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

HCE Cases black banner


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEVADA


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

Civil Action No.

RAINTREE ASSOCIATES LTD.
PARTNERSHIP;
FALCON CONSTRUCTION SERVICES;
J. LAMONT LANGWORTHY;
FALCON ENGINEERING SERVICES; and
RAINTREE VILLAGE HOMEOWNERS
ASSOCIATION, INC.
     Defendants.)

_______________________________________


CONSENT DECREE

Plaintiff United States and defendants Raintree Associates, Ltd. Partnership; Falcon Construction Services; J. Lamont Langworthy; Falcon Engineering Services; and Raintree Village Homeowners Association, Inc. (defendants) agree to the terms of this Consent Decree resolving the Complaint filed by the United States.

Introduction

The United States files this Consent Decree simultaneously with its Complaint alleging violations of Section 804(f)(1)-(3) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1)-(3), as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619 (the Act). Specifically, the United States' Complaint alleges that defendants, with the exception of Raintree Village Homeowners Association, (1) have engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by failing to design and construct Raintree Condominiums, located in Las Vegas, Nevada with the features of accessible and adaptable design set forth in 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

Raintree Associates Ltd. Partnership developed Raintree Village. Falcon Construction Services, Inc. built Raintree Village. J. Lamont Langworthy designed Raintree Village. Falcon Engineering Services provided the civil engineering services for and designed Raintree Village. Raintree Village Homeowners Association, Inc. represents the homeowners at Raintree Village. Raintree Village is located at 7570 W. Flamingo Road in Las Vegas, Nevada. It consists of sixteen (16) buildings containing a total of 124 units, including 62 ground-floor units.

The Act provides that all ground-floor units, in non-elevator buildings (with four or more units) designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, are "covered units" and must include certain basic features of accessible and adaptable design to make such units usable by a person who is or who becomes disabled. 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(f)(3)(C) and (f)(7)(B). The features of accessible and adaptable design required by the Act include: (a) public and common use areas that are readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities; (b) doors for passage into and within all premises that are sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons using wheelchairs; (c) an accessible route into and through the dwelling; (d) light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and environmental controls in accessible locations; (e) reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and (f) usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space. 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

Forty-six of the sixty-two ground-floor units at Raintree Village are "covered multifamily dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(7)(A). These units and the public and common use areas of Raintree Village are subject to the design and construction requirements at 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

Defendants dispute and do not admit to the United States' allegations. The parties, however, agree that the claims against defendants should be resolved without further proceedings or an evidentiary hearing. Therefore, as indicated by the signatures appearing below, the parties agree to the entry of this Consent Decree.

It is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED:

  1. GENERAL INJUNCTION

Defendants, their current officers, employees, agents, successors and assigns acting on behalf of the above-named defendants, and all other persons currently in active concert or participation with defendants are permanently enjoined from:

  1. Discriminating on the basis of disability, as prohibited by the Act 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1), (2), and (3)(C) and as set forth in the Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines, 56 Fed. Reg. 9472 (1991) (the Guidelines);

  2. Discriminating in the sale or rental, or otherwise making unavailable or denying a dwelling to a buyer or renter because of a handicap of that buyer, renter, or person residing in or intending to reside in that dwelling after it is sold or made available;

  3. Discriminating against a person in the terms, conditions or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of facilities in connection with such a dwelling, because of a handicap of that person, a person residing in or intending to reside in the dwelling after it is sold, or any person associated with that person; and

  4. Taking any other action that violates the Act.

  1. CORRECTIVE ACTIONS

Defendants Raintree Associates, Ltd. Partnership; Falcon Construction Services; and Falcon Engineering Services have agreed to pay to Raintree Village Homeowners Association, Inc. (the Association) the sum of THREE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ($350,000) in order to settle the violations of the Act alleged by the United States. The Association shall deposit this amount, in a separate interest-bearing account (the FHAA Fund), and will provide the United States with the name of the depository institution and any information it requests periodically on the FHAA Fund. The FHAA Fund shall be solely administered by an entity designated by the United States (the Entity). The Entity may reimburse itself out of the FHAA Fund for reasonable administration expenses associated with administering the FHAA Fund and managing the retrofits, provided that such expenditures are approved by the United States and are not used to supplement the salaries or compensate employees or agents of the Entity. The total administrative costs shall not exceed 15% of all modifications performed at Raintree Village. If, after the end of four and one half (4 ½) years, a balance remains in the FHAA Fund, the remaining sum shall be paid, within thirty (30) days, to an organization in the Las Vegas metropolitan area whose purpose is to help meet the housing needs of persons with disabilities, such organization to be approved by the United States.

The Entity shall use TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ($280,000) of the FHAA Fund, plus all interest accrued from the FHAA Fund, to take the corrective actions described in this section and Appendices A and B with respect to the public and common use areas and the covered ground-floor dwellings in order to bring those areas and units into compliance with the requirements of the Act and HUD's Fair Housing Guidelines, 42 U.S.C. § 12183(a)(1) and 28 C.F.R. Part 36 (the Guidelines), as set forth below. The Association shall cooperate with the Entity to carry out the corrective actions specified using the moneys available, and the Association shall have no access or control over the FHAA Fund. The Association and the Entity's obligations to bring Raintree into compliance shall end once the FHAA Fund is exhausted.

  1. Public and Common Use Areas:

    1. Within 90 days from the date of entry of this Decree, the Entity shall commence modifying the public and common use areas of Raintree Village as specified in Appendix A. The Entity shall pay all expenses associated with those modifications using the proceeds from the FHAA Fund. The parties estimate that the total cost of the retrofits will be ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ($150,000).

    2. Should the Entity be unable to perform the retrofits as specified herein due to insufficient funds, the Entity shall notify the United States and the United States shall prioritize and determine which of the specified retrofits shall be performed by the Entity.

  2. Dwelling units:

    1. The remainder of the FHAA Fund, excluding payments according to Section II-A and Section IV of this Decree, shall be used to retrofit the units of those owners who request retrofits to their units pursuant to Paragraphs two through five below.

    2. Within ten (10) days of the entry of this Consent Decree, and annually for four (4) years thereafter, the Entity shall provide the written notice (the Notice) attached at Appendix C to all current Raintree Village homeowners (the Owners), stating that all of the modifications to their unit specified at Appendix B are available without cost to them (the Retrofits). The Entity shall send the Notice with a form (Form) that specifies those modifications that may be made to an Owner's unit so that the homeowner may clearly indicate the alterations he/she desires. The Form shall also direct the Owner to return the Form to the Entity. (Forms attached at Appendix D.)

    3. The Entity shall pay a ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($1000) inconvenience fee to each Owner that requests substantially all of the Retrofits listed at Appendix B. The Entity shall also pay the reasonable relocation costs, (2) if any, incurred by any Owner who must vacate the units while the unit is being retrofitted. The Entity shall provide said payment from the FHAA Fund to an Owner within 7 days of receipt of a request for Retrofits from the Entity. To the extent the Entity disputes the owner's request, the United States will resolve the dispute.

    4. The Entity shall use its best efforts to complete the Retrofits on a first-come, first-served basis within thirty (30) days of the request.

  1. NON-DISCRIMINATION IN FUTURE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION

For a period of four (4) years from the date of entry of this Consent Decree, defendants Raintree Associates Ltd. Partnership; Falcon Construction Services; J. Lamont Langworthy; and Falcon Engineering Services shall submit to the United States (3) information regarding any covered multifamily dwellings that they design and/or intend to build, including any additional dwellings to Raintree Village. The information shall be submitted before any applications are made for initial building permits. The following information shall be submitted: a) the name and address of the project; b) the names and addresses of all architects and site engineers; c) a description of the project and the individual units, including number and type of dwellings and amenities in the project; and d) a statement by an architect knowledgeable in the design and construction requirements of the Act, the ADA, (if applicable), and the relevant guidelines and regulations, describing his/her knowledge and training in accessible design, and which certifies that he/she has reviewed the architectural, mechanical, and civil engineering plans and that the plans include design specifications that fully comply with the requirements of the Act and the Guidelines.

  1. COMPENSATION FOR AGGRIEVED PERSONS

Within 30 days of the entry of this Decree, the Entity shall pay the total sum of SEVENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ($70,000) from the FHAA Fund, for the purpose of compensating the eight aggrieved families previously identified by the United States, pursuant to § 3614(d)(1)B). The Entity shall pay each aggrieved person by sending individual, certified checks to him or her, via certified mail, in an amount previously agreed upon by the parties, within thirty days (30) upon receipt of a release of claims from each victim, in favor of the parties to this Consent Decree, such release to be forwarded by the United States to the Entity.

  1. EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM

  1. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Decree, defendants Raintree Associates Ltd. Partnership; Falcon Construction Services; J. Lamont Langworthy; and Falcon Engineering Services shall provide a copy of this Decree to all their current agents and current employees involved in the design, construction, rental, or sale of covered multifamily dwellings and secure the signed statement, attached hereto as Appendix E, from each current agent or current employee acknowledging that he/she has received, read and understands the Decree.

  2. Within thirty (30) days after the date on which a new employee or agent commences employment or an agency relationship with defendants Raintree Associates Ltd. Partnership; Falcon Construction Services; J. Lamont Langworthy; and Falcon Engineering Services, each new employee or agent involved in the design, construction, rental, or sale of covered multifamily dwellings shall be given a copy of this Decree and be required to sign the statement, attached hereto as Appendix E, acknowledging that he/she has received, read and understands the Decree.

  1. PUBLIC NOTICE OF NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY

  1. During the term of this Decree, defendants Raintree Associates Ltd. Partnership; Falcon Construction Services; J. Lamont Langworthy; and Falcon Engineering Services shall post and prominently display the federal Fair Housing Poster as described by 24 C.F.R. 110.15 and 110.25 in the sales or rental offices of all dwellings owned or operated by them, if any, and in any other place in which persons may inquire about buying or renting dwellings from them.

  2. During the term of this Decree, defendants Raintree Associates Ltd. Partnership; Falcon Construction Services; and Falcon Engineering Services shall prominently include the phrase "Equal Housing Opportunity" or the fair housing logo as well as the phrase "Wheelchair Accessible" or the international symbol of accessibility in all newspapers and other written advertisements, if any, for dwellings rented or sold by defendants. If human models are used in any promotional literature, these defendants shall consider using models with disabilities in such promotional literature.

  3. If defendants Raintree Associates Ltd. Partnership; Falcon Construction Services; and Falcon Engineering Services build any new covered multi-family dwellings or units, these defendants will notify the following organizations that the units are available and accessible under the Act:

    1. Nevada Equal Rights Commission

    2. Nevada Legal Services

    3. Senior Law Project

    4. Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living

    5. Nevada Fair Housing Center, Inc.

  1. ADDITIONAL MONITORING REQUIREMENTS

  1. For the duration of this Decree, defendants Raintree Associates Ltd. Partnership; Falcon Construction Services; and Falcon Engineering Services shall advise counsel for the United States in writing within 15 days of receipt of any new and initial formal or informal complaint against them, their current employees or current agents, regarding equal opportunity in housing, including any complaints of discrimination under the Act. These defendants shall also promptly provide the United States all non-privileged information it may request concerning any such complaint.

  2. For the duration of this Decree, defendants are required to preserve all records related to this Decree regarding Raintree Village and all future covered multifamily dwellings to be designed, constructed, owned, operated or acquired by them. Upon reasonable notice to defendants, representatives of the United States shall be permitted to inspect and copy any of defendants' non-privileged records or inspect any covered dwelling or any covered public and common use areas under defendants' control at any and all reasonable times so as to determine compliance with the Consent Decree.

  3. Within 180 days after the entry of this Decree, and thereafter on the anniversary of entry of this Decree throughout the term of the Decree, the Entity shall submit a report that includes all documents respecting the modifications required in section II of this Decree, including:

    1. All modification selection forms submitted by unit owners;

    2. A listing of all modifications performed during the reporting period; and

    3. An account of any expenditures the Entity has made from the FHAA Fund.

    The initial report should also include certification that the specified public and common use area retrofits have been made.

  4. Within 180 days after the entry of this Decree, and thereafter on the anniversary of entry of this Decree throughout the term of the Decree, defendants Raintree Associates Ltd. Partnership; Falcon Construction Services; and Falcon Engineering Services shall submit a report that includes the following information:

    1. The signed statement of each current agent and current employee acknowledging that he/she received, read and understands the Decree; and

    2. All current advertising or promotional literature regarding these defendants' covered multifamily dwellings.

  1. DURATION OF DECREE AND TERMINATION OF LEGAL ACTION

  1. This Consent Decree shall remain in effect for four and one-half years after the date of its entry.

  2. By consenting to entry of this Decree, the United States and defendants agree that in the event that defendants engage in any future violation(s) of the Fair Housing Act in any construction or ownership beginning after entry of the Decree, such violation(s) shall constitute a "subsequent violation" pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C)(ii).

  3. The Complaint in this action is dismissed with prejudice. The Court, however, shall retain jurisdiction for the term of this Consent Decree to enforce the terms of the Decree. The United States may move the Court to extend the duration of the Decree in the interests of justice.

  4. The United States and defendants shall endeavor in good faith to resolve informally any differences regarding interpretation of and compliance with this Decree prior to bringing such matters to the Court for resolution. However, in the event of a failure by defendants to perform in a timely manner any act required by this Decree or otherwise to act in conformance with any provision thereof, the United States may move this Court to impose any remedy authorized by law or equity, including, but not limited to, an order requiring performance of such act or deeming such act to have been performed, and an award of any damages, costs, and reasonable attorneys' fees which may have been occasioned by the violation or failure to perform.

  1. TIME FOR PERFORMANCE

Any time limits for performance imposed by this Consent Decree may be extended by the mutual agreement of the United States and the relevant defendants.

  1. COSTS OF LITIGATION

Each party to this Consent Decree shall bear its own costs and attorney's fees associated with this litigation.

IT IS SO ORDERED:

This ______ day of _________________, 2001.

________________________________
United States District Judge

Agreed to by the parties as indicated by the signatures of counsel below.

FOR THE PLAINTIFF:

RALPH F. BOYD, JR.
Assistant Attorney General

DANIEL G. BOGDEN
United States Attorney

BLAINE T. WELSH
Assistant United States Attorney

JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief
TIMOTHY J. MORAN
Deputy Chief
SUNNY E. PIETRAFESA
WINIFRED KAO
Attorneys
United States Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section - G St.
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530
202-616-2217

FOR DEFENDANTS RAINTREE ASSOCIATED LTD. PARTNERSHIP; FALCON CONSTRUCTION SERVICES; and FALCON ENGINEERING SERVICES:

JAMES E. BETZ
c/o The Wolfenzon Law Group
4530 S. Eastern Avenue, Suite 9
Las Vegas, NV 89119
702-836-3138

FRED AHLSTROM
c/o The Wolfenzon Law Group
4530 S. Eastern Avenue, Suite 9
Las Vegas, NV 89119
702-836-3138

BRUNO WOLFENZON
The Wolfenzon Law Group
4530 S. Eastern Avenue, Suite 9
Las Vegas, NV 89119
702-836-3138

FOR DEFENDANT J. LAMONT LANGWORTHY:

HOWARD COLE
Lionel, Sawyer & Collins
1700 Bank of America Plaza
300 South Fourth Street
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101

FOR RAINTREE VILLAGE HOMEOWNER'S ASSOCIATION:

SCOTT CANEPA
Vannah, Costello, Canepa, Riedy, Rubino & Lattie
1850 E. Flamingo Road, Suite 236
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119


1. Raintree Village Homeowners Association is named as a defendant in this action as a necessary party for relief.

2. "Reasonable relocation costs" shall be the government per diem rate as listed in the Financial Management Policies and Procedures Bulletin, 41 C.F.R. Part 301-11.

3. All submissions to the United States or its counsel shall be made to: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section - G St., 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20530. Attn: DJ No. 175-46-99, or as otherwise directed by the United States.


Document Filed: February 27, 2002

Document Signed:

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