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HLB Co-Files Discrimination Complaint Against the City of San Gabriel, California
Complaint Alleges Disability Discrimination in Rejection of Proposed Dialysis Facility
March 16, 2016

On March 16, 2016, Hooper, Lundy & Bookman (HLB) and LTL Attorneys sued the City of San Gabriel, California and Councilmembers Kevin Sawkins, Juli Costanzo, John Harrington and Jason Pun on behalf of Dr. Lakhi Sakhrani, a leading doctor and researcher in the treatment of serious kidney disease.

The lawsuit challenges the refusal of the City to allow Dr. Sakhrani to build a new, state-of-the-art dialysis center that will provide much needed care to low income, Medi-Cal residents in the City of San Gabriel.  There is a growing need for dialysis centers as an increasing number of people suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure.

Dr. Sakhrani worked closely with City staff for almost 18 months to ensure that the building complied with the City codes.  The City’s Planning Commission approved permits for the project, but the project was blocked on appeal by the City Council because of the opposition of wealthy homeowners of neighboring properties.  These are the same individuals who previously led an unsuccessful challenge to Chin Ho Liao’s election to the City Council.

“I was shocked by the City’s decision to allow a group of wealthy, powerful residents to block a dialysis center that would serve the community and save lives,” said Dr. Sakhrani. “People who need dialysis will die without receiving these treatments.”

“The City’s decision to block the dialysis center was a clear violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Nilay Vora, lead counsel to Dr. Sakhrani.  “The City cannot grant similar zoning permits to other applicants but refuse to grant those permits to a dialysis center because of the nature of services it provides.

HLB Attorney Daron Tooch pointed out that the City had no problem issuing a conditional use permit for a liquor store just down the street.  “The City Council is more interested in granting a CUP to a liquor store that sells a product that can cause liver disease, than to grant a CUP to a dialysis center who treats patients that suffer from kidney disease.”

For more information, please contact Daron Tooch, at 310-551-8192 or dtooch@health-law.com.

 HLB’s litigation lawyers are regularly engaged in complex litigation involving health care providers. The firm’s litigation department regularly assists provider clients with litigation, arbitration and mediation services that have resulted in numerous favorable judgments and new case law.  With clients in all 50 states and offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Washington, D.C., HLB is the largest law firm in the country dedicated solely to the representation of health care providers.

For media inquiries, please contact Barrett McBride at 916.456.5855.