DUBOIS – The City of DuBois is being sued. This announcement was made by City Solicitor Toni Cherry near the end of Monday night’s city council meeting.
According Cherry, RHJ Medical Center Inc. is suing the city in the United States District Court in the western district of Pennsylvania. RHJ is seeking declaratory injunction relief and is claiming DuBois violated the American Disability Act, the United States Constitution’s due process clause. The city has responded in denying these charges.
The basis for the case goes back a few years when RHJ attempted to open a drug treatment center at 994 Beaver Drive.
The City of DuBois barred the clinic based on two items:
-First, a state statute that was in place then, but has since been overturned as unconstitutional. This law barred such clinics from being within 500 feet of a public park without receiving the municipality’s permission. The Beaver Drive building is with 39 feet from the Beaver Meadow Walkway.
-Second, a local ordinance that required a change of use for that location. Prior to RHJ moving in to the structure, the building housed an insurance firm. The city denied this change of use.
This lead to an injunction against RHJ opening the clinic. The injunction was lifted after the state statute’s repeal, but DuBois updated its ordinance which allowed for drug treatment centers in office districts as with other medical offices including hospitals.
“We thought that was certainly the most convenient spot for our citizens with disabilities to receive proper treatment,” said Cherry about the city’s policy of medical centers in office districts.
According to the city, RHJ passed up any of the appeal options it had available during that time period. To this end, the city plans on defending itself.