The United States Department of Justice Department of Justice SealF The United States Department of Justice
Search The Site
 

HCE Cases black banner

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

           Plaintiff,

v.

CLETUS R. KAEMMERER, SR., and
BILLIE J. KAEMMERER,

           Defendants.

CASE NO.:

CJRA TRACK:

COMPLAINT

The United States of America, by its attorneys, Ronald J. Tenpas, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois and Assistant United States Attorney Nathan E. Wyatt, brings this action on behalf of Melody Sue Rachels pursuant to section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), and alleges as follows:

1. This court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

2. Melody Sue Rachels is a resident of Illinois.

3. Defendants, Cletus R. Kaemmerer, Sr. and Billie J. Kaemmerer (collectively "the Kaemmerers"), are residents of Illinois and at all relevant times were the owners of property located at 6 Geri-Ann Drive, Unit No. 6, Belleville, Illinois 62220 ("the property"). The Kaemmerers own three rental units at 6 Geri-Ann Drive, including Unit No. 6. None of the units was occupied by the Kaemmerers. The property is located in the Southern District of Illinois.

4. At all relevant times, the Kaemmerers managed the property.

5. The three units in the property are "dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

6. On or about January 4, 2001, Ms. Rachels signed her lease, which provided that "said premises should be occupied by no more than 2 adults and 0 children." The Kaemmerers also verbally told Ms. Rachels that children were prohibited in the unit.

7. On or about January 4, 2001, Ms. Rachels moved into the property.

8. When Ms. Rachels rented the property she did not have children, and she alone occupied the unit. Ms. Rachels became pregnant during her tenancy at the property.

9. In or around the spring of 2002, Ms. Rachels told the Kaemmerers that she was pregnant.

10. In response to Ms. Rachels's announcement of her pregnancy, the Kaemmerers told Ms. Rachels that she could not continue to reside in the property with a child.

11. On or about September 15, 2002, Ms. Rachels asked Defendant Cletus Kaemmerer to reconsider his decision to terminate her tenancy. Defendant Cletus Kaemmerer reiterated that Ms. Rachels needed to move, because the Kaemmerers would not allow her to reside at the property with a child.

12. On or about October 22, 2002, Ms. Rachels received a 30-day notice from the Kaemmerers terminating her tenancy. The notice requested that she "quit and deliver possession of the premises" by December 4, 2002.

13. On or about October 31, 2002, Ms. Rachels vacated the property, during her ninth month of pregnancy, and moved into a single-family home that she purchased.

14. Ms. Rachels gave birth to a baby boy on November 18, 2002.

15. The Kaemmerers forced Ms. Rachels to vacate the property, because she planned to reside there with her minor child.

16. The Kaemmerers subsequently rented the property to a single female with no children who was also told by the Kaemmerers that they did not allow children to reside in the unit.

17. On or about July 9, 2003, Ms. Rachels filed a timely complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"), alleging that she had been discriminated against because of familial status.

18. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD conducted and completed an investigation of the complaint, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on the information gathered in 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 July 27, 2005, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination ("the Charge") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging the Kaemmerers with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

19. On August 17, 2005, the Kaemmerers timely elected to have the Charge resolved in a civil action filed in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).

20. On August 17, 2005, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election and terminated the administrative proceeding.

21. 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).

22. The defendants, through the actions referred to above, have:

  1. refused to rent, after the making of a bona fide offer, or to negotiate for the rental of, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, a dwelling because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a); and
  2. made, or caused to be made, statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation or discrimination based on familial status, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation or discrimination, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).

23. Ms. Rachels is an aggrieved person, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and has suffered damages as a result of the defendants' discriminatory conduct described above.

24. The discriminatory actions of the defendants were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of Ms. Rachels.

WHEREFORE, the United States prays that this Court enter an Order that:

1. Declares that the discriminatory housing practices of the defendants as set forth above violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.;

2. Enjoins the defendants, any agents, employees, and successors they may have, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them from discriminating on the basis of familial status against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.; and

3. Awards monetary damages to Ms. Rachels, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c)(1).

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


Respectfully submitted,

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
RONALD J. TENPAS
United States Attorney


NATHAN E. WYATT
Assistant United States Attorney
Nine Executive Drive
Fairview Heights, IL 62208
Phone: (618) 628-3700
Fax: (618) 622-3810
Nathan.Wyatt@usdoj.gov

OF COUNSEL:
Elizabeth A. Singer
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Phone: (202) 514-6164
Fax: (202) 514-1116
Elizabeth.Singer@usdoj.gov


Document Filed: September 13, 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

Stay Connected YouTube MySpace Twitter Facebook Sign Up for E-Mail Updates Subscribe to News Feeds