It’s always uplifting to learn that a hard-litigated lawsuit has resulted in great benefits to my clients beyond the substantial six-figure damages settled we engineered. Earlier this year I represented a severely disabled young boy and his parents in a civil action against their homeowners’ association and its property manager. The complex complaint alleged the family members had suffered significant damages as a result of a panoply of wrongdoing by the defendants—a list of unlawful behavior that a law student might expect to confront on a comprehensive law-school exam.

The lawsuit revolved around the defendants’ failure to provide a working elevator so that the family, living on the third floor, could transport their non-ambulatory son to the ground floor and back. For years my clients asked, pleaded, and nearly begged the responsible people to fix the elevator to avoid being forced to carry the growing boy and his heavy and unwieldy apparatus up and down three flights of stairs ad infinitum. The innumerable requests fell on many deaf ears. The actionable claims included breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties, negligence, infliction of emotional distress, and discrimination in violation of state and federal housing laws. After months of legal wrangling and court rulings permitting us to move forward to trial with all major claims intact—including punitive damages—all parties attended a grueling multi-session mediation, which ended the case with a settlement of nearly $800,000.

            The financial compensation was important not only to remedy some of the grief and indignity my clients had suffered, but also to enable them to move from their toxic environment to an elevator-less home for their growing family. After a challenging search in a fast-inflating housing market, I am so pleased to report that the family purchased a beautiful one-floor, single-family home that suits their various continuing needs. Their relief and happiness are almost palpable.

            Most successful civil lawsuits end with the payment of money. It pleases me no end to see that in this case, my clients’ quality of life, too, is so much better as a result of their having had the courage and fortitude to pursue justice for themselves.

            A happy ending, indeed.