oseni.
UDR, which is headquartered in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and operates apartment buildings in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Dallas, San Francisco, and other cities, moved to dismiss the case. But D.C. Superior Court Judge Maurice Ross allowed the most serious counts, including two counts of discrimination, one of fraudulent misrepresentation, and one of intentional infliction of emotional distress, to proceed toward trial.
“No one should have to experience the trauma that Patrick suffered at the hands of a landlord who locked him out of his apartment because he’d been the victim of a crime, especially in a luxury building where the owners advertise 24-hour concierge and controlled access,” said Ms. Mustille.
SOURCE Smith Mustille, LLC
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