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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
URBANA DIVISION

____________________________________

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

          Plaintiff,

VANESSA SHEPARD and SOUTH
SUBURBAN HOUSING CENTER,

           Plaintiff - Intervenors,

v.

No. 04-2250

W. RUSSELL SMITH and BONNIE SMITH,

          Defendants.

____________________________________

CONSENT ORDER

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. The United States initiated this action against the Defendants, W. Russell Smith and Bonnie Smith, on November 15, 2004, on behalf of Le'Jon Shepard, Vanessa Shepard and the South Suburban Housing Center ("SSHC"), pursuant to § 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. The Complaint alleges that Defendants discriminated against Vanessa Shepard and Le'Jon Shepard by refusing to rent an apartment to them on account of their race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a) and representing to the Shepards, because of their race or color, that an apartment was not available for rental when that dwelling was available in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(d). The Complaint further alleges that Defendants discriminated against SSHC by refusing to rent a dwelling to African American testers because of their race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a) and representing to African American testers, because of their race or color, that a dwelling was not available for rental when that dwelling was available in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(d). In addition, the United States alleges that the Defendants discriminated against SSHC by excluding families with children from the apartment units, making statements that they did not rent to families with children, and making statements that they did not rent to families with teenagers in violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a), (b), and (c).

    On January 19, 2005, Vanessa Shepard and SSHC (collectively "Plaintiff-Intervenors"), through counsel, filed a Motion to Intervene As of Right pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o)(2) in the action brought by the United States against the Defendants. The Plaintiff-Intervenors allege that the Defendants discriminated against them on the basis of race, color, or familial status in violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a), (b), and (c) and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1982. The Court granted Plaintiff-Intervenors' Motion to Intervene on March 7, 2005.

    The Court has subject matter jurisdiction over the claims in the civil action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345, and 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o).

    The United States, Plaintiff-Intervenors, and Defendants desire to avoid costly and protracted litigation and agree that the claims against Defendants should be settled without further litigation or an evidentiary hearing. Therefore, the parties have agreed to the entry of this Consent Order.

    THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED:

  3. INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
    1. Defendants W. Russell Smith and Bonnie Smith, their employees, partners, agents, successors and assigns, and all those acting in concert or participation with them in the ownership, operation, or management of housing, are hereby enjoined from:
      1. Refusing to rent, or otherwise making unavailable, any dwelling to any person because of the race, color, or familial status of such person or his or her guest(s), family, or friend(s), in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);

      2. Discriminating in the terms, conditions, or privileges of rental of any dwelling, because of the familial status of any renter or any applicant for rent, or the guest(s), family, or friend(s) of any such renter or applicant, in violation of 42 U.S.C.§ 3604(b);

      3. Making, printing or publishing any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of the familial status of any renter or any applicant for rent, or the guest(s), family, or friend(s) of any such renter or applicant, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c); and
      4. Representing to any person because of race or color that any dwelling is not available for inspection, sale, or rental when such dwelling is in fact so available, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(d).
  1. MONETARY RELIEF
    1. Within ten (10) days of the entry of this Consent Decree, Defendants shall send the following payments below to counsel for the United States and Plaintiff-Intervenors as indicated below. These payments shall be made by certified check or by trust account check payable to each aggrieved person. Upon receiving the checks, the United States and counsel for Plaintiff-Intervenors shall deliver to Defendants a written release (substantially in the form of Attachment A) executed by the respective aggrieved party. The requirement to execute and deliver a release arises only if the checks are tendered.

      Le'Jon Shepard (1) $ 13,000

      Vanessa Shepard (2) $ 17,000

      South Suburban Housing Center (3) $ 10,000

      Attorneys' Fees (4) $ 25,000

  2. NOTICE

    3. Defendants have represented that they currently do not own, manage, or otherwise operate any residential rental property and have no plans to reenter the business. If within three (3) years of the date of entry of this Consent Decree, either Defendant purchases, assumes an ownership interest in, or manages a dwelling that is covered by the proscriptions of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604, et seq., Defendants shall notify the United States and Plaintiff-Intervenors in writing within thirty (30) days of such event. (5) Defendants shall state the name of the dwelling that he or she has purchased, assumed an ownership interest in, or manages; the location of the dwelling; and the nature of Defendant's relationship with the dwelling.

  3. DURATION OF CONSENT DECREE
  4. 4. This Court shall retain jurisdiction for three years after the date of entry of this Order to enforce the terms of the Order, after which time the case shall be dismissed with prejudice. However, if during that time, either Defendant purchases, assumes an ownership interest in, or manages a dwelling that is covered by the proscriptions of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604, et seq., the United States or Plaintiff-Intervenors may move this Court to impose additional remedial provisions, including, but not limited to, an order imposing additional injunctive relief or mandating the extension of this Order.

    5. By consenting to the entry of this Order, the parties agree that in the event it is determined in any future action or proceeding brought by the United States or any agency thereof that any Defendant engaged in any violation(s) of the Fair Housing Act, such violation(s) shall constitute a "subsequent violation" by the Defendant pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C)(ii).

    6. The parties shall endeavor in good faith to resolve informally any differences regarding the interpretation of and compliance with this Order 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 Order or otherwise to act in violation of 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 attorney's fees which may have been occasioned by the Defendants' violation or failure to perform.

  5. TIME FOR PERFORMANCE
  6. 7. Any time limits for performance imposed by this Consent Order may be extended by mutual agreement of the parties.



    So ORDERED this ______ day of _____________, 2005

    ____________________________
    United States Magistrate Judge



    The Undersigned hereby apply for and consent to the entry of this Order:



    FOR PLAINTIFF UNITED STATES:

    /s Julie J. Allen

    STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
    Chief
    NICOLE PORTER
    Deputy Chief
    JULIE J. ALLEN
    Attorney
    Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
    Civil Rights Division
    U.S. Department of Justice
    950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. - G Street
    Washington, D.C. 20530
    Phone: (202) 307-6275
    Fax: (202) 514-1116

    FOR PLAINTIFF-INTERVENORS, VANESSA SHEPARD AND SOUTH SUBURBAN HOUSING CENTER:

    /s Jeffrey L. Taren

    JEFFREY L. TAREN
    Kinoy, Taren & Geraghty P.C.
    224 S. Michigan Ave.
    Suite 300
    Chicago, IL 60604
    Phone: (312) 663-5210
    Fax: (312) 663-6663

    FOR DEFENDANTS, W. RUSSELL SMITH AND BONNIE SMITH:

    /s Tony L. Brasel

    TONY L. BRASEL
    201 Park Place
    Suite 12
    Bourbonnais, IL 60914
    Phone: (815) 937-9939
    Fax: (815) 937-9965



    Dated: August 29, 2005




    ATTACHMENT A

    Release of Claims

    In consideration of the parties' agreement to the terms of the Consent Order entered in United States, et al. v. Smith, et al., Case No. 04-2250 (C.D. Ill.), and Defendants' payment of the sum of ____________ dollars ($_________), I, ____________________, hereby release the Defendants named in this action, W. Russell Smith and Bonnie Smith, from any and all liability for any claims, legal or equitable, that the Plaintiff/Plaintiff-Intervenors, may have against them arising out of the issues alleged in the action. I fully acknowledge and agree that this release of Defendants shall be binding on all heirs, representatives, executors, successors, administrators, and assigns, including SJD Rentals, Sid Downs, Ruth Johnson, David Johnson, and the Executor of the Estate of Edgar J. Johnson. I hereby acknowledge that I have read and understand this release and have executed it voluntarily and with full knowledge of its legal consequences.

    _____________________________



    Name: ________________________

    Address: ________________________

    ________________________

    ________________________

    Date: ________________________


    1. For purposes of this Consent Order, the check payable to Le'Jon Shepard shall be sent to Julie J. Allen, Counsel for the United States via FedEx at 1800 G Street, NW, Suite 7002, Washington, DC 20006.

    2. The agreement regarding monetary compensation for Vanessa Shepard was negotiated by, and is only applicable to, Plaintiff-Intervenor Vanessa Shepard and Defendants. For purposes of this Consent Order, the check payable to Vanessa Shepard shall be sent to Jeffrey L. Taren, Counsel for Plaintiff-Intervenors via FedEx at Kinoy, Taren & Geraghty P.C., 224 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60604.

    3. The agreement regarding monetary compensation for South Suburban Housing Center was negotiated by, and is only applicable to, Plaintiff-Intervenor South Suburban Housing Center and Defendants. For purposes of this Consent Order, the check payable to South Suburban Housing Center shall be sent to Jeffrey L. Taren, Counsel for Plaintiff-Intervenors via FedEx at Kinoy, Taren & Geraghty P.C., 224 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60604.

    4. The agreement regarding attorneys' fees for Plaintiff-Intervenors was negotiated by, and is only applicable to, Plaintiff-Intervenors and Defendants. For purposes of this Consent Order, the check payable to Kinoy, Taren and Geraghty, P.C. for attorneys' fees shall be sent to Jeffrey L. Taren, Counsel for Plaintiff-Intervenors via FedEx at Kinoy, Taren & Geraghty P.C., 224 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60604.

    5. For purposes of this Consent Order, submissions to counsel for the United States should be to the Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. - G Street, Washington, D.C. 20530, Attn: DJ# 175-24-80, or as otherwise agreed by counsel.


    Document Filed: August 30, 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

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