By Emily Sullivan, Wright Beamer
The Michigan Supreme Court recently affirmed a Court of Appeals’ opinion in which it held that a landlord is entitled to challenge evidence submitted by a tenant in support of a request for an emotional support animal (ESA). Riverbrook v Fabode, ___ Mich ____, 981 NW2d 468 (2022). While Riverbrook involved a residential tenancy with challenges under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), in many circumstances, a commercial tenant may request an ESA as an accommodation to a commercial lease, including under the Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act (PWCRA). MCL 37.1101 et seq. The Supreme Court’s ruling rejected any requirement that expert testimony be provided in cases where an accommodation is sought however, affirmed the landlord’s right to cross-examine any such proffered expert under MRE 702 to challenge the reliability of the expert and their testimony.
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