UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEVADA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
INLAND EMPIRE BUILDERS, INC.;
THE HEERS FAMILY TRUST;
CHARLES M. HEERS;
MARILYN C. HEERS; ERIC MILLER;
ECHO BAY CONDOMINIUM OWNERS
GEORGE F. TIBSHERANY,
CONSENT ORDER BETWEEN PLAINTIFF UNITED STATES AND DEFENDANT GEORGE F. TIBSHERANY
- This Consent Order is entered into between Plaintiff United States and Defendant George F. Tibsherany (doing business as George F. Tibsherany, Inc.) with respect only to Aviata Apartments (2121 East Warm Springs Road) and Vintage Apartments (8321 West Sahara) in Las Vegas, Nevada. The remaining Defendants are not parties to this Order.
- On January 15, 1999, the Court ordered the filing of the United States' First Amended Complaint alleging, in part, that Defendant Tibsherany engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of disability by: (1) failing to design and construct part of Aviata Apartments with the features of accessible and adaptable design set forth in the Fair Housing Act ("FHA"), 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C), and Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines ("FHAG"), 56 Fed. Reg. 9472; and (2) thereby making housing unavailable to persons with disabilities at part of Aviata Apartments in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1). Defendant Tibsherany represents that he only provided architectural design services for Phase 1 of Aviata Apartments, consisting of 376 total units. Subsequent discovery has revealed that Defendant Tibsherany also designed Vintage Apartments (for Defendants Inland Empire Builders, Inc., The Heers Family Trust, Charles M. Heers and Marilyn C. Heers), which the United States alleges does not comply with all the features of accessible and adaptable design set forth in the FHA and FHAG.
- Aviata Apartments and Vintage Apartments were designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991. The ground-floor units at Aviata Apartments and Vintage Apartments are "covered multifamily dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(7)(B), and thus subject to the accessibility requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).
- The Fair Housing Act requires that "covered multifamily dwellings" include certain basic accessibility and adaptability design features intended to make housing usable or adaptable by a person who is, or who becomes, disabled. Specifically, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C) mandates that: (a) the public use and common use portions of such dwellings are readily accessible to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities; and (b) all covered dwelling units contain (i) doors sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons in wheelchairs; (ii) an accessible route into and through the dwelling; (iii) light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental controls in accessible locations; (iv) reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and (v) usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.
- Defendant Tibsherany does not admit that he failed to design and construct Aviata Apartments Phase 1 and Vintage Apartments in compliance with the requirements of the FHA and FHAG. Neither Defendant Tibsherany's agreement to the terms of this Consent Order nor any other action taken by Defendant Tibsherany in connection with this Consent Order constitutes any admission by Defendant Tibsherany of any violation of law, duty or obligation.
- The United States and Defendant Tibsherany agree that this Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(b). The United States and Defendant Tibsherany agree that the controversy should be resolved without further proceedings and without an evidentiary hearing. Therefore, the United States and Defendant Tibsherany have consented to the entry of this Order as indicated by the signatures appearing below.
It is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED:
- GENERAL INJUNCTION
- Defendant Tibsherany, his employees, agents, successors and assigns, and all other persons in active concert or participation with him are permanently enjoined from future discrimination on the basis of disability as prohibited by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(f)(1) and (f)(3)(C), and as set forth in the Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines, 56 Fed. Reg. 9472 (1991).
- SPECIFIC REMEDIES
- For all design contracts for covered multifamily dwellings entered into following the entry of this Order, Defendant Tibsherany shall submit to counsel for the United States(1) the following information before the developer applies for the initial building permits: (1) the names and addresses of the builders and developers; (2) the name and address of the project; (3) a description of the project and the individual units; and (4) a written statement that the plans include design specifications that substantially comply with the requirements of the FHA, FHAG, Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines ("ADAAG").
- Within five (5) years from the entry of this Order, Defendant Tibsherany and his office shall donate 300 hours of technical assistance to non-profit groups that promote fair housing, disability rights or affordable housing, such as those groups, listed by way of example at Appendix A. Defendant Tibsherany shall submit documentation from the recipient non-profit groups demonstrating his and his office's donation of technical assistance.
- CIVIL PENALTY
- Within thirty (30) days following the entry of this Order, Defendant Tibsherany shall pay FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS ($15,000) to the United States as a civil penalty pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C) in full and final settlement of all claims arising from this action. Defendant Tibsherany shall make the check payable to the United States and deliver it to counsel for the United States.
- EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM
- Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order, Defendant Tibsherany shall provide a copy of this Order to all his agents and employees involved in the design or construction of covered multifamily dwellings and secure the signed statement, attached hereto as Appendix B, from each agent or employee acknowledging that he or she has received, read and understands the Order.
- Within thirty (30) days after the date he or she commences an agency or employment relationship with Defendant Tibsherany, each new agent or employee involved in the design or construction of covered multifamily dwellings shall be given a copy of this Order and be required to sign the statement, attached hereto as Appendix B, acknowledging that he or she has received, read and understands the Order.
- Within ninety (90) days of the entry of this Order, Defendant Tibsherany and his agents and employees involved in the design or construction of covered multifamily dwellings shall attend at least eight (8) hours of professional training in the accessible and adaptive design requirements of the FHA, FHAG, ADA and ADAAG from an individual or organization approved by the United States. Defendant Tibsherany shall pay all training costs for himself and his agents and employees. Within ninety (90) days of the entry of this Order, Defendant Tibsherany shall secure and deliver to counsel for the United States a written certification of his, his agents' and his employees' attendance at the training.
- For the duration of this Order, each new agent or employee involved in the design or construction of covered multifamily dwellings shall attend at least eight (8) hours of training on FHA, FHAG, ADA and ADAAG provided by a person or organization approved by the United States, within sixty (60) days after he or she commences an agency or employment relationship with Defendant Tibsherany, or as soon thereafter as such training may be available, unless that new agent or employee has documentation showing the receipt of equivalent training within the two years immediately preceding his or her hiring. Defendant Tibsherany shall pay all training costs for new agents and employees.
- REPORTING AND DOCUMENT RETENTION REQUIREMENTS
- Defendant Tibsherany shall advise counsel for the United States in writing within fifteen (15) days of receipt of any written administrative or legal complaint against him, his agents, or employees, regarding equal opportunity in housing. He also shall promptly provide the United States all information it may request concerning any such complaint.
- For the duration of this Order, Defendant Tibsherany shall preserve all records related to this Order for all covered multifamily dwellings designed by him. On reasonable notice, representatives of the United States, at any and all reasonable times, shall be permitted to inspect and copy any records of Defendant that relate to compliance with this Order; provided, however, that the United States shall endeavor to minimize any inconvenience to Defendant Tibsherany from such inspections.
- DURATION OF ORDER AND TERMINATION OF LEGAL ACTION
- This Order shall remain in effect for five (5) years after the date of its entry.
- 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 Defendant Tibsherany has engaged in any violation(s) of the Fair Housing Act, such violation(s) shall not constitute a "subsequent violation" for purposes of determining civil penalties under 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C)(ii).
- This case is dismissed without prejudice, except that this Court shall retain jurisdiction for the duration of the Order to enforce the terms of this Order. Prior to the expiration of the five-year term of this Order, the United States may move the Court to extend the duration of the Order only if it determines that Defendant Tibsherany has materially violated one or more terms of the Order. The burden shall be on the United States to prove that an extension is necessary.
- The parties to this Order shall endeavor in good faith to resolve informally any differences regarding 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 Defendant Tibsherany 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 attorneys' fees which may have been occasioned by the violation or failure to perform.
- TIME FOR PERFORMANCE
- Any time limits for performance imposed by this Order may be extended by the mutual agreement of the United States and Defendant Tibsherany.
- COSTS OF LITIGATION
- The United States and Defendant Tibsherany shall bear their own costs and attorneys' fees associated with this litigation.
IT IS SO ORDERED
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Agreed to by the United States and Defendant Tibsherany as indicated by the signatures of counsel below.
FOR PLAINTIFF UNITED STATES:
BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
BRIAN F. HEFFERNAN
LARS T. WALDORF
ERIC I. HALPERIN
Housing & Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
KATHRYN E. LANDRETH
United States Attorney
STEVEN W. MYHRE
Assistant United States Attorney
701 E. Bridger Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89101
FOR DEFENDANT GEORGE F. TIBSHERANY:
NICHOLAS M. WIECZOREK, ESQ.
Wieczorek & Associates
3980 Howard Hughes Parkway, Suite 400
Las Vegas, NV 89101
APPENDIX A NON-PROFIT GROUPS THAT PROMOTE FAIR HOUSING, DISABILITY RIGHTS OR
AFFORDABLE HOUSING THAT MAY DESIRE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
The following list is not meant to be exhaustive and may be amended or supplemented by the United States at any time during the pendency of this Consent Order (including, for example, on suggestion of Defendant Tibsherany).
Arizona Bridge to Independent Living
1229 E. Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Arizona Center for Disability Law
3131 North Country Club, Suite 100
Tucson, AZ 85714
Habitat For Humanity
P.O. Box 4089
Yuma, AZ 85364
Southern Arizona Housing Center
2030 E. Broadway
Tucson, AZ 85719
Center for Independent Living
6039 Eldora, Suite F
Las Vegas, NV 89146
3126 Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89115
New Vista Ranch
3085 S. Valley View
Las Vegas, NV 89102
P.O. Box 669
Las Vegas, NV 89125
APPENDIX B EMPLOYEE FAIR HOUSING ACKNOWLEDGMENT FORM
I hereby acknowledge that I have received, read and understand the Consent Order entered in United States, et al. v. Inland Empire Builders, Inc. et al.
I agree to act in accordance with that Consent Order. I understand that I should design or construct covered multifamily dwellings with the accessible and adaptive design requirements for persons with disabilities set forth in the Fair Housing Act, Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines. I understand that if I do not comply with those statutes and guidelines, I will be subject to dismissal or other disciplinary action by my employer.
I have been informed by my employer that it will not reprimand me for providing information to any law enforcement agency (including the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, P.O. Box 65598, Washington, D.C. 20035-5998, telephone number 202-514-4713) or any government official regarding my employer's compliance with the Fair Housing Act and/or the Consent Order.
Signature of Employee
Name of Employee (Printed)
Name of Employer(s)
Employee's Job Position or Title
1. For purposes of this Order, counsel for the United States is Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice, P.O. Box 65998, Washington, D.C. 20035-5998, Attn: DJ# 175-46-64. > >