A U.S. District Court judge denies motion by assisted living facility to dismiss our lawsuit on behalf of a 75-year-old retired minister the facility refused to house because he has HIV.
Reverend Dr. Robert Franke, a 75-year-old retired university provost and Unitarian minister, relocated to Little Rock to be closer to his daughter, Sara Franke Bowling. Franke moved into Fox Ridge of North Little Rock, an assisted living facility, after fulfilling all residency requirements — including submitting medical evaluation forms from a local physician.
But the day after Franke moved in, Fox Ridge officials forced him from the facility when they learned he has HIV, despite the fact that he requires no special medical attention beyond daily medication and regular check-ups with a physician. A Fox Ridge staffer went so far as to tell Bowling that her father’s personal effects could stay, but that the “body” had to be out by the end of the day.
Lambda Legal filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas against Fox Ridge, on behalf of Franke and Bowling. We seek damages for our clients under the Fair Housing Act, the Arkansas Civil Rights Act and the Arkansas Fair Housing Act and, by seeking intervention from the court, intend to prevent Fox Ridge from continuing to engage in this kind of discriminatory conduct. “I was stunned,” says Bowling. “The people at Fox Ridge were supposed to make sure that he was comfortable and cared for, and instead they shunned and rejected him, making him feel like a complete outcast.”
Fox Ridge is licensed by the state to provide Dr. Franke with the kind of assistance he and his daughter were seeking for him. “This isn’t about money to me,” says Franke. “I want to make sure something like this doesn’t happen to anyone else — because no one should ever be made to feel the way I did.”
The case is Franke v. Parkstone Living Center, Inc.