Indian architect in US to pay thousands of dollars to settle lawsuit

Indian origin architect lands in a litigation in US for designing apartments inaccessible for disabled people.

By: Press Trust of India | New York | Updated: June 6, 2014 11:26 am

An Indian-American architect has been ordered to pay thousands of dollars in compensation and penalty to settle a civil rights lawsuit, which alleged that a rental building designed by him and his firm had apartments inaccessible for persons with disabilities.

Avinash Malhotra and his firm Avinash Malhotra Architects settled the federal civil rights lawsuit filed in 2013 under which he and his firm would retain an accessibility expert. The expert will review and advise them on each of their new design projects, train employees on the requirements of the federal housing regulations and allocate USD 45,000 to compensate people who had been affected by the inaccessible features of the building.

Malhotra would also pay a USD 35,000 civil penalty to the federal government.

US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara said the lawsuit alleged that Malhotra and his firm designed a 650-unit rental building in Lower Manhattan that violated the accessible design and construction provisions of the federal Fair Housing Act, which require that new multi-family housing complexes include certain features accessible to persons with disabilities.

The building had multiple inaccessible features, including insufficient space in bathrooms and kitchens for people in wheelchairs, high thresholds interfering with accessible routes, sinks, ranges, outlets and mailboxes not fully usable by people in wheelchairs and protruding objects not detectable by canes used by people with visual impairments.

“As design professionals, architects have a clear obligation under the Fair Housing Act to ensure that residential buildings are accessible to people with disabilities,” Bharara said.

“When architects disregard that obligation, our Office will use all the legal tools available to us to hold them responsible for such failures and craft remedies to ensure that their designs will be accessible in the future,” he said.

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  1. Rational Thinker
    Jun 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm
    Indians consute less than 1% of US potion but are disproportionately more in high professions. If you consider the percentage of Engineers and Doctors of Indian origin and the indictments handed over against them, one might even find they are less than proportion.A lot of Indian students die every year - in drowning or car accidents - in US , possibley disproportionate to their potion. Can one say that lakes , ponds or automobiles are against Indians? May be it is simple fact that they are not very good swimmers or that they don't wear seat belts New York there are lot of Indians and some don't follow law as laid down by the host country. Preet Bharara may not even get to know the nationality of origin of people being investigated. It is also possible that he comes across Indians more and from the conversations, he gets a doubt on their ethical behaviour and pursues investigation. He is acting on the information and doing his job.without bias.Should we expect a CJ from Calcutta to be lenient on Bengalis at Supreme Court of India?
    1. G
      Jun 6, 2014 at 6:48 am
      why does it seem like Preet Bharara is specifically targeting Indians to establish his American-ness and deny his Indian roots?
      1. C
        Canadian Indian
        Jun 6, 2014 at 12:29 pm
        You have to follow the rules of the country you live in. India or America.
        1. S
          Jun 6, 2014 at 3:13 pm
          ,,,, because Indian media is selectively picking and covering the news just because Indian origin architect is involved. Like countless many other district attorneys all over US, Preet Bharara is just doing his job within the framework of the existing US laws. Federal Housing Regulations for access to persons with disability are strictly enforced in USA and there are thousands of such prosecutions all over USA every year.And, if you are thinking Adarsh Scamgress Maharani Devyani case, She not only clearly lied on her legal filings and violated US laws, but also chose to ignore the legal notices. There was clear and overwhelming evidence against her, and her open defiance despite repeated notices left no choice for the law enforcement but to act.
          1. D
            Jun 7, 2014 at 1:22 am
            @GirishAt any given time, the US Attorney is prosecuting hundreds of such cases. Naturally, some of these businesses belong to Indian Americans. Preet Bharara is doing his duties. India would be a much better country if it had sensible laws that were equally applied by dedicated professionals.
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