If you’re a resident in a D.C. Housing Authority (DCHA) apartment, you had best hope your landlord isn’t making any “policy decisions” in your building: Three years ago, then-78-year-old Arthur Capper Senior resident Sylvester Whiting broke a hip after tripping on an elevator that had stopped 3 inches below floor level. A jury awarded him $239,883 in May, but the agency is now appealing on a technicality: The DCHA’s attorneys argue that officials had made a deliberate “policy” decision not to maintain the elevators because the building was scheduled to close. “Policy” decisions—as opposed to “administrative” ones—are immune from litigation, the agency is arguing. DCHA spokesperson Zachary Smith calls the situation a “very tragic and unfortunate incident” but declines to comment on the ongoing suit. Whiting died of unrelated causes in January, but his attorney, Geoff Gitner, is still pressing the case: “It’s difficult to comprehend that any landlord would intentionally make such a decision that would knowingly jeopardize the health and lives of its tenants,” he says, “let alone the very government agency established to provide safe housing.” —Patrick Tracey

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