Vet Denied Housing Because of Service Dog

Sgt. Derek Kolb and his service dog HankSgt. Derek Kolb has seen some dark days. After returning from serving in Iraq, he struggled to cope with life and was even homeless for a time. He eventually received treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and his professionally-trained service dog, Hank, played a critical role in his recovery.

But when the veteran wanted to rent an apartment, a leasing agency refused him, claiming his service animal “looked aggressive.” The rejection hit him hard, causing his condition to worsen. He even considered suicide.

Fortunately, DRTx intervened, teaming up with pro-bono private attorneys from Winston & Strawn to file a lawsuit against the large real estate company. Sgt. Kolb endured hours of interviews in a deposition, and despite his PTSD, endured the process because he knew how important this case was not only for himself, but for all his comrades that could face the same discrimination.

The case settled out of court. Part of the settlement included the company providing training to its employees on the Americans with Disabilities Act and the rights of people with disabilities regarding service animals.

“Our goal in most of our cases is to not only get justice for the individual client, but to see widespread changes within systems and companies so that future discrimination is prevented,” said DRTx attorney Chris McGreal who represented Sgt. Kolb.