IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
ROYALWOOD COOPERATIVE APARTMENTS,
INC., SCHOSTAK BROTHERS & COMPANY, HON.
INC., and RICHARD A. CAIL,
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ALLEGES:
- This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o). Venue
is proper in this judicial district pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§
1391(b) and (c) and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), as the defendants
reside in this judicial district and the events or omissions
giving rise to the claim arose in this judicial district.
- This action is brought by the United States on behalf
of Joyce Grad ("Ms. Grad"), pursuant to § 812(o) of the Fair
Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o) ("the Act"). Ms.
Grad has a "handicap" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §
- Defendants Royalwood Cooperative Apartments, Inc. and
Schostak Brothers & Company, Inc. are Michigan corporations,
with headquarters located at 3174 Merrill Avenue, Apartment
105, Royal Oak, Michigan, and 25800 Northwestern Highway,
Suite 750, Southfield, Michigan, respectively.
- Defendant Richard A. Cail is the property manager of
Royalwood Cooperative Apartments, Inc., which is a residential
cooperative complex located at 3174 Merrill Avenue, Royal Oak,
Michigan. Upon information and belief, Richard Cail is
responsible for the day to day operations of the cooperative
- The cooperative unit occupied by Ms. Grad constitutes
a "dwelling" within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, 42
U.S.C. § 3602(b).
- On or about November 8, 2001, Ms. Grad filed a
timely, verified housing discrimination complaint with the
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
("HUD"), pursuant to § 810 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C.
§ 3610. The administrative complaint alleges, inter alia,
that Ms. Grad suffered from a "severe and debilitating
depressive disorder." The complaint further alleges, inter
alia, that defendants refused to make a reasonable
accommodation to allow Ms. Grad to keep a small dog as an
assistance animal at her residence, despite her written
request with supporting medical documentation specifying her
disability and the need for a small assistance animal to
assist her with daily living.
- Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a)
and (b), the Secretary of HUD ("the 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 the discriminatory housing
practices alleged by Ms. Grad occurred.
- On or about June 26, 2003, the Secretary issued a
Determination of Reasonable Cause and Charge of
Discrimination, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A),
charging the defendants with engaging in discriminatory
housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
- On July 9, 2003, defendants elected to have the
charge resolved in a federal civil action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 3612(a).
- Following this election, the Secretary, through
HUD's General Counsel, authorized the Attorney General to file
this action on behalf of Joyce Grad, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
- HUD's investigation revealed that Joyce Grad entered
into an Occupancy Agreement with Royalwood Cooperative
Apartments, Inc. on May 30, 2000. By letter dated November
10, 2000, Ms. Grad advised defendants of her disability and
her need for a reasonable accommodation in the cooperative's
rules to permit her to acquire an assistance animal to assist
her with daily living. Even though Ms. Grad provided medical
documentation from her treating psychologist and her treating
psychiatrist for her request for a reasonable accommodation,
the defendants responded with a written refusal to grant the
accommodation, citing a Pet Agreement Ms. Grad signed as a
condition of occupying her apartment unit, which prohibited
dogs and cats. As a result of defendants' refusal to grant
her request for a reasonable accommodation, Ms. Grad vacated
her unit on or about January 22, 2001. HUD concluded in its
Determination of Reasonable Cause that Ms. Grad had
"established that an emotional support animal or companion
animal was necessary for her to use and enjoy her residence at
Royalwood Cooperative Apartments."
- Defendants, through the actions described above,
have violated 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f) by making a dwelling
unavailable because of handicap and/or by discriminating in
the terms, conditions or privileges of the sale or rental of a
dwelling because of handicap, through their refusal to make a
reasonable accommodation in their rules, policies, practices
or services, when such an accommodation was necessary to
afford Ms. Grad equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.
- Joyce Grad is an aggrieved person, as defined in 42
U.S.C. § 3602(i), and has suffered damages as a result of
defendants' conduct as described above.
- Defendants' discriminatory actions were intentional,
willful and taken in disregard of Ms. Grad's rights.
WHEREFORE, the United States of America prays that this
Court enter an ORDER that:
- Declares that defendants' discriminatory housing
practices, 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 violating the Fair Housing
a) discriminating on the basis of disability against
any person in any aspect of the occupancy, sale or rental
of a dwelling; and
b) failing to make reasonable accommodations for
persons with disabilities as required by the federal Fair
- Awards such damages as will fully compensate Ms. Grad
for injuries caused by defendants' discriminatory conduct,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o)(3).
The United States further prays for such additional
relief as the interests of justice may require.
JEFFREY G. COLLINS
United States Attorney
JUDITH E. LEVY (P55882)
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Eastern District of Michigan
211 West Fort Street, Suite
Detroit, Michigan 48226
Dated: August 8, 2003