Settlement reached in suit against New Castle mission that turned away guide dog

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A lawsuit filed in 2012 by a blind man against a New Castle homeless shelter that rejected his guide dog has been settled, according to a filing today on the U.S. District Court docket.

Kenneth DeFiore, now of Edinburg in Mahoning, Lawrence County, sued the City Rescue Mission of New Castle, alleging that it violated the Fair Housing Act and other laws when it turned away his chocolate Labrador retriever guide dog, Gabby. As a result, Mr. DeFiore alleged, he had to leave the shelter and remained homeless for 17 days, until he attempted suicide by lying in a busy intersection and was taken in by police.

Attorneys for Mr. DeFiore and for the shelter were not immediately responsive to requests for the terms of the settlement, and they were not detailed in the report of resolution.

Last year the U.S. Department of Justice followed up Mr. DeFiore's lawsuit with its own civil complaint against the shelter and one of its program managers, alleging discrimination and violations of the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney David Hickton did not immediately know the status of that lawsuit.


Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.

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