IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Case No. 00-3832
Ghanashyambhai M. Patel and
Joyitshana G. Patel, d/b/a
THIS MATTER came before the Court on the parties' Joint Motion to Enter Consent
Order. The Court having reviewed the Motion and the file in this matter, and being otherwise
duly advised in the premises thereof, finds as follows:
- On October 18, 2000, the Plaintiff, United States of America filed
this action against the defendants, Ghanashyambhai M. Patel and Joyitshana G. Patel, the owners
and/or operators of the Econo Lodge Motel, located at 553 N.E. 1st Avenue, Florida City, Florida,
pursuant to Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Public Accommodations Act"), 42 U.S.C.
§2000a, seeking a permanent injunction against the defendants from engaging in a pattern or
practice of discrimination on the basis of race in the operation of their business.
- The complaint alleges that the defendants engaged in a pattern or practice of denying African-Americans the full and equal enjoyment of rights secured to them under 42
U.S.C. §§ 2000a et. seq., in the operation of the Econo Lodge Motel. Specifically, the United
States alleges that the Defendants and their employees and/or agents, have implemented a policy
and practice of denying African-American persons, on the basis of their race and color, the full
and equal enjoyment of the facilities, services and accommodations of the Econo-Lodge Motel
on the same basis as such facilities, services and accommodations are provided to white persons.
This policy and practice has been implemented, among other ways, as follows:
- Assigning African-American persons to specifically designated rooms
and/or areas of the motel because of their race and color;
- Refusing to accommodate the preferences of African-American guests in
the location and options or other amenities of their hotel room; and
- Charging African-American persons a higher price for a room than white
- Defendants deny all material allegations of the complaint, and specifically have
denied that they discriminated against any person on account of their race or color.
- PURPOSES OF THIS CONSENT ORDER
- The parties have entered into this Consent Order for the following purposes:
- To ensure, by means set forth in this Order, that all persons, regardless of
race or color, are accorded equal treatment at the Econo Lodge;
- To amicably resolve all claims of the United States; and
- To avoid the expenses and the uncertainties of litigation.
- JURISDICTION, SCOPE, AND TERM OF CONSENT ORDER
- The parties have consented to the entry of this Order. To this end, the parties
stipulate, and the Court finds that this Court has personal jurisdiction over all the Defendants for
purposes of this action and jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §2000a-6(a), and
28 U.S.C. §1345.
- The provisions of this Consent Order shall apply to the Defendants, their
employees, agents, anyone acting under their direction, and all those acting in concert or
participation with any of them. This Consent Order addresses all conduct that the Plaintiffs
allege occurred at the Econo Lodge Motel, located at 553 N.E. 1st Avenue, Florida City, Florida,
up to the date of this Consent Order. In the event the name of the Econo Lodge Motel changes
during the term of this Consent Order, this Consent Order shall continue to apply to the property
now known as the Econo Lodge. To the extent the named Defendants, or other persons or
entities have ownership or management interests in any other hotel or lodging establishment or
properties, these Defendants or other persons or entities remain fully liable for any and all claims
that may have occurred out of conduct at any other such property.
- This Consent Order is effective immediately upon its entry by the Court and shall
be effective through December 31, 2003.
- The Court shall retain jurisdiction over this action and over all Defendants
December 31, 2003, to ensure compliance with all provisions of this Consent Order.
- The parties to this Consent Order shall endeavor in good faith to resolve
any differences regarding interpretation and compliance with this Consent Order prior to bringing
such matters to the Court for resolution, and shall certify in writing that such attempts have been
made prior to resorting to the Court.
- If no action is taken by the United States of America, this Consent Order shall
terminate and the Defendants shall be released from all obligations contained within this Consent
Order. If an objection to termination is filed based on conduct occurring after the Consent Order
is entered, the Court shall hold a hearing on the objection and the burden shall be on the
Plaintiffs to demonstrate why this Order should not be terminated. If Plaintiffs fail to meet their
burden or if no objection is timely filed, this Consent Order shall terminate forthwith.
- NON-ADMISSION OF LIABILITY
- By entering into this Consent Order, Defendants do not admit to any violation of
Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Public Accommodations Act"), 42 U.S.C. §2000a,
and nothing in this Consent Order shall be deemed to be or construed as an admission of liability
or wrongdoing. Notwithstanding the foregoing, all documents obtained from the Defendants
prior to filing this action shall be deemed to be discovery obtained pursuant to Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure in any subsequent litigation under the Public Accommodations Act involving
any of the defendants herein. Defendants reserve all objections except that the documents were
obtained in another lawsuit. Otherwise, this Consent Order may not be used as evidence of any
violation of the Public Accommodations Act or 42 U.S.C. § §2000a.
- It is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that Defendants, their
agents, employees, successors in interest, and all other persons in active concert or participation
with them, are hereby enjoined from doing any of the following:
- Failing to refusing to lease rooms at the Econo-Lodge Motel in Florida
City, Florida, or any other place of public accommodation owned and/or
operated by the defendants, to African-American persons on the same
basis and under the same conditions as such rooms are leased to white
- Failing or refusing to ensure that all of the goods, services, facilities,
privileges, advantages, and accommodations of the Econo-Lodge Motel in
Florida City, Florida, or any other place of public accommodation owned
and/or operated by the Defendants, to African-American persons on the
same basis as they are made available to and used by white persons and
under the same conditions as they are made available to and used by white
- Engaging in any act or practice, which deprives directly or indirectly any persons, on the basis of their race or color, the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations
of the Econo-Lodge Motel in Florida City, Florida, or any other place of public accommodation owned and/or operated by the Defendants, including assigning African-American persons to specifically designated rooms and/or areas of the motel, and charging African-American persons higher rates than is charged white persons; and
- Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to eliminate the effects of its past racial discrimination, and to post appropriate notices or otherwise inform the general public that the
facilities and services of the Econo-Lodge in Florida City, Florida are
available to members of the general public without regard to race or color.
- It is agreed by the parties, and it is hereby ORDERED, that:
- This Consent Order shall be binding with respect to any other place of
public accommodation presently owned, managed or controlled by
Defendants, and shall continue to be binding with respect to said business
establishments if they are transferred or assigned only to the extent such
transferees or assignees are related to the Defendants, Ghanashyambhai M.
Patel and Joyitshana G. Patel by blood or marriage, or any entity owned or
controlled by the Defendants. Any individual or entity subject to the
injunction at paragraph 12 who no longer has any ownership, management,
or controlling interest of any kind whatsoever in any of the places of
public accommodations subject to this Consent Order shall no longer be
subject to the provisions of paragraph 12 of this Consent Order;
- Any notices or certifications pertaining to the terms and conditions of this
Consent Order to be sent to the United States of America shall be sent to
Veronica Harrell-James, Assistant U.S. Attorney, 99 N.E. 4th Street, 6th
Floor, Miami, Florida 33132, or to any person designated by the United
States of America as her replacement; and
- Any notices pertaining to the terms and conditions of this Consent Order
to be made to the Defendants shall be sent to Defendants' attorney or to the
person, designated by the Defendants, as his replacement.
- NOTICE TO PUBLIC OF NONDISCRIMINATORY POLICIES
- It is ORDERED that within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order, the
defendants shall take steps to notify the public of their nondiscriminatory policies as follows:
- Prominently post in the lobby at the Econo-Lodge motel, and all other places of public accommodation owned , managed, leased or operated by
the defendants, a sign no smaller than 10 inches by 13 inches which
indicates that all motel rooms are available on a nondiscriminatory basis.
A copy of the poster appended to this Consent Order as Attachment A will
satisfy this requirement;
- Post a notice of Defendants' nondiscriminatory policies, as described
Section XII of this Consent Order, the lobby of the Econo-Lodge and other
places of public accommodation owned, managed, leased or operated by
the defendants. Copies of this notice shall be made available upon request
to all persons who inquire about lodging at the facilities.
- Within ten (10) days of the hiring of other persons to manage or perform other services at the Econo-Lodge Motel, Defendants shall give written
notice of their policy of nondiscrimination and of all the obligations of
Defendants, their employees and agents under the terms of this Consent
Order. Such persons shall be further advised that violation of this Consent
Order could subject them to termination of the employment relationship
with Defendants and to possible sanctions by this Court. The parties agree
that the notice in the form set forth in Attachment B shall satisfy
Defendants' obligation under this paragraph.
- It is ORDERED that within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Consent Order,
defendants shall conduct and complete an educational program for all their employees and/or
agents who are involved in the management and operation of the Econo-Lodge. This program
shall include informing each employee of his or her duties and obligations under this Consent
Order as well as his or her duties and obligations under the Public Accommodations Act. Such
program shall also include:
- Providing each such agent and employee with a copy of the Notice set
forth in Attachment B, summarizing Defendants' policies of
nondiscrimination under the terms of this Consent Order, and informing
each such agent or employee, in person or by general meeting, of the
duties of Defendants and their agents and employees pursuant to these
policies, and what disciplinary measures might be taken in the event of
noncompliance, including possible sanctions by this Court.
- Providing a copy of the Public Accommodations Act to each such agent or
employee whose duties include management of the motel, motel guests
reservations and registration, and the cleaning of motel rooms, as well as
employees who supervise the work of any such employees.
- Mandatory training of each person currently employed or hired by Defendants during the duration of this Consent Order, who is involved in
the management of the motel, motel guests reservations and registration,
and the cleaning of motel rooms, as well as employees who supervise the
work of any such employees. The training shall include at least the
following: (1) instructions on the requirements of the federal Public
Accommodations Act; (2) a review of the defendants' nondiscriminatory
policies and of the specific requirements of this Consent Order; and (3)
instructions in procedures to ensure that race does not enter into the
process of assigning motel rooms or accommodating a guest's preferences
in the location, options or other amenities of their room. The expense of
the training shall be borne by the Defendants. The first training session
shall be held within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Consent Order.
Training sessions for new employees shall be conducted by the Defendants
within ten (10) days of their initial hiring for the duration of this Consent
Order. At the end of each training session, the Defendants and each
employee who attends the training, shall sign a statement in the form set
forth in Attachment C (Employee Acknowledgment).
- NONDISCRIMINATORY STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES
- It is further ORDERED that:
- The Defendants shall, upon entry of this Consent Order, and throughout its
term, apply objective, uniform, racially nondiscriminatory standards and
shall follow a uniform written procedure in accepting reservations and
registering hotel guests. The Defendants have established and agree to
comply with specific race-neutral standards, policies and procedures for
the operation of the Econo-Lodge during the term of this Consent Order,
which consists of those set forth in Attachment B hereto.
- Notice of any changes in the hotel registration procedures at Econo-Lodge
shall be provided to the United States within three (3) business days after
implementation. If the United States of America objects, the United
States of America and the Defendants shall attempt to resolve any dispute
within ten (10) business days (or some mutually agreeable date) of notice
by the United States of America that it objects to any such change. If the
parties are unable to resolve the dispute within the ten (10) business day
period (or some mutually agreeable date), then the United States of
America can present the issue to the Court for resolution. The setting of
hotel room rates shall not be deemed part of "rental policies," and
Defendants are free to set any rental rates they choose so long as they are
charged without regard to race or color.
- It is further ORDERED that until termination of the Consent Order, as set forth in
Section III of this Consent Order, Defendants shall preserve and maintain the following records
for the Econo-Lodge Motel:
- Guest Daily Balance Reports
- Guest Arrival Report
- Guest Departure Report
- Housekeeping Reports
- Transaction Report by User
- Reservation Records (i.e. Guest Cards, Reservation Printouts from Worldwide Reservation Network, etc.)
- Daily Operations Reports or Journals
- Sales Report
- Revenue Report
- Management Daily Report
- Guest History Report
- Shift Report
- Employee Acknowledgment Forms
- It is further ORDERED that Plaintiff, United States of America may inspect and copy the records described in this Section IX upon providing reasonable notice of not less than
three (3) days to Defendants. The United States of America shall make a good faith effort to
minimize any inconvenience to Defendants during the inspection and copying of such records.
- It is further ORDERED that the United States may request a local testing agency
to conduct, unannounced, compliance tests at Econo-Lodge Motel twice a year during the
duration of this Consent Order. A paired compliance test is defined as using black and white
testers to determine the availability of motel rooms and possible discrimination. The cost of each
paired compliance test shall not exceed three hundred dollars ($300.00). Payment for each test
shall be made by the Defendants within thirty (30) days of the receipt of an invoice from the local
testing agency for performing the tests. The expense of the testing, as limited hereunder, shall be
borne by the Defendants.
- Nothing in this Consent Order shall prevent the United States from conducting
additional compliance tests of the Econo-Lodge Motel, at their own expense.
- MARKETING AND ADVERTISING
- It is further ORDERED that during the term of this Consent Order, Defendants
shall place at least one (1) advertisement each year in a newspaper publication, which reaches a
substantial African-American audience.
- This requirements may be satisfied if Defendants place newspaper advertisements
in the South Dade News Leader.
- It is further ORDERED that Defendants, during the term of this Consent Order,
shall notify Plaintiff the United States of America in writing within fifteen (15) days of receipt of
any complaint which comes to the attention of Defendants regarding any alleged discrimination
on the basis of race with respect to hotel accommodations and services at the Econo-Lodge.
Such report shall include the complainant's name, address, and telephone number, and full details
of the complaint and any action taken or proposed to be taken by Defendants in response. If the
complaint is written, the Defendants shall provide a copy of the complaint with the written
- It is further ORDERED that the Plaintiff, United States of America, shall notify
Defendants of any alleged violation of this Consent Order or any alleged discrimination by
Defendants that comes to its knowledge, within fifteen (15) days of learning of the alleged
violation or discrimination. Such notification shall include all details of the alleged violation or
discrimination and any proposed remedy which the United States of America believes
Defendants should make.
- After notification of any complaint of discrimination or alleged violation of this
Consent Order, and before any alleged complaint of discrimination or violation is brought before
the Court, the parties shall attempt to resolve the problem among themselves by good faith, face-to-face negotiations.
- If the parties are unable, after good faith, face-to-face negotiations, to resolve any
complaints of discrimination or allegations of violations of this Consent Order, the United States
of America may thereafter petition the Court for enforcement of this Consent Order and may
present all relevant evidence to prove that the Defendants are not complying with the terms of
this Consent Order.
- NOTICE OF TRANSFER OF INTEREST
- It is further ORDERED that Defendants Ghanashyambhai M. Patel and Joyitshana
G. Patel shall notify the United States of America if they sell or otherwise dispose of their
interest in the Econo-Lodge Motel. Such notification shall be made in writing within thirty (30)
days after the sale or transfer of interest and shall include the identity of the purchaser(s) or
person(s) to whom the interest has been transferred, except that the Defendants shall provide
thirty days prior notice of such sale or transfer to a person related to them by blood or marriage.
After closing, Defendants shall not be bound by the provisions of Sections VI - XI if Defendants'
only interest in the Econo-Lodge Motel is that of a mortgagee or lienholder and the property is
owned by a person or entity that is not related to the Defendants by blood or marriage. If,
however, the purchaser or transferee is related to the defendants, or the defendants reacquires the
Econo-Lodge within the three (3) year period of the Consent Order, then the defendants shall be
bound by the provisions of Sections VI-XI for the unexpired portion of the three (3) year period.
- It is further ORDERED that the Defendants will notify the United States of
America in writing if they assume any managerial or supervisory responsibilities at any transient
lodging establishment. Such notification shall be made within ten (10) days after the beginning
of the assumption of new responsibilities or new employment.
- All attachments hereto are deemed a part of this Consent Order.
- This Cases is deemed closed; however, the Court retains jurisdiction to enforce
this Consent Order in accordance with its terms.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers in Miami, Florida, this _[19th]_ day of __[Oct.]___, 2000.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cc: AUSA Veronica Harrell-James
Charles H. Groves, Esq.
The undersigned apply for and consent to the entry of this Order:
For the United States of America
Bill Lann Lee
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
Joan A. Magagna
Chief, Housing & Civil Enforcement
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20036-5998
GUY A. LEWIS
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
Assistant United States Attorney
99 N.E. 4th Street, 6th Floor
Miami, Florida 33132-2111
Fla. Bar No. 644791
Tel. No.: (305) 961-9327
Fax No.: (305) 530-7976
For the Defendants
Charles H. Groves, Esq.
12550 Biscayne Blvd.
North Miami, Florida 33181
Tel. No.: (305) 892-2990
Fax No.: (305) 892-2780
Fla. Bar No. _602371________
Ghanashyambhai M. Patel, Defendant
Joyitshana G. Patel, Defendant
Document Signed: October 19, 2000.