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Illinois nursing home resident sues over abuse

Nursing homes are often more than simply residences for people who need care. They are communities, full of people from different walks of life, where many differences may appear between patients and staff as well as between patients themselves.

An Illinois woman reported abuse by some of her fellow residents at a Niles retirement home. Now she is suing the facility under the U.S. Fair Housing Act as well as Illinois' Human Rights Act for failing to stop bad treatment against her.

The 70-year-old woman was allegedly attacked and verbally abused by fellow nursing home residents because she identifies as homosexual. The lawsuit states that she requested help from the home's administrators but they made no meaningful attempt to stop the patterns of abuse.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits selective housing or poor treatment of residents based on a number of traits, including sexual orientation. An Illinois court initially dismissed the lawsuit, a ruling which was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals. The new ruling decided that landlords, as well as home operators, can be liable for discrimination if they do not respond to recognized patterns of harassment.

The case is considered a possible landmark in fights for fair treatment of protected residents as well as those who live in nursing homes. The alleged victim, however, is simply hoping to prevent future abuse.

Legal counsel is often instrumental in fighting nursing home abuse or neglect. Lawsuits may compensate victims for their suffering as well as encourage facilities to increase protections for other residents. Consider an attorney if you or a member of your family has suffered from nursing home problems.

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