User of scooter says she got booted

Assisted living facility has not filed a response

By Janice Gregorson

A Rochester woman claims she was discriminated against when her lease agreement was terminated at an assisted living facility in Eyota because she uses a motorized scooter.

Janice Groteboer has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis against the Eyota Economic Development Authority and Tealwood Management. No response has been filed by the defendants. Eyota Mayor Wes Bussell said city officials have no comment on the matter.


Groteboer, who now lives in Rochester, claims the defendants’ actions violated the Civil Rights Act of 1968 as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988.

The Eyota Economic Development Authority does business as Arbor Gardens, a senior independent living and assisted living community. Tealwood Management contracts with Arbor Gardens to manage the operation of the facility, the complaint said.

Groteboer has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She signed a lease with Arbor Gardens in April 2006. She says she got a termination notice from Arbor Gardens and Tealwood in May 2007, saying that she would be evicted June 30, 2007, because her use of a motorized cart posed a threat to the safety of others and allegedly caused unacceptable wear and tear on her apartment and common areas, according to a complaint drafted by Rochester attorney John Beatty.

Groteboer allegedly made several attempts to reach an agreement with the defendants to grant her reasonable accommodations. On June 21, 2007, she said they demanded she sign a separate agreement requiring cessation of her use of any motorized mobility aid within the facility and conditioning her continued tenancy on her use of limited escorts to and from her apartment.

She refused to sign that agreement, the complaint said, and the defendants never accepted her proposal for reasonable accommodations.

The complaint said that the defendants imposed the restrictions on her without any signed agreement. She claims that created a "hostile and discriminatory environment" and that she was evicted from the facility in August 2007.

She seeks monetary damages and an order from the court declaring the defendants’ policies and practices as violations of the Fair Housing Act.

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