Franke v. Parkstone Living Center, Inc.
Dr. Robert Franke, a 75-year-old retired university provost and minister, relocated to Little Rock while still living independently to be closer to his daughter. The reverend decided to move into Fox Ridge at North Little Rock, an assisted living facility owned and operated by Parkstone Living Center, Inc. after fulfilling all of the residency requirements — including submitting medical forms completed by a local physician. The next day, Fox Ridge officials abruptly ejected Dr. Franke from the facility because he has HIV.
Lambda Legal, with co-counsel at the Tripcony Law Firm, filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Franke and his daughter, Sara Franke Bowling, alleging that the owner and operator of the assisted living facility violated both federal and state law by denying Franke the lodging and services provided at the facility because he is living with HIV. Claims have been brought under the federal Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Arkansas Fair Housing Act and the Arkansas Civil Rights Act.
Discrimination against people living with HIV as they seek to access elder care occurs throughout the country, not just in Arkansas. And it is becoming more common, as more people with HIV survive into their senior years.
Lambda Legal's Impact
A victory in this case would send a clear message to long-term and elder care facilities that discrimination based on HIV status is unacceptable. The case would reinforce federal and Arkansas laws that prohibit disability discrimination in the provision of housing and services, ultimately helping to ensure equal access to elder care and unbiased treatment for people living with HIV in the state and across the country. Furthermore, enforcing the rights of these plaintiffs would put elder care providers on notice that such conduct will not be tolerated, as well as alert seniors with HIV — and their families — that such discrimination is illegal and can be fought.
- May 2009 Lambda Legal files federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
- August 2009 A U.S. District Court judge denies a motion by Fox Ridge to dismiss our lawsuit on behalf of Franke and Bowling.
- September 2010 The parties reach a settlement, and the case is dismissed.
Robert G. Franke and Sara Franke Bowling
Lambda Legal: Scott Schoettes & Kenneth Upton
Co-Counsel: Gary L. Sullivan of the Tripcony Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas