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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF IDAHO


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST ELECTRIC
INC., WALTER T. SIGMONT,
RUTH A. SIGMONT, EDMONDS
CONSTRUCTION CO., INC.,
WIRT EDMONDS, FRANCIS D.
EDMONDS, PNE CONSTRUCTION,
CAPSTONE INC., and
TEAL-WHITWORTH ARCHITECTS,
P.A.,
     Defendants.

___________________________________


COMPLAINT

The United States of America alleges:

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

Jurisdiction and Venue

  1. This court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 28 U.S.C. § 3614(a).

  2. Venue is proper in that the claims alleged herein arose in the District of Idaho.

Subject Properties

  1. Jade Village No. 2, Grayling Place, Imperial Court, Lawton Apartments, and Eagleson Park (hereinafter collectively referred to as "the subject properties") are apartment complexes located in Boise, Idaho, in the District of Idaho.

  2. Jade Village No. 2 is located at 6715, 6719, 6723, 6727, 6733, 6761, 6775, 6787, 6799, and 6841 West Overland Road, Boise. It consists of six buildings containing a total of 40 apartments. Twenty of the apartments are located on the ground floor.

  3. Imperial Court is located at 4824, 4850, 4876, 4900, 4908, and 4920 West Blodgett Road, Boise. It consists of six buildings containing a total of 24 apartments. Twelve of the apartments are located on the ground floor.

  4. Lawton Apartments is located at 3430, 3436, 3452, 3474, and 3498 North Street, Boise. It consists of five buildings containing a total of 20 apartments. Ten of the apartments are located on the ground floor.

  5. Eagleson Park is located at 1706, 1710, 1714, 1716, 1718, and 1720 South Eagleson Road, Boise. It consists of six buildings containing a total of 23 apartments. Ten of the apartments are located on the ground floor.

  6. Grayling Place is located at 545, 550, 567, and 584 South Dalton Ave., 9058, 9072, 9086, 9100, and 9114 West Sigmont Lane, 540, 553, 565 and 578 South Workland Lane, Boise. It consists of 13 buildings containing a total of 52 apartments. Twenty-six of the apartments are located on the ground floor.

  7. The subject properties were designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991. Each apartment at the subject properties is a dwelling within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

  8. Each of the 72 ground-floor apartments at the subject properties is a "covered multifamily dwelling" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(7)(A) and is subject to the design and construction requirements at 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

Defendants

  1. Defendants Pacific Northwest Electric, Inc., Walter T. Sigmont, Ruth A. Sigmont, and PNE Construction reside in and/or have their principle place of business in Boise, in the District of Idaho. They owned the subject properties during their construction and were responsible for their design and construction.

  2. Defendants Edmonds Construction Co., Inc., Wirt Edmonds and Francis D. Edmonds reside in and/or have their principle place of business in Boise, in the District of Idaho. They owned Jade Village No. 2, Grayling Place and Lawton Apartments during their construction and were responsible for their design and construction.

  3. Defendant Capstone Inc. is an architectural firm with its principle place of business in Payette in the District of Idaho. Defendant Capstone Inc. designed Jade Village No. 2.

  4. Defendant Teal-Whitworth Architects, P.A., is an architectural firm with its principle place of business in Boise in the District of Idaho. Defendant Teal-Whitworth Architects, P.A. designed Lawton Apartments.

Fair Housing Act Pattern or Practice Claim

  1. The defendants have failed to design and construct the subject properties so that:

    1. the public use and common use portions are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities;

    2. all doors within the 72 ground floor units are sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons with disabilities who use wheelchairs; and

    3. the 72 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 kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual using a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.

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

    1. 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);

    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 features mandated by 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

  3. The conduct of the defendants 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

    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.

  4. Persons who may have been the victims of the defendants' discriminatory housing practices are aggrieved persons as defined by 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i) and may have suffered injuries as a result of the defendants' conduct described above.

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

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

  1. Declares that the defendants' policies and practices, 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 72 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), including providing reasonable compensation to the owners and tenants of the subject properties for inconvenience caused by and other expenses related to such retrofitting;

    2. 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; and

    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 such damages as would fully compensate each person aggrieved by the defendants' discriminatory housing practices for his or her injuries resulting from the defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B);

  4. Awards punitive damages to each person aggrieved by the defendants' discriminatory housing practices because of the intentional and willful nature of the defendants' conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B); and

  5. 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.

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


JANET RENO
Attorney General

BETTY A. RICHARDSON
United States Attorney

BILL LANN LEE
Assistant Attorney General

JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section

Timothy J. Moran
Deputy Chief
Kathleen M. Pennington
Trial Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
(202) 353-9759
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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