WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff, Case No. 1:03:-CV-248
CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, CONSENT DECREE
The United States initiated this action against the defendant on April 10, 2003, on behalf of Regina Gately, Peter and Cindy Gately, and their minor child ("the Gatelys"). The complaint alleged that Candlelight Manor Condominium Association ("defendant") discriminated against the Gatelys on the basis of familial status in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§3604(a) - (c), by its enforcement of an occupancy standard that was more restrictive than the municipal occupancy code applicable to homes in Holland, Michigan.
The Parties have agreed to the entry of this Consent Decree to resolve all claims of the United States against the defendant and to avoid further expenses and the uncertainties of litigation. By entering into this Consent Decree, the defendant does not admit to any violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§3601- 3619.
I. GENERAL INJUNCTION
The defendant, its board members, officers, agents, employees, successors, and all persons acting in concert or participation with them are enjoined from engaging in the following with respect to any dwelling as that term is defined in 42 U.S.C. §3602(b):
- Exercising any right, or carrying out any obligation, authorized in the Candlelight Manor Condominium Association Bylaws or Master Deed, in a manner that discriminates based on familial status;
- Making unavailable or denying a dwelling to any person because of familial status;
- Discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of occupancy of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of familial status;
- Making, printing, or publishing, or causing to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement with respect to the occupancy of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on familial status, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination; and
- Coercing, intimidating, threatening, or interfering with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his or her having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his or her having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected by 42 U.S.C. § 3604.
II. AFFIRMATIVE RELIEF
A. Occupancy Standards.
Subsequent to the events alleged in the United States' complaint, the defendant amended the section of its Master Deed pertaining to occupancy standards at the subject property. The amended Master Deed now provides that "occupancy of any unit or any mobile home situated [on any Condominium site] shall not exceed the limitations that may be established from time to time by the City of Holland, the County of Allegan, or the State of Michigan." For the term of this Consent Decree, the defendant agrees that it will not alter or amend its current occupancy standard and further agrees that the occupancy standards as applied at the condominium development will not be more restrictive than the requirements of the City of Holland, County of Allegan, or State of Michigan.
B. Notice to Public.
- Defendant shall, within 30 days of the entry of this Consent Decree, post and prominently display in at least one location of the common area of the development's club-house, a poster no smaller than 11 inches by 14 inches that indicates that the Association conducts its business in accordance with the Fair Housing Act. The poster(s) shall comply with the requirements set out in 24 C.F.R. § 110.25, and shall remain in place for the term of this Consent Decree.
- To the extent that the defendant undertakes any advertising during the term of this Decree in newspapers, telephone directories, radio or other media, or produces or utilizes signs, pamphlets, brochures, newsletters, or other promotional or informational literature, the defendant shall include the words "Equal Housing Opportunity" or the fair housing logo on any such material. The words shall be prominently placed and easily legible. Defendant's sign at the entrance to the development is exempt from this requirement.
III. ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF ORDER
- Within 30 days of the entry of this Consent Decree, defendant shall provide a copy of this Consent Decree to all its current board members, agents and employees involved in carrying out the rights and obligations of the Condominium Association as specified in the Bylaws or Master Deed, or otherwise involved in any way with respect to decisions regarding dwellings within the development, and secure the signed acknowledgment from each such board member, agent and employee indicating that he or she has received and read the Consent Decree. This acknowledgment shall be substantially in the form of Attachment A.
- During the term of this Consent Decree, within 30 days after the date he or she commences duties with defendant as a new board member, agent or employee involved in carrying out the rights and obligations of the Condominium Association as specified in the Bylaws or Master Deed, or is otherwise involved in any way with respect to decisions regarding dwellings within the development, each such board member, agent or employee shall be given a copy of this Consent Decree and be required to sign an acknowledgment indicating that he or she has received and read the Consent Decree. This acknowledgment shall be substantially in the form of Attachment A.
IV. COMPENSATION OF AGGRIEVED PERSONS
All claims for damages asserted in the instant case on behalf of the alleged aggrieved persons, Regina Gately, Peter Gately, Cindy Gately and their minor child, have been resolved as part of a settlement in the case of Regina Gately and Peter Gately v. Candlelight Manor Condominium, et. al., C.A. No. 02-31860-NZ (Allegan County Circuit Court).
V. RECORD KEEPING AND REPORTING
- During the term of this Consent Decree, the defendant shall retain all records maintained in the normal course of its business - including, but not limited to, all records relating to actual or threatened evictions or any decisions involving the occupancy of a dwelling based on the number of persons in a dwelling - created from the date of the entry of this Consent Decree. Upon request and reasonable notice, the defendant shall produce or permit representatives of the United States to review any such records in the possession or control of the defendant, or its agents, employees, or representatives.
- During the term of this Consent Decree, the defendant shall give counsel for the United States written notice within 15 days of the receipt of any written or oral complaint against the defendant regarding discrimination on the basis of familial status and a description of the resolution of any such complaint within 15 days of resolution. If the complaint is written, the defendant shall provide a copy of it with the notice; if the complaint is oral, it shall include a written summary 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 defendant shall also promptly provide the United States all information it may request concerning any such complaint and its actual or attempted resolution. For purposes of this provision, notice to the United States should be directed to: United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Michigan, 330 Ionia Avenue, N.W., Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (616-456-2404).
VI. COURT JURISDICTION, SCOPE AND TERM OF CONSENT DECREE
- The parties have consented to the entry of this Consent Decree as indicated by the signatures below. To this end, the parties stipulate and the Court finds that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§1331 and 1345 and 42 U.S.C. §3612(o). This Consent Decree is effective immediately upon its entry by the Court.
- The Court shall retain jurisdiction over this action and over the defendant for two years from the date of entry of this Consent Decree to enforce the terms of the decree. The United States may move the Court to extend the duration of the Consent Decree if it determines that the defendant has violated one or more terms of the Consent Decree.
- The parties to this Consent Decree shall endeavor in good faith to resolve informally any differences regarding interpretation of and compliance with this Consent Decree prior to bringing such matters to the Court for resolution. However, in the event of a failure by the defendant to perform in a timely manner any act required by this Consent Decree 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.
So ORDERED this _____day of _______________________ , 2003.
The undersigned hereby apply for and consent to the entry of this Consent Decree:
For the United States:
MARGARET M. CHIARA
CHARLES R. GROSS
For Candlelight Manor Condominium Association:
ATTACHMENT A Acknowledgment Form
I , ______________________________________ , hereby acknowledge that I have been provided with and have read a copy of the Consent Decree entered by the United States District Court in United States v. Candlelight Manor Condominium Association, Case No. 1:03:-CV-248 (W.D. Mich.).
Document Entered: October 17, 2003 > >