Judge lifts limits on occupancy at sober house

Trinity Sober Living is no longer limited to nine residents in its sober house in Hinsdale, following a June 10 order issued by Judge Brian Diamond of the DuPage County 18th District Circuit Court.

The court originally stayed all litigation in the case to allow the federal court to rule on the issues of preemption after Trinity filed a federal lawsuit in November claiming the Village of Hinsdale is discriminating against residents of the The Sober House at 111 N. Grant St.

“The court was led to believe, at that time, that the parties were in agreement to limit any increase in the number of residents of the house in order to provide a reasonable accommodation while providing the federal court with opportunity to rule,” Diamond’s court order states.

The Village of Hinsdale, however, continues to litigate the case in county court, Diamond noted. In addition, he wrote, the village has interpreted the order as the granting of a “partial preliminary injunction.”

“The court therefore vacates all restrictions placed on the number of individuals residing in the defendant house in that order, and only the stay portion of the order stands,” he wrote.

All proceedings — including discovery — is stayed until the federal court has ruled, Diamond added.

“We are extremely grateful to Judge Diamond for his ruling,” said Michael Owens, executive director and founder of Trinity Sober Living. “The judge’s order essentially gives Trinity the ability to have as many residents as we choose for now. However, that has never been our intention.

“We have attempted to negotiate with the Village of Hinsdale on multiple occasions but they clearly have no interest in having Trinity Sober House in town,” he continued. “I have owned the home now for over a year and we have worked hard to be good neighbors and we have not been a burden to anyone in the community. Trinity is helping adult men transition back to their homes in Hinsdale and the other surrounding communities.”

Nine residents currently live at the five-bedroom home, Owens said.

In the federal case, Judge Steven Seeger of the U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois granted Trinity Sober Living’s motion to file an amended complaint, which is due July 15. The judge also asked the parties to file a joint statement by June 30 indicating whether or not they are willing to participate in a settlement conference.

The village has no comment on ongoing litigation, assistant village manager Brad Bloom said.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean