MONTREAL - A morbidly obese Quebec woman with numerous health problems has won her legal fight for a better parking spot.
Not only has Marise Myrand won that parking upgrade outside her condominium, but her condo association has been slapped with a $10,000 penalty for refusing her request.
The move came in a precedent-setting ruling distributed Wednesday by a tribunal of the Quebec Human Rights Commission.
The 57-year-old resident of Ste-Marie, Que., weighs 389 lbs., suffers from diabetes, needs a wheelchair, and gets help breathing from an oxygen tank.
The commission took up the case after Myrand first approached her condo association in the summer of 2005 to try to get a parking spot closer to the building's entrance.
When she asked the condo association, Myrand was told to talk to the woman who already had the spot - but Jocelyne Nolet, who is in her 60s, refused to give it up.
The rights tribunal ruled that the condo association discriminated against the handicapped Myrand, and it ordered the association to pay $10,000 in damages.
The woman will also get her parking spot on March 1.
Nolet, who has been renting the spot, declared she was also handicapped because of a right shoulder injury and her doctor testified that she should not lift anything heavier than a few kilos.
Nolet said she wanted to keep the spot because she worked late as a cook and occasionally had to carry grocery bags up to her condo.
But during his own testimony Myrand's male companion - Denis Turcotte - presented several photos, including two which showed Nolet carrying file boxes.
Turcotte also said Myrand was subjected to "not very flattering" comments during a general assembly of condo owners in January 2006.
The tribunal concluded that Myrand had suffered numerous humiliations since 2005, and said condo association members had made degrading and insulting remarks about her.
In presenting its defence, the condo association accused the human rights commission of abuse of power and of causing damage and inconvenience to other property owners.