UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
SAN JOSE DIVISION
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
LYTTON IV HOUSING CORPORATION,
E.M. SCHAFFRAN AND COMPANY,
CARRASCO & ASSOCIATES, and
DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
The United States of America alleges:
- This action is brought by the United States on behalf of Mid-Peninsula Citizens for
Fair Housing (MCFH), pursuant to subjection 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of
Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (Fair
Housing Act), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619.
- The Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. §
- Lytton Courtyard ("subject property") is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development Section 202 project for very low income seniors located at 330 Everett Avenue in
Palo Alto, California. Subject property is an apartment building containing 51 apartments on
three floors. The building contains an elevator. Subject property was designed and constructed
for occupancy after March 13, 1991.
- Complainant MCFH is a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the State
of California, with its principal place of business in the City of Palo Alto, County of Santa Clara,
State of California. MCFH's specific purposes and goals include: (a) the promotion of equal
opportunity in the renting, purchasing, financing and advertising of housing; and (b) the
elimination of all forms of illegal housing discrimination. To that end, the activities in which
MCFH engages include, but are not limited to:
- providing outreach and education to the San Francisco Bay Area Mid-Peninsula community including housing providers and local governments regarding fair housing;
- acting as a local and regional advocate of equal housing opportunities;
- assisting and aiding individuals through counseling, referrals and other such
services to obtain equal access to housing without regard to race, color, religion, national origin,
familial status and disability;
- conducting tests of housing facilities to determine whether equal opportunity in
housing is provided, and otherwise actively monitoring and investigating discriminatory housing
- investigating allegations of discrimination; and
- taking such steps as it views necessary to assure equal opportunity in housing
and to counteract and eliminate discriminatory housing practices.
MCFH is an aggrieved person, as defined in the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(d) and (i).
- Defendant Lytton IV Housing Corporation is a private non-profit 503(c)(3)
corporation with its principal place of business in the City of Palo Alto, County of Santa Clara,
State of California. Defendant Lytton IV Housing Corporation is the owner of the subject
property and is responsible for the design, development and construction of the dwellings at the
- Defendant E.M. Schaffran and Company is a corporation with its principal place in El
Cerrito, California. Defendant E.M. Schaffran and Company is responsible for the design,
development and construction of the dwellings at the subject property.
- Defendant Carrasco and Associates is a professional corporation with its principal
place of business in Palo Alto, California. Defendant Carrasco and Associates is an architectural
firm responsible for the design of the dwellings at the subject property.
- Defendant Topflight Specs is a corporation with its principal place of business in San
Francisco, California. Defendant Topflight Specs is responsible for the design, development and
construction of the dwellings at the subject property.
- On or about July 11, 1995, the United States Department of Housing and Urban
Development ("HUD") received a housing discrimination complaint from MCFH pursuant to
Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging that
defendants unlawfully discriminated against individuals with disabilities.
- Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of
HUD ("Secretary") conducted an investigation of the complaint, attempted conciliation without
success and prepared a final investigative report. Based on the information gathered in this
investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable
cause exists to believe that one of the discriminatory housing practices alleged in the complaint
occurred. Therefore, on September 8, 2000, the Secretary issued a Determination of Reasonable
Cause and Charge of Discrimination in this case, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A),
charging that the defendants engaged in discriminatory housing practices in violation of Section
804 of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3604.
- On September 20, 2000, complainant elected to have the case resolved in a federal civil
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
- The Secretary, through HUD's Regional Counsel, authorized the Attorney General to file
this action on behalf of MCFH pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
- The apartments at the subject property are dwellings within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §
- The apartments at the subject property are covered multifamily dwellings within the
meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(7)(k) and are subject to the accessibility requirements of 42
U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).
- Defendants have violated 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C) by failing to design and construct
these dwellings in such a manner that: (a) the public and common use portions of such dwellings
are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; (b) all doors are sufficiently
wide to allow passage by handicapped persons in wheelchairs; (c) all premises within such
dwellings contain: (i) an accessible route into and through the dwelling; (ii) light switches,
electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental controls in accessible locations; (iii)
reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installations of grab bars; and (iv) useable
kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.
- Defendants, through their actions referred to in paragraph 15 above, 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); 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).
- As a result of defendants' conduct, complainant has suffered damages.
- Defendants' discriminatory actions were intentional, willful and taken in disregard for the
rights of complainant and persons with disabilities.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an ORDER that:
- Declares that the discriminatory housing practices of defendants as set forth above
violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619;
- Enjoins defendants, their agents, employees, successors, and all other persons in
active concert or participation with any of them, from:
- Failing or refusing, to the extent possible to bring the dwelling units and public use
and common use areas at the subject property into compliance with 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C);
- Designing or constructing any covered multi-family dwellings in the future that do not
contain accessibility and adaptability features set forth in 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C);
- Awards such damages as would fully compensate complainant for its injuries
resulting from the defendants' discriminatory conduct pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3),
- Awards punitive damages to complainant because of the intentional and willful nature
of defendants' discriminatory conduct pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3), 3613(c)(1).
- The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may
ROBERT S. MUELLER, III
United States Attorney
Assistant United States Attorney