FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
FORMER OWNER AND MANAGER OF SAN ANTONIO RETIREMENT COMMUNITY PAY $420,000 TO SETTLE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HOUSING DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT
WASHINGTON, DC - The Justice Department today announced that the former owner and the manager of a retirement community in San Antonio, Texas have agreed to pay $420,000 to settle a federal lawsuit alleging that they discriminated against tenants with disabilities.
“Persons with disabilities, particularly those residing in retirement communities, rely on housing providers to respect their legal rights,” said R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The discrimination that took place in this instance abused that trust and will not be tolerated.”
The Justice Department filed suit against Pacific Life Insurance Co., the former owner of Newforest Estates Retirement Community (formerly known as The Summit at Newforest) and Cooperative Retirement Services of America, Inc. (CRSA), the company that managed the development for Pacific Life. The suit alleged that the defendants evicted residents with disabilities if they were unable to walk without assistance or if they required too many hours of assistive services. The complaint also alleges that Pacific Life and CRSA illegally conducted health assessments of its residents as a condition of tenancy.
Pacific Life and CRSA will pay $260,000 to compensate six former and current residents, and each will pay a $25,000 civil penalty to the United States. They will also establish a $110,000 settlement fund to compensate any additional victims.
As part of today’s settlement, which was signed and entered by the court today, the current owner of Newforest Estates, Senior Housing Services, Inc. (SHS), has agreed to implement nondiscriminatory rental standards and tenant rules and to replace current leases containing discriminatory policies.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status (having children under 18 years old), national origin and disability. Since January 1, 2001, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has filed 151 Fair Housing Act cases, including 67 alleging disability discrimination.
Any individuals who believe that they were discriminated against at the Summit at Newforest on the basis of disability should contact the United States Department of Justice at 1-800-896-7743 and select option 97.