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R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA
Assistant Attorney General
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
DONNA M. MURPHY
MICHAEL L. BARRETT
Attorneys
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section - G. St.
950 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, D.C. 20530
202-514-2447
MB-9780

CHRISTOPHER J. CHRISTIE
United States Attorney
MICHAEL A. CHAGARES
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Chief, Civil Division
970 Broad Street, Suite 700
Newark, New Jersey 07101
(973) 645-2839
MC-5483

Attorneys for Plaintiff

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

            Plaintiff,

Civil Action No.

v.

CARTERET TERRACE, LLC; ALAN SCHALL;

COMPLAINT

FEINBERG & ASSOCIATES, P.C. ; and

MICHAEL P. McQUAIDE,

          

Defendants.
_______________________________

The United States of America alleges:

1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (Fair Housing Act), 42 U.S.C. §§3601-3619, and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the "ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§12181-12189.

2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a), and §12188(b)(1)(B). The Court may grant declaratory and other relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§2201 and 2202.

3. Meridian Square Apartments (Meridian Square) is a residential dwelling complex located at 100 Abbi Road, Carteret, Middlesex County, New Jersey, in the District of New Jersey. Meridian Square consists of eight buildings each containing four or more units, 60 of which are located on the ground floor. All the units at Meridian were designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991.

4. Meridian Square's units are "dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

5. All of the 60 ground floor units at Meridian Square are "covered multi-family dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (f)(7)(B).

6. All of the ground floor units and common areas at Meridian Square are subject to the accessibility requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

PARTIES

7. Defendant Carteret Terrace, LLC ("Carteret") is a corporation with its principal place of business in Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey. Carteret is the owner, contractor and developer of Meridian Square.

8. Defendant Alan Schall, who is employed by Carteret Terrace, L.L.C., was the project manager for Carteret Terrace, L.L.C. responsible for the development and construction of Meridian Square.

9. Defendant Feinberg & Associates, PC, a corporation whose principal place of business is Gibbsboro, Camden County, New Jersey, is the architectural firm that designed Meridian Square.

10. Defendant Michael McQuaid, who is an architect employed by Feinberg & Associates, P.C., prepared the architectural designs for the Meridian Square Apartments.

COUNT I

11. Plaintiff re-alleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-10, above.

12. Alliance for Disabled in Action, Inc., ("Alliance") is a non-profit membership organization located in Edison, New Jersey, that provides resources to and advocates on behalf of individuals with disabilities. Its purpose and goal is to promote choice, equality and inclusion of people with disabilities.

13. On or about January 16, 2002, Alliance filed a timely complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging discrimination in housing on the basis of handicap. In its complaint, Alliance alleged that Meridian Square was not designed and constructed in accordance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.

14. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) & (b), the Secretary of HUD conducted and completed an investigation of the complaint filed by Alliance, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on information gathered during the investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause existed to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred. Accordingly, on or about May 12, 2003, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging the defendants with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

15. On or about June 2, 2003, Carteret Terrace, L.L.C. and Alan Schall elected to have the Charge of Discrimination resolved in a civil action filed in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).

16. On or about June 3, 2003, the Chief Administrative Law Judge at HUD issued a Notice of Election of Judicial Determination and terminated the administrative proceeding on the complaint filed by Alliance.

17. Following this Notice of Election, the Secretary of HUD authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o). Defendants and the United States mutually agreed to an extension of time to file this action up to and including the date on which this Complaint has been filed.

18. Defendants Carteret Terrace, L.L.C., Alan Schall, Feinberg & Associates and Michael P. McQuaide have failed to design and construct Meridian Square in compliance with the accessibility and adaptability features mandated by 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C) so that:

(a) the public use and common use portions are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities;

(b) all doors within the ground-floor units are sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons with disabilities who use wheelchairs; and

(c) all of the ground floor units contain the following features: (i) an accessible route into and through the dwelling; (ii) electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations; (iii) reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and (iv) usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual using a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.

19. Defendants Carteret Terrace, LLC, Alan Schall, Feinberg & Associates and Michael P. McQuaide, through the actions referred to in the preceding paragraph, have:

(a) Discriminated in the rental, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, dwellings to persons because of handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1); and

(b) 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).

20. Alliance is an aggrieved person, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and has suffered damages as a result of the conduct of defendants Carteret Terrace, L.L.C. Alan Schall, Feinberg & Associates and Michael P. McQuaide, described above.

21. The discriminatory actions of defendants Carteret Terrace, L.L.C., Alan Schall, Feinberg & Associates and Michael P. McQuaide were intentional, willful and taken in disregard for the rights of Alliance and others.

COUNT II

22. Plaintiff re-alleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-10 and 18-21 above.

23. Defendants Carteret Terrace, L.L.C., Alan Schall, Feinberg & Associates and Michael P. McQuaide, through the actions referred to in the preceding paragraph, have:

(a) Discriminated in the rental, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, dwellings to persons because of disability, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1);

(b) 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 disability, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(2); and

(c) Failed to design and construct dwellings in compliance with the accessibility and adaptability features mandated by 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

24. The conduct of defendants Carteret Terrace, L.L.C., Alan Schall, Feinberg & Associates and Michael P. McQuaide described in paragraphs 18-21 and referenced in paragraph 22 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.

25. The conduct of defendants Carteret Terrace, L.L.C., Alan Schall, Feinberg & Associates and Michael P. McQuaide described in paragraphs 18-21 and referenced in paragraph 22 constitutes 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.

26. Upon information and belief, there are persons who have been the victims of defendants' discriminatory housing practices in addition to Alliance and who are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i). Such persons may have suffered actual injury and damages as a result of defendants' conduct described above.

27. The discriminatory actions of defendants Carteret Terrace, L.L.C., Alan Schall, Feinberg & Associates and Michael P. McQuaide were intentional, willful and taken in disregard for the rights of Alliance and other victims of this discrimination.

COUNT III

28. The allegations of paragraphs 1 through 10 and 18-26 are hereby realleged and incorporated by reference.

29. The rental office/model apartment of Meridian Square was designed and constructed for first occupancy after January 26, 1992. The rental office/model apartment of Meridian Square is a public accommodation within the meaning of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(E).

30. The rental office/model apartment is not readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, as required by section 303(a)(1) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C.

§ 12183(a)(1). These areas fail in numerous respects to comply with the Department of Justice regulation implementing Title III of the ADA, 28 C.F.R. Part 36, including the Standards for Accessible Design, 28 C.F.R. Part 36, Appendix A.

31. The defendants' conduct described in paragraph 29 constitutes:

  1. A pattern or practice of discrimination within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(1)(B)(i) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.503(a); and

  2. Unlawful discrimination that raises an issue of general public importance within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(1)(B)(ii) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.503(b).

32. Victims of defendants' discriminatory conduct described in paragraph 29 may have suffered injuries as a result of defendants' conduct.

WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the court enter an ORDER that:

1. Declares that the policies and practices of defendants Carteret Terrace, L.L.C., Alan Schall, Feinberg & Associates and Michael P. McQuaide, as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act;

2. Enjoins defendants Carteret Terrace, L.L.C., Alan Schall, Feinberg & Associates and Michael P. McQuaide, their officers, employees, agents, successors and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from:

(a) Failing or refusing to bring the 60 ground-floor units and public use and common use areas at Meridian Square into compliance with 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C);

(b) 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;

(c) Failing or refusing to bring the public accommodations at Meridian Square into full compliance with 42 U.S.C. § 12183(a)(1), 28 C.F.R. §§ 36.401 and 36.406, and 28 C.F.R. Part 36, Appendix A;

(d) 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); and

(e) Designing or constructing any public accommodations in the future that are not readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, as required by 42 U.S.C. § 12183(a)(1), 28 C.F.R. §§ 36.401 and 36.406, and 28 C.F.R. Part 36, Appendix A

3. Awards appropriate monetary relief, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3), 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B), and 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(2)(B) to fully compensate each person aggrieved by the discriminatory housing practices of defendants Carteret Terrace, L.L.C. Alan Schall, Feinberg & Associates and Michael P. McQuaide, including Alliance, for injuries resulting from the defendants' discriminatory conduct;

4. Assesses a civil penalty against each defendant in the maximum amount authorized by 42 U.S.C. §3614(d)(1)(C) in order to vindicate the public interest and deter future violations of the Fair Housing Act; and

5. Assesses a civil penalty against each defendant in the maximum amount authorized by 42 U.S.C. §12188(b)(2)(C) in order to vindicate the public interest and deter future violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.

John Ashcroft
Attorney General
______________________________
R. Alexander Acosta
Assistant Attorney General

______________________________
Christopher J. Christie
United States Attorney
District of New Jersey


Michael A. Chagares
Assistant United States
Attorney
Chief, Civil Division
970 Broad Street, Suite 700
Newark, New Jersey 07101
(973) 645-2839
MC5483
____________________________
Steven H. Rosenbaum
Chief, Housing & Civil Enforcement
Section

____________________________
Donna L. Murphy
Deputy Chief
Michael L. Barrett
Trial Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing & Civil Enforcement
Section - G Street
950 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20530
202-514-2447
MB9780


Document Filed: April 30, 2004
General Information Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
 
Leadership
Steven H. Rosenbaum
Chief
Contact
Housing & Civil
Enforcement Section
(202) 514-4713
TTY - 202-305-1882
FAX - (202) 514-1116
To Report an Incident of Housing Discrimination:
1-800-896-7743
Mailing Contact
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, NWB
Washington, D.C. 20530

Email: fairhousing@usdoj.gov

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