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Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

May 4, 2022

Housing Discrimination: Pro Se Plaintiff Robert W. Johnson Targeting Hotels, Motels in Recent Flurry of Federal Lawsuits

Within the last few days, Robert W. Johnson, who is purportedly homeless, has commenced more than 20 federal civil rights lawsuits against hotels, motels, and other places of lodging located in Upstate New York.

The complaints—which also name as defendants government agencies and employees, including NYS Governor Kathy Hochul, as well as private businesses and employees—generally allege that Johnson was denied shelter for “no valid reason” despite presenting documentation from the Department of Social Services indicating that Johnson would receive financial assistance for emergency housing if he could “find a facility that will accept [him] and agency payment.” 

In each complaint, Johnson alleges that he was discriminated against and denied due process, and as a result, he is seeking, among other relief, $100 million in punitive damages and 100 percent ownership of the business.

In the event you are served with one of these housing discrimination lawsuits, please do not hesitate to contact one of the attorneys at Barclay Damon.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Rob Thorpe, partner, at, Buster Melvin, partner, at; or another member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Area or Hotels, Hospitality & Food Service Team.

The Labor & Employment Podcast is a weekly Barclay Damon Live podcast hosted by Ari Kwiatkowski, associate, that provides employers with important updates regarding ever-evolving state and federal labor and employment laws as well as a wide range of timely topics pertaining to labor and employment issues in the workplace. Click here to watch or listen to the Labor & Employment Podcast as well as Barclay Damon’s other podcast series: Cyber Sip and Cannabis Counselor.

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