UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
No. 01 C 9277
JOHN BUCK COMPANY, CHURCH
& CHICAGO LIMITED PARTNERSHIP,
LASALLE BANK NATIONAL
ASSOCIATION TRUST NO. 123565-07,
JBC EVANSTON LIMITED PARTNERSHIP,
HARRY WEESE ASSOCIATES, and
GENSLER ARCHITECTURE, DESIGN
& PLANNING WORLDWIDE, P.C.,
ACCESS LIVING OF METROPOLITAN
THE JOHN BUCK COMPANY, et al.
The United States, by its attorney, PATRICK J. FITZGERALD, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, for its complaint alleges:
1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce the provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act), as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act
of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619. It is brought on behalf of Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago ("Access Living") pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act ("the Act"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), as well as pursuant to Section 814(a) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
2. This court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 28 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
3. Venue is proper in that the claims alleged herein arose in Evanston, Illinois, which is in this District.
4. The Park Evanston is a multifamily dwelling located at 1630 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, Illinois, which is in the Northern District of Illinois.
5. The Park Evanston contains approximately 283 rental units located on 24 floors with elevators leading to all units.
6. The Park Evanston was designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991. Each apartment at the Park Evanston is a dwelling within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
7. Each of the 283 units at the Park Sheraton is a "covered multifamily dwelling" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(7)(A) and is subject to the design and construction requirements set forth at 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).
8. Defendants John Buck Company and Church & Chicago Limited Partnership are, respectively, the builder and developer of the property, and they or their principal places of business
are in the Northern District of Illinois.
9. Defendant LaSalle Bank National Association (formerly American National Bank & Trust Company of Chicago) Trust No. 123565-07, is the current owner of the Park Evanston and has
held title since December 22, 1997.
10. Defendant JBC Evanston Limited Partnership is the beneficiary of LaSalle Bank National Association Trust No. 123565-07 and the successor-in-interest to Church & Chicago
11. Defendant Harry Weese Associates is responsible for the design of the Park Evanston and is located in the Northern District of Illinois.
12. Defendant Gensler Architecture, Design & Planning Worldwide, P.C. purchased the assets of Harry Weese Associates on November 30, 2000, has offices in the Northern District of
Illinois, and is liable for the discriminatory actions of Harry Weese Associates under federal law.
First Claim For Relief
13. Plaintiff re-alleges and incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 - 10 above.
14. Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago ("Access Living") is a non-profit organization that serves and advocates for persons with disabilities throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.
15. On or about January 15, 1997, Access Living filed a timely complaint, and subsequently amended its complaint, with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
("HUD"), pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging that defendants discriminated in housing because of handicap.
16. Access Living diverted resources from its other activities to investigate whether the Park Evanston was designed and constructed in violation of the Fair Housing Act and to pursue a complaint concerning the Park Evanston with HUD.
17. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) & (b), the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development conducted and completed an investigation of the complaint filed by Access Living, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on information gathered in the investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause exists to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred. Accordingly, on July 5, 2001, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging defendants with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
18. On or about August 6, 2001, defendants John Buck Company, Church & Chicago Limited Partnership, and Harry Weese Associates elected to have the Charge resolved in a civil
action filed in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
19. On August 7, 2001, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election of Judicial Determination and terminated the administrative proceeding on the complaint filed by Access Living.
20. Following this Notice of Election, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
21. The defendants have failed to design and construct the Park Evanston so that:
- the public use and common use portions are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities;
- all doors within all units are sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons with disabilities who use wheelchairs; and
- all units contain the following features of adaptive design: (i) electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations; (ii)
reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and (iii) usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual using a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.
22. The defendants, through the actions referred to in the preceding paragraph, have:
- discriminated in the rental, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, dwellings to renters because of handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1);
- discriminated against persons in the terms, conditions or privileges of rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection with a dwelling, because of handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(2); and
- failed to design and construct dwellings in compliance with the accessibility and adaptability features mandated by 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).
23. Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago is an aggrieved person, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and has suffered damages as a result of the defendants' conduct described above.
24. The discriminatory actions of defendants were intentional, willful and taken in disregard for the rights of Access Living and others.
Second Claim For Relief
25. Plaintiff re-alleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 - 10 and 19 - 22, above.
26. The conduct of the defendants described in paragraph 19 constitutes:
- a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619; and
- a denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619, which denial raises an issue of general public importance.
27. Persons who have been the victims of the defendants' discriminatory housing practices are aggrieved persons as defined by 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i) and may have suffered injuries as a result of the defendants' conduct described above.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the court enter an order that:
1. declares that the defendants' policies and practices, as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act;
2. enjoins the defendants, their officers, employees, agents, successors and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from:
- failing or refusing to bring all of the 283 units and public use and common use areas at the Park Evanston into compliance with 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C);
- failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, the victims of the defendants' unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct; and
- designing or constructing covered multifamily dwellings in the future that do not contain the accessibility and adaptability features required by 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C);
3. awards such damages as would fully compensate each person aggrieved by the defendants' discriminatory housing practices, including Access Living, for injuries resulting from
the defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3), 3613(c)(1),and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B);
4. awards punitive damages to each person aggrieved by the defendants' discriminatory housing practices, including Access Living, because of the intentional and willful nature of the
defendants' conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3), 3613(c)(1), and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B);
5. assesses a civil penalty against each defendant in an amount authorized by 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C), in order to vindicate the public interest.
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
|PATRICK J. FITZGERALD|
United States Attorney
RALPH F. BOYD, JR.
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
Assistant United States Attorney
219 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, Illinois 60604
|JOAN A. MAGAGNA|
Chief, Housing and Civil