United States v. Hatfield (W.D.N.C.)
On April 12, 2019, the United States entered into a settlement agreement in United States v. Hatfield (W.D.N.C.). The complaint, filed on July 13, 2017, alleged that Robert N. Hatfield, who rented, sold, and financed homes in Wilkes County, North Carolina, engaged in a pattern or practice of sexually harassing actual and prospective female residents and borrowers in violation of the Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Hatfield’s alleged conduct included making unwelcome sexual comments and advances, groping actual and prospective residents, offering to reduce or eliminate payments in exchange for sexual favors, and taking adverse action against residents who objected to his conduct. The settlement agreement requires Hatfield to pay $550,000 in damages to 17 actual or prospective residents of Hatfield’s properties and a $50,000 civil penalty. The agreement also includes injunctive relief, including permanently barring Hatfield from participating in the rental, sale, or financing of residential properties. On April 25, 2019, the United States filed the agreement with the court and asked the court to retain jurisdiction to enforcement its terms while also dismissing the underlying action.