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R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA
Assistant Attorney General
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM, Chief
KEISHA DAWN BELL, Deputy Chief
SUSAN BUCKINGHAM REILLY (District of
Columbia # 273011)
Trial Attorney, U.S. Department
of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., G Street
Washington, D.C. 20530
Tel: (202) 307-2230 Fax: (202) 514-1116
susan.reilly@usdoj.gov

EDWARD H. KUBO, JR. (2499)
United States Attorney
District of Hawaii
HARRY YEE (3790)
Assistant U.S. Attorney
PJKK Federal Building
300 Ala Moana Blvd., Rm. 6-100
Honolulu, HI 96850
Tel: (808) 541-2850 Fax: (808) 541-3752
harry.yee@usdoj.gov

Attorneys for the United States



IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF HAWAII



UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,           

Plaintiff,

v.

CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU,
HAWAII; MECON HAWAII LIMITED;
YAMASATO, FUJIWARA, AOKI & ASSOC.;
and R.M. TOWILL CORP.,

            Defendants.

Civil No.

COMPLAINT; SUMMONS IN A
CIVIL CASE

___________________________________)



The United States of America alleges:

1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce the Fair Housing Act ("FHA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619.

Jurisdiction and Venue

2. This court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).

3. Venue is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391 because defendants reside and do business in the District of Hawaii.

Defendants

4. Defendant City and County of Honolulu conducts business in the District of Hawaii. It is a municipal corporation in Hawaii and the local governing body for the city and county of Honolulu, Hawaii. It is the owner and developer of West Loch Village apartment complex.

5. Fletcher Pacific Construction Co., Ltd. served as the general contractor for the construction of West Loch Village. Following a 100% change in ownership of the company in 1999, and pursuant to certain indemnities and assignments as part of that Stock Purchase Agreement, Mecon Hawaii Limited ("Mecon") is its successor in interest and is responsible for the West Loch Village project. Mecon is a Hawaiian corporation.

6. Defendant Yamasato, Fujiwara, Higa & Associates, Inc. ("YFHA") is incorporated in the State of Hawaii with its principal place of business in Honolulu, Hawaii. YFHA was the architectural firm that designed West Loch Village apartment complex.

7. Defendant R.M. Towill Corp. ("Towill") is incorporated in the state of Hawaii with its principal place of business in Honolulu, Hawaii. Towill was the engineering firm that surveyed and designed West Loch Village apartment complex.

The Property

8. West Loch Village apartment complex is located at 91-1450 through 91-1480 Renton Road and 91-1270 Fort Weaver Road in Honolulu, Ewa Beach, Oahu, Hawaii, 96706.

9. West Loch Village apartment complex was designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991. Each building at the subject property is a dwelling within the meaning of the FHA, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

10. Each of the ground-floor apartments at West Loch Village apartment complex is a "covered multifamily dwelling" within the meaning of the FHA, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(7)(A). Accordingly, the ground floor apartments and the public and common use areas at West Loch Village apartment complex are subject to the design and construction requirements of the FHA, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

11. West Loch Village apartment complex consists of 15 buildings containing residential rental dwellings built since the effective date of the accessible design requirements of the FHA, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C). These buildings contain approximately 75 ground floor units that are subject to the accessibility requirements of the FHA, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

Violation of the Fair Housing Act

13. The defendants have failed to design and construct West Loch Village apartment complex 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) the ground floor units contain the following features of adaptive design:

(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 bathrooms and kitchens such that an individual using a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.

14. The City and County of Honolulu has, since the design and construction of West Loch Village, made changes to the property that rendered certain features and facilities inaccessible to persons with disabilities.

15. The defendants, through the actions referred to in the preceding paragraph, have:

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

  2. 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

  3. Failed to design and construct dwellings in compliance with the accessibility and adaptability requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

16. The conduct of the defendants City and County of Honolulu, Mecon, YFHA, and Towill, which is described above, constitutes:

  1. 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/or

  2. 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.

17. Defendants' conduct described above has harmed other persons, including individuals with handicaps and persons associated with them.

18. The defendants' conduct described above was intentional, willful, and/or taken in disregard for the rights of others.

Prayer for Relief

WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an order that:

1. Declares that the defendants' policies, practices, and conduct, 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:

  1. Failing or refusing to bring the ground floor units and public use and common use areas at the subject properties into compliance with 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C);

  2. Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, persons harmed by the defendants' unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct;

  3. 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 monetary relief to persons aggrieved by the defendants' discriminatory policies, practices, or conduct pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B).



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

DATED: __________________, at Honolulu, Hawaii.



ALBERTO R. GONZALES
Attorney General

_____________________________
EDWARD H. KUBO, JR.
United States Attorney
HARRY YEE (3709)
Assistant United States
Attorney
Room 6-100, PJKK Federal Bldg.
300 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu, Hawaii 96850
(808) 541-2850
(808) 541-2958
(808) 541-3752 Fax
______________________________
R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

______________________________
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief, Housing and Civil
Enforcement Section

______________________________
KEISHA DAWN BELL, Deputy Chief
SUSAN BUCKINGHAM REILLY
Trial Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil
Enforcement Section-G St.
950 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20035
(202) 307-2230
(202) 514-1116 Fax


Document Filed: February 22, 2005
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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