IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
RALEIGH ANNEX APARTMENTS TC, LP
|CIVIL ACTION NO.
The United States of America alleges as follows:
NATURE OF ACTION
1. This action is brought by the United States on behalf of Joseph Thomas Goff, to enforce the provisions of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. (the "Fair Housing Act" or "the Act").
JURISDICTION & VENUE
2. The Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345, and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
3. Venue is proper in this judicial district under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), in that the events giving rise to this action occurred in the Southern District of Mississippi.
4. At the time during which his allegations arose, the Complainant Joseph Thomas Goff ("Mr. Goff") was a 41-year-old homeless male with physical and mental impairments that substantially limited one or more of his major life activities. Specifically, he suffered from chronic schizophrenia with depressed moods, generalized anxiety disorder, hepatitis C, cancer, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mr. Goff is handicapped within the meaning of the Act. 42 U.S.C. § 3602(h).
5. The Raleigh Annex Apartments (the "subject property"), located at 730 Raleigh Avenue, Magee, Simpson County, Mississippi, consists of several buildings with 69 single-family "dwellings" as defined by the Act. 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
6. Defendant Raleigh Annex Apartment TC, LP ("Raleigh Annex"), the owner of the subject property, is a Delaware corporation, with a registered agent at 2015 Mosbey Road, Meridian, Mississippi 39305.
7. Defendant Century Pacific Management Corporation ("Century Pacific Management"), which managed the subject property, is a California corporation, with a registered agent at 1925 Century Park E., Suite 1900 Los Angeles, California 90067.
8. Defendant Century Pacific Equity Corporation ("Century Pacific Equity"), which owns Century Pacific Management, is a California corporation, and has a registered agent at 506 South President Street, Jackson, Mississippi 39201.
9. Defendants Joan Davidson ("Davidson"), Gudrun Anderson ("Anderson"), and Karen "Angie" Sasser ("Sasser") were employed by Century Pacific Management. These individuals were the on-site managers when Mr. Goff sought housing at the subject property.
10. Defendant Davidson was the Raleigh Annex Apartments' on-site property manager from the early 1990's through November 15, 2002.
11. On or about August 2002, Mr. Goff visited the rental office at the subject property to apply to rent a one-bedroom unit.
12. Defendant Davidson refused to show Mr. Goff an available apartment unit, allegedly because the unit had not been cleaned. Mr. Goff stated his willingness to view the unit anyway, but Defendant Davidson continued to refuse to do so.
13. Mr. Goff stated to Defendant Davidson that he was disabled and homeless, and that he needed immediate housing.
14. Mr. Goff submitted an application to Defendant Davidson in September 2002.
15. At the time Mr. Goff submitted his application, there were vacancies at the subject property.
16. On Mr. Goff's application, he noted his preference for building "J," which is designated for elderly residents and disabled residents. Additionally, he noted that there was a probability that he would require in-house care due to his illness, and noted that he was undergoing rebatol and interferon therapy for hepatitis C and cancer. Both Defendant Davidson and Mr. Goff signed and dated the application and its attachments September 4, 2002.
17. Between September and November 2002, Defendant Davidson told Mr. Goff that she had forwarded his application to the management office, but Defendant Century Pacific Management has no record of having received it during that time period.
18. Mr. Goff frequently checked on the status of his application both telephonically and in person.
19. On or about October 2002, Mr. Goff submitted another application at the subject property, and during that visit, Defendant Davidson asked him whether he was "really sick" or "just a trouble maker."
20. Defendant Gudrun Anderson was the on-site manager for the subject property from November 18, 2002 through January 31, 2003.
21. Defendant Century Pacific Management finally approved Mr. Goff's application on December 26, 2002. The application was returned to the subject property on December 27, 2002, and was signed for by Defendant Anderson.
22. Around Christmas 2002, Defendant Anderson told Defendant Davidson that she would not place Mr. Goff in building "J" because he was "crazy" and would disturb her elderly residents.
23. Between at least January 3, 2003 and January 31, 2003, one-bedroom units were available in building "J" and in other buildings at the subject property.
24. Mr. Goff visited the rental office at the subject property on more than one occasion, but Defendant Anderson never informed Mr. Goff that his application had been approved.
25. Defendant Karen "Angie" Sasser was the on-site manager for the subject property from February 3, 2003 through May 21, 2003.
26. Defendant Sasser never notified Mr. Goff that his rental application had been approved on December 26, 2002.
27. In February 2003, Mr. Goff completed another application and submitted it to Defendant Sasser. Mr. Goff noted on his criminal background form dated February 26, 2003, that "This makes the fourth one of this same form I've completed and returned to you at the Raleigh Annex Apartments."
28. Defendant Sasser claimed that Mr. Goff's February 2003 application was incomplete and was rejected because of Mr. Goff's criminal record, which was untrue.
29. Defendant Sasser rented a one-bedroom unit in building "J' to another person who had a criminal record and whose application had been denied by the management office.
30. Between February 3, 2003 and May 31, 2003, one-bedroom units were available in building "J" and in other buildings at the subject property.
31. From September 2002 through May 2003, Mr. Goff completed and submitted numerous applications and supporting documents at the subject property, and repeatedly inquired about the status of his application, but was never offered a unit to rent.
32. On or about May 15, 2003, Mr. Goff filed a timely complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"), pursuant to the FHA, alleging discrimination on the basis of disability. Mr. Goff amended his complaint on May 12, 2005, and June 15, 2005.
33. As required by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD conducted and completed 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 existed to believe that illegal discriminatory housing practices had occurred. Therefore, on September 19, 2005, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging the above-named defendants with engaging in discriminatory practices, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604 (c) and (f).
34. On October 3, 2005, Mr. Goff elected to have the claims asserted in HUD's Charge of Discrimination resolved in a federal civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
35. On October 4, 2005, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election of Judicial Determination and terminated the administrative proceeding on Mr. Goff's complaint.
36. Following this Notice of Election, the Secretary of HUD authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o)(1).
FAIR HOUSING ACT VIOLATIONS
37. By the conduct of the Defendants described in the previous numbered paragraphs, the Defendants have:
- Discriminated in the rental of, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, a dwelling to Mr. Goff because of his handicaps, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1); and
- Made statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation or discrimination based on handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(c).
38. The Defendants' actions and statements described in the proceeding paragraphs were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the fair housing rights of Mr. Goff.
39. Mr. Goff is an "aggrieved person" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §3604(i).
40. As a result of the Defendants' discriminatory conduct, Mr. Goff has suffered and continues to suffer damages.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, the United States prays for relief as follows:
a. A declaration that the Defendants' conduct as set forth above violates the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, e seq.
b. An injunction against the Defendants and their agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them, from discriminating on the basis of disability, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.
c. An award of monetary damages to Mr. Goff pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c)(1).
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
ALBERTO R. GONZALES
United States Attorney
188 East Capitol Street,
Jackson, MS 39201
MITZI DEASE PAIGE
Assistant United States
188 East Capitol Street
Suite 500, One Jackson Pl.
Jackson, MS 39201
Mississippi Bar No. 6014
WAN J. KIM
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
Document Entered: December 19, 2005 > >