IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
ALLEN NORMAN, NANCY
CASE NO. 05-0365-CV-W-ODS
This action was filed by the United States on April 21, 2005, to enforce the provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act), as amended by the Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. In its complaint, the United States alleges that defendants engaged in unlawful sexual and racial harassment of Complainant Monica Nightingale Hawkins when she rented an apartment located at 2703 Harrison Street in Kansas City, Missouri from Allen and Nancy Norman. Defendants Allen Norman and/or Nancy Norman are and have been at all times relevant to this action the owner(s) of the residential property at 2703 Harrison Street. Defendant John Norman, Allen Norman's son, performed maintenance work and other jobs as Allen and Nancy Norman's agent at the apartment at 2703 Harrison Street during the period of Complainant's tenancy.
In its Complaint the United States specifically alleges that Defendant John Norman subjected Ms. Nightingale Hawkins to extensive, continuous, unwelcome, and uninvited sexual harassment and racial harassment, and created a hostile environment for her, in violation of Sections 804(b), 804(c), and 818 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(b), 3604(c) and 3617. The United States further alleges that defendants Allen Norman and Nancy Norman knew or should have known of the discriminatory conduct of defendant John Norman but failed to take action to curtail and/or prevent such conduct, and retaliated against Ms. Nightingale Hawkins for taking action to curb the harassment by John Norman, in violation of Sections 804(b), 804(c), and 818 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(b), 3604(c) and 3617.
The Defendants deny each and every allegation of the United States.
The parties have agreed that in order to avoid protracted and costly litigation, this controversy should be resolved without further litigation. Therefore, without a trial or adjudication of any of the facts alleged by the United States, the parties consent to the entry of this Decree. This agreement constitutes full resolution of the United States' claims in this action.
It is HEREBY AGREED AND ORDERED as follows:
II. JURISDICTION, SCOPE, AND TERM OF DECREE
1. The parties agree that the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri shall retain jurisdiction over this action for all purposes relating to the enforcement of this Decree throughout its term.
2. This Consent Decree is effective immediately upon its entry by the Court and shall remain in effect for a period of three (3) years from the date of entry of this Decree. For purposes of this Decree, the phrase "date of entry of this Decree" shall refer to the date on which the Court enters this Decree. Prior to expiration of the term of this Decree, the United States may move the Court to extend the duration of this Decree in the interests of justice.
3. The parties agree to work collaboratively with one another and in good faith to seek the Court's approval of this Consent Decree, and to resolve informally any differences regarding interpretation of and compliance with this Decree prior to bringing such matters to the Court for resolution.
A. Defendants Allen Norman, Nancy Norman, and John Norman
4. Defendants, their agents, employees, and all persons in active concert or participation with any of them, are hereby permanently enjoined from:
- Discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of renting a dwelling unit, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, on the basis of sex or race;
- Making, printing, publishing, or causing to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement with respect to the rental of a dwelling that states any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on sex or race; and
- Coercing, intimidating, threatening, or interfering with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of him or her having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of him or her having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected by the Fair Housing Act, including retaliating against any person for reporting or opposing discriminatory conduct based on sex or race.
B. Defendant John Norman
5. Throughout the term of this Decree, Defendant John Norman is hereby enjoined from operating, consulting, managing, staffing, participating in, working in (whether paid or unpaid), or otherwise having any involvement in the management, or maintenance of rental housing properties, including but not limited to those owned by the other Defendants in this action, except that he may perform maintenance on completely unoccupied properties, i.e., properties in which every unit is vacant.
6. Defendants shall implement, subject to the United States' approval, a written policy against sexual and racial harassment, and notify all tenants of Defendants' written policy, including formal complaint procedures. A copy of the policy shall be provided to counsel for the United States within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Decree. If the policy is satisfactory to the United States, Defendants shall disseminate the policy and procedure to all tenants of apartments owned or managed by any of them within ten (10) days after the United States notifies them that it has approved the policy. If the policy and procedure is not satisfactory to the United States, the United States and Defendants shall collaborate to devise a mutually acceptable policy and procedure, and Defendants shall disseminate the policy and procedure to all current tenants within ten (10) days after the parties have reached agreement on the policy and procedure. The policy and procedure shall be disseminated to current tenants no later than ninety (90) days after the entry of this Decree. Once the United States and Defendants have agreed upon a written policy and procedure, Defendant shall provide a copy of the policy and procedure to all new tenants within five (5) days of the date the tenant moves into a dwelling unit owned or managed by Defendants.
7. Defendants shall post an "Equal Housing Opportunity" sign in a prominent location in the rental office, and at least one common area in each separate residential building that they own and/or manage, which indicates that all apartments are available for rent on a nondiscriminatory basis. An 11 inch by 14 inch poster substantially equivalent to the sample appended to this Decree as Appendix A, which can also be found at 24 C.F.R. § 110.25, will satisfy this requirement.
8. Defendants shall require that all advertising conducted for any of their rental properties in newspapers, telephone directories, radio, television, or other media, and all billboards, signs (including signs at the entrance to any of their properties), pamphlets, brochures, and other promotional literature, include either a fair housing logo, the words "equal opportunity housing provider," and/or the following sentence:
We are an equal opportunity housing provider. We do not
discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion,
sex, familial status, or disability.
The words or logo shall be prominently placed and easily legible.
9. Defendants Allen and Nancy Norman shall implement a fair housing training and education program for any and all individuals who shall have responsibility for managing, renting, performing maintenance, or performing other responsibilities on a regular basis at any rental property owned or managed by any of the Defendants at any time during the term of this Decree. As part of this program, within three (3) months of the date of entry of this Decree, Defendants Allen Norman, Nancy Norman, and John Norman, and any other individual currently serving as an agent of any of them at any rental property owned by any of the Defendants shall attend a fair housing training program conducted by a qualified civil rights organization to be selected by Defendants, subject to approval by the United States. Contract laborers (except John Norman) who do not have regular contact with tenants or potential tenants shall not be required to attend such training. The program shall include training on the nondiscrimination requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq., particularly the Act's prohibitions on discrimination based on race or sex and the non-retaliation provisions of the Act. Any and all costs and fees associated with attending the training program shall be borne by Defendant.
10. Each individual described in Paragraph 9 shall be provided with and required to read a copy of this Consent Decree and the Nondiscrimination Policy and complaint procedures described in Paragraph 6.
11. Upon completion of the training described in Paragraph 9, each individual required to attend training shall sign a written statement in the form set forth in Appendix B attesting to (1) the fact that he or she has attended a training session; (2) the date on which the training was completed; and (3) the fact that he or she has received, read, and understands the content of this Decree and Nondiscrimination Policy and Procedure will comply with them.
12. Defendant John Norman shall also attend an additional training program of the type described in Paragraph 9--conducted by a qualified civil rights organization, subject to approval by the United States--within the final six months of the term of this Decree. Defendant Norman shall report in writing to the United States, no later than two months prior to the conclusion of this Decree, that he has attended such a training program, and the date(s) on which he attended it.
VI. REPORTING AND RECORD-KEEPING
13. Defendants Allen Norman and Nancy Norman shall provide the United States, (1) in writing, with:
- the address and a description of any residential rental property owned in whole or in part by either or them, within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Decree;
- the address and a description of any residential rental property acquired by either or them in the future, within thirty (30) days of the date of acquisition of the property;
- the name and address of any company, entity, or individual who manages and/or performs managerial responsibilities at any rental property owned or managed by either of them, within thirty (30) days of the date of entry of this Decree or within thirty (30) days of selection of the managing company or agent, whichever is later.
- In the event of a sale of any rental property owned by either of them, the name and address of the purchaser, within thirty (30) days of the date of sale.
- the identity of any entity or individual hired, retained or contracted with to manage or perform any of the duties and/or responsibilities of an apartment manager at any rental property owned by any of the Defendants, including but not limited to, performing maintenance, collecting rent, showing apartments, and serving eviction papers or other notices to vacate. Defendants shall also report the identity of any entity or individual hired, retained, or contracted with to perform maintenance or other responsibilities related to the rental properties on a regular basis that will bring them into contact with tenants. Defendants shall notify the United States within thirty (30) days of the date on which the Defendant(s) hired, entered into a contract with, or otherwise retained the services of such entity or individual and shall provide the name, address, and telephone number of the individual or entity.
- written notice within thirty (30) days of the receipt of any written or oral complaint against any of the Defendants, or any of the Defendants' agents or employees, regarding discrimination on the basis of sex or race or unlawful retaliation, including but not limited to complaints regarding any statement or conduct alleged to constitute sexual or racial harassment. If the complaint is written, Defendants shall provide a copy of it with the notice. The notice shall include the full details of the complaint, including the complainant's name, address, and telephone number. The Defendants shall promptly provide the United States all information it may request concerning any such complaint and shall also provide to the United States a description of the resolution of any such complaint within fifteen (15) days of resolution.
14. Throughout the term of this Decree, Defendants Allen and Nancy Norman shall maintain all rental records kept in relation to any residential rental properties owned, managed, or acquired by either of them. Defendants shall allow the United States the right to inspect and copy all records kept in relation to their rental properties upon reasonable notice to them. The United States shall attempt to minimize any inconvenience to the Defendants during the inspection and copying of such records.
15. Six (6) months after entry of this Decree, and every six (6) months thereafter throughout the term of this Decree, Defendants Allen and Nancy Norman shall provide the United States with a report containing the following:
- a list of all tenants at any and all residential rental properties owned or managed by any of the Defendants, including their names, addresses, and telephone numbers;
- copies of all written sexual and racial harassment complaint procedures and any other policies related thereto. If the written complaint procedure and other policies related thereto have not changed during the previous reporting period, additional copies need not be provided;
- any information reasonably related to compliance with this Decree that is requested by the United States.
The final report, however, shall be submitted to the United States sixty (60) days prior to the date on which this Decree expires. With respect to subsection a of this paragraph, the information provided by Defendants pursuant to this subsection shall be used by the United States only for purposes of this litigation and shall not be disclosed to third parties to the extent such disclosure is protected under the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. §§ 552a (2000).
VII. MONETARY RELIEF
16. In order to settle the monetary claims of the United States on behalf of the Complainant, Defendants shall pay the sum of Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000). Within thirty (30) days of the date of entry of this Decree, Defendants shall provide to the United States a cashiers check for Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000) made payable to Monica Nightingale Hawkins. (2) In the event that Defendants do not provide such payment within 30 days, the amount due will increase to Nineteen Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($19,500). In consideration of this payment, Ms. Nightingale Hawkins shall execute a release of claims form substantially equivalent to that set forth in Appendix C, verifying that the amount she is to receive will constitute full settlement of any claims she may have against Defendants relating to the subject matter of this lawsuit. The United States shall obtain the signed release form from Ms. Nightingale Hawkins before forwarding Defendants' cashiers check to her. The United States will then provide the signed release form to Defendants.
VIII. COSTS OF LITIGATION
17. Each party to this Consent Decree shall bear its own costs and attorneys' fees associated with this litigation.
IX. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISION
18. Any time limits imposed by this Decree may be extended by mutual agreement, in writing, of the parties.
The undersigned apply for and consent to the entry of this Decree:
FOR THE UNITED STATES:
TODD P. GRAVES
WAN J. KIM
FOR DEFENDANTS ALLEN AND NANCY NORMAN:
KYNER & REEFER, P.C.
Jennifer P. Kyner, MO Bar No. 32436
7300 W. 110th Street - Suite 700
Overland Park, KS 66210
Tel.: (913) 491-3200
Fax: (913) 317-1543
FOR DEFENDANT JOHN NORMAN:
2710 Harrison Street
Kansas City, MO 64109
Tel. (816) 221-0673 DEFENDANT PRO SE
ORDERED this ________ day of _________________, 2006.
ORTRIE D. SMITH, JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
We do Business in Accordance With the Fair Housing Act
(The Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the
Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988)
IT IS ILLEGAL TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ANY PERSON BECAUSE OF RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, HANDICAP, FAMILIAL STATUS (HAVING ONE OR MORE CHILDREN), OR NATIONAL ORIGIN:>
- In the sale or rental of housing or residential lots.
- In advertising the sale or rental of housing.
- In the financing of housing.
- In the appraisal of housing.
- In the provision of real estate brokerage services.
- Blockbusting is also illegal.
Anyone who feels he or she has been discriminated against should send a complaint to:
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Washington, D.C. 20410 1-800-669-9777
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Kansas City Regional Office of FHEO
Gateway Tower II
400 State Avenue, Room 200
Kansas City, Kansas 66101-2406
(913) 551-6958 / TTY (913) 551-6972 or 1-800-743-5323
CERTIFICATION OF FAIR HOUSING TRAINING
AND RECEIPT OF CONSENT DECREE AND NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY
On _____________________ , I attended a training session on the federal Fair Housing Act and its nondiscrimination requirements. I have had an opportunity to have all of my questions concerning the Fair Housing Act answered to my satisfaction.
On ________________________ , I received a copy of and have read the Consent Decree entered by the federal district court in United States of America v. Allen Norman, Nancy Norman, and John Norman,Case No. 05-0365-CV-W-ODS. I have also received a copy of the Nondiscrimination Policy and Procedure. I have had an opportunity to have all of my questions concerning the Consent Decree and its requirements, and the Nondiscrimination Policy and Procedure, answered to my satisfaction. I understand the terms of the Decree and the Policy and Procedure and agree to comply with their requirements.
APPENDIX C RELEASE OF CLAIMS
In consideration for the payment of Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000) pursuant to the Consent Decree approved by the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri in the case of United States v. Allen Norman, Nancy Norman, and John Norman, Case No. 05-0365-CV-W-ODS, I hereby release Defendants Allen Norman, Nancy Norman, and John Norman from any and all liability for any claims, legal or equitable, I may have against them arising out of the allegations in the above referenced action. I fully acknowledge and agree that this release of the defendants shall be binding on my heirs, representatives, executors, successors, administrators and assigns. I agree to indemnify and hold harmless Defendants Allen Norman, Nancy Norman, and John Norman, counsel for Defendants, and the United States for any liability in connection with any liens or claims to the settlement sums paid to me under this Release. I hereby acknowledge that I have read and understood this release and have signed it voluntarily and with full knowledge of its legal consequences.
MONICA NIGHTINGALE HAWKINS
1. For purposes of this Order, all submissions to the United States or its Counsel should be submitted to: Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC, 20530, Attn. DJ# 175-43-150.
2. In the event of Ms. Hawkins' death, payment shall be made to her estate.
Document Entered: February 23, 2006 > >