CHARLESTON – A government agency alleges that an apartment owner unlawfully denied a tenant the use of a service animal.

West Virginia Human Rights Commission, on its own behalf and on behalf of Kaycee Johnson, filed a complaint Aug. 11 in Kanawha Circuit Court against CRMM Properties LLC and Chester R. Smalley alleging that they violated the West Virginia Fair Housing Act.

According to the complaint, Johnson signed a month-to-month lease for a South Charleston apartment with the defendants in January 2015. The suit states that in July 2015, she obtained a doctor's note recommending an emotional support animal for her disability but the defendants denied the request. The suit states Johnson moved out of the apartment the same month because of the denial of the accommodation.

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seeks compensatory and punitive damages, attorney's fees, costs and all other injunctive relief as the court finds appropriate. It is represented by J. Robert Leslie and Anita Valentino of the West Virginia Attorney General's office. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James C. Stucky.

Kanawha Circuit Court Case number 17-C-1142

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