UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
MAX R. JOYNER, SR.;
A/K/A MAX R. JOYNER;
MAX R. JOYNER, JR.;
FARRIOR & SONS, INC.;
TOZER BUILDERS, INC.;
STEVE JANOWSKI D/B/A
J.S. JANOWSKI & ASSOCIATES;
MICHAEL W. BALDWIN &
EDWIN CLARK; TIMOTHY CLARK;
JULIAN VAINRIGHT, JR.; and
HENRYK KOWALSKI and
ELIZABETH FIGUEROA A/K/A
ELIZABETH KOWALSKI D/B/A
The United States of America alleges:
1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§3601-3619.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. §§1331 and 1345 and 42 U.S.C. §3614(a). The Court may grant declaratory and other relief pursuant to the Fair Housing Act and 28 U.S.C. §§2201 and 2202. 3. Venue is proper in this District because the claims alleged in this action arose in the Eastern District of North Carolina and the property at issue, Meridian Park Apartments a/k/a Meridian Park Condominiums ("Meridian Park"), is sited in this District. In addition, Defendants Max R. Joyner, Sr. and Max R. Joyner, Jr. are residents of Greenville, North Carolina. Defendant JHJ Partnership is a North Carolina partnership with its principal place of business in this District. Defendants Farrior & Sons, Inc., Tozer Builders, Inc., and Michael W. Baldwin & Associates, P.A., are North Carolina corporations with their principal places of business in this District. Defendant Steve Janowski d/b/a J.S. Janowski & Associates is a resident and/or works in this District and performed work concerning Meridian Park in this District. Upon information and belief, Defendants Edwin Clark, Timothy Clark, Julian Vainright, Jr., and Henryk Kowalski and Elizabeth Figueroa a/k/a Elizabeth Kowalski d/b/a LMH Associates reside, work, and/or have their principle places of business in this District.
4. Defendants Max R. Joyner, Sr. a/k/a Max R. Joyner and Max R. Joyner, Jr. are the developers and owners of Meridian Park, which is an apartment complex located in Greenville, North Carolina, and were involved in the design and/or construction of Meridian Park. 5. Defendant JHJ Partnership, during periods of time relevant to this case, was an entity in North Carolina that developed and owned Meridian Park and was involved in the design and construction of Meridian Park. 6. Defendant Farrior & Sons, Inc., is a construction firm that was involved in the design and construction of Meridian Park. 7. Defendant Tozer Builders, Inc., is a construction firm that was involved in the design and construction of Meridian Park. 8. Defendant Steve Janowski d/b/a J.S. Janowski & Associates is an engineer that was involved in the design and construction of Meridian Park. 9. Defendant Michael W. Baldwin & Associates, P.A., is an engineering and land surveying firm that was involved in the design and construction of Meridian Park. 10. Defendants Edwin Clark, Timothy Clark, Julian Vainright, Jr., and Henryk Kowalski and Elizabeth Figueroa a/k/a Elizabeth Kowalski d/b/a LMH Associates were the developers and/or owners of Meridian Park and were involved in the design and construction of Meridian Park. 11. Meridian Park is a residential apartment complex located at 2707 Meridian Drive in Greenville, North Carolina, 27834 near the intersection of West Arlington Boulevard and South Memorial Drive in Greenville, North Carolina. Meridian Park consists of 26 apartment buildings each containing four or more units, 107 of which are located on the ground floor. All of the apartment units at Meridian Park are "dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §3602(b). 12. All of the units contained in Meridian Park were designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991. The 107 ground-floor units at Meridian Park are "covered multi-family dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §3604(f)(7)(B). 13. All 107 ground floor units and the common and public use areas at Meridian Park are subject to the accessibility requirements of 42 U.S.C. §3604(f)(3)(C). 14. Defendants have failed to design and construct the covered multi-family dwellings and common use and public use areas in Meridian Park in such a manner that:
- the public use and common use portions of such dwellings are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities;
- all the doors designed to allow passage into and within all premises within such dwellings are sufficiently wide to allow passage by individuals with disabilities who use wheelchairs; and
- all premises within such dwellings contain the following features of adaptive design:
- an accessible route into and through the dwelling;
- light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental controls in accessible locations;
- reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and
- usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.
15. Defendants, through the actions described in paragraph 15 above, have:
- Discriminated in the rental of, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, dwellings to persons because of handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(f)(1);
- 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 the rental of a dwelling, because of handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(f)(2); and
- Failed to design and construct dwellings in compliance with the requirements mandated by 42 U.S.C. §3604(f)(3)(C).
16. 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. §§3601-3619; and/or
- 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.
17. Upon information and belief, there are persons who have been the victims of defendants' discriminatory housing practices and who are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. §3602(i) and may have suffered injuries and damages as a result of defendants' conduct described above.
18. Defendants' conduct described above was intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of others.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, the United States of America prays that the Court enter an ORDER that:
1. Declares that defendants' policies and practices, as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act;
2. Enjoins defendants, their officers, employees, agents, successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3614(d)(1)(A), from:
- Failing or refusing to bring the covered multi-family dwellings and public and common use areas at Meridian Park into compliance with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§3604(f)(1), (f)(2), and (f)(3)(C);
- 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
- Failing or refusing to design and construct any covered multi-family dwellings in the future in compliance with the requirements set forth in 42 U.S.C. §§3604(f)(1), (f)(2), and (f)(3)(C);
3. Awards appropriate monetary damages, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3614(d)(1)(B), to fully compensate each person aggrieved by defendants' discriminatory housing practices for their injuries and damages resulting from defendants' discriminatory conduct; and
4. Assesses civil penalties against each of the defendants in the maximum amount authorized by 42 U.S.C. §3614(d)(1)(C), in order to vindicate the public interest and deter future violations of the Fair Housing Act.
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
Alberto R. Gonzales
FRANK D. WHITNEY
Document Filed: Sepetmber 30, 2005 > >