FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (WJBK) - Cancer survivor sues over condo neighbor's second-hand smoke
A Farmington Hills woman recovering from breast cancer and battling asthma says she now has to deal with another problem that's making her sick - her neighbors' smoking habit.
"At the end of the day, all she wants is to breathe in her home comfortably," said attorney Alan Gocha. "It seems that no one seems to care what's happened to her because it doesn't affect them."
It's a second-hand smoke dispute that attorneys Gocha and Justin Barry say is threatening the life of their client.
In a complaint filed last week against Echo Valley Condominium Association, its property management company Casa Bella and the two owners of unit 115 their client, Phyllis Davis says, she can't breathe because of her neighbors.
Buying her condo in 2014 Davis says, for the last year, her neighbors in a connected unit who are renters, smoke cigarettes and other substances incessantly. The smoke constantly travels in through a shared ventilation system.
Gocha says that is a violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act.
"What's upsetting is she's already gone through so much, beat breast cancer and she's fought to purchase her home," Gocha said.
Gocha says Davis has asthma, multiple chemical sensitivity disorder and environmental illness, which means under federal and state laws, she is considered handicapped and disabled.
"I think the easiest example is asthma, it affects her major life function of being able to breathe," Gocha said. "If you want to smoke in your own place of living, you should find a place where smoking in that place of living wouldn't create a problem for everyone else."
Gocha says Davis complained to the association, the management company and the owner of the unit for a year with no luck.
"She made both in-person and written requests for the nuisance to be stopped," Gocha said. "They told her no."
FOX 2 was unable to reach anyone with Echo Valley or the management company Casa Bella Monday.
Attorneys Barry and Gocha have taken Davis's case pro bono say they're not going to let this go.
"We're not saying the tenants can't smoke at all," Gocha said. "We're not even saying they can't smoke on the premises. They just have to walk outside and they have to smoke their cigarettes or other substances there and everything would be fine."