IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
WILLIAM E. BREWER AND
LENA P. BREWER,
COMPLAINT AND REQUEST FOR JURY TRIAL
The United States of America alleges:
1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce the provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq. (the Fair Housing Act).
2. This court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 28 U.S.C. § 1345, and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
3. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because the actions giving rise to the United States' allegations occurred in the Eastern District of Tennessee, the subject properties are located in the Eastern District of Tennessee, and both Defendants reside in and do business in the Eastern District of Tennessee.
4. Defendant William E. Brewer is a resident of Knoxville, Tennessee. At all times relevant to this action, Defendant William E. Brewer has been the co-owner and operator of numerous single family rental homes in Knoxville, including, but not limited to, houses located at 230 East Caldwell Avenue, 231 East Caldwell Avenue, 315 Atlantic Avenue, 315 ½ Atlantic Avenue, 316 Atlantic Avenue, 319 Atlantic Avenue, and 3905 Fairmont Boulevard ("the subject properties").
5. Defendant Lena P. Brewer is a resident of Knoxville, Tennessee. At all times relevant to this action, Defendant Lena P. Brewer has been the co-owner and operator of the subject properties.
6. The subject properties owned and operated by Defendants William and Lena Brewer are dwellings within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
7. Defendants have violated the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq., by discriminating against persons on the basis of sex in connection with the rental of the subject properties.
8. From at least 1994 through the present, Defendant William E. Brewer has subjected female tenants of the subject properties to discrimination on the basis of sex, including severe, pervasive, and unwelcome sexual harassment. Such conduct has included, but is not limited to, unwanted verbal sexual advances; unwanted sexual touching; entering the dwellings of female tenants without permission or notice; and threatening and taking steps to evict female tenants when they refused or objected to his sexual advances.
9. Defendant Lena P. Brewer is liable for the discriminatory conduct of her co-owner and operator, William E. Brewer, described above. In addition, Defendant Lena P. Brewer knew or should have known of the discriminatory conduct of William E. Brewer, yet failed to take reasonable preventive or corrective measures.
10. The conduct of Defendants described above constitutes:
- A denial of housing or making housing unavailable because of sex, in violation of Section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
- Discrimination in the terms, conditions, or privileges of the rental of dwellings, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of sex, in violation of Section 804(b) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b);
- The making of statements with respect to the rental of dwellings that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on sex, in violation of Section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c); and
- Coercion, intimidation, threats, or interference with persons in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of their having exercised or enjoyed, their rights under Section 804 of the Fair Housing Act, in violation of Section 818 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3617.
11. The conduct of Defendants described above constitutes:
- A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.; or
- A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq., which denial raises an issue of general public importance.
12. Female tenants, prospective tenants, and persons associated with them have been injured by Defendants' discriminatory conduct. These persons are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and may have suffered damages as a result of Defendants' conduct.
13. Defendants' conduct 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 Defendants' discriminatory practices violate the Fair Housing Act;
2. Enjoins Defendants, their agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them, from:
- Discriminating on account of sex against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling;
- Interfering with or threatening to take any action against any person in the exercise or enjoyment of rights granted or protected by the Fair Housing Act; and
- Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, the victims of Defendants' past unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct;
3. Awards appropriate monetary damages to fully compensate each person aggrieved by Defendants' discriminatory housing practices for injuries caused by the Defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B); and
4. Assesses a civil penalty against Defendants to vindicate the public interest, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C).
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
| ALBERTO R. GONZALEZ
| JAMES R. DEDRICK
Acting United States Attorney
WAN J. KIM
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief, Housing and Civil
Civil Rights Division
MICHAEL S. MAURER
District of Columbia Bar No. 420908
ANTHONY F. ARCHEVAL
District of Columbia Bar No. 468436
Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Northwestern Building, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20530
Tel: (202) 305-4066
Fax: (202) 514-1116
Document Filed: December 20, 2005 > >