Complaint

RALPH F. BOYD, JR.
Assistant Attorney General
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
JEANINE M. WORDEN, JW-9094
CHARLA D. JACKSON, CJ-4493
Attorneys
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section - G Street
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.- G Street
Washington, DC 20530
(202)353-9705

CHRISTOPHER J. CHRISTIE
United States Attorney
MICHAEL A. CHAGARES, MC-5483
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Chief, Civil Division
United States Attorney's Office
970 Broad Street, Suite 700
Newark, NJ 07102
(973)645-2700
Attorneys for Plaintiff


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

           Plaintiff,

     v.                                                                          Civil Action No.

SPYDER WEB ENTERPRISES LLC

           Defendant.

The United States of America alleges:

  1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. ("the Fair Housing Act").
  2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
  3. Defendant Spyder Web Enterprises LLC is a New Jersey Corporation located in Bergen County, New Jersey in the District of New Jersey.
  4. Defendant owns and operates a website called "TheSublet.com."
  5. The website lists private apartments and houses for rent. A landlord or person seeking to sublet an apartment can post the advertisement for a rental unit in any region throughout the country free of charge; the fee is paid by the individual looking for housing.
  6. Upon accessing the website, a reader is given information on housing in a geographical region of his or her choice. Once a geographic region is chosen, several "hits" come up which give the reader detailed rental information. The details include information about the dwelling unit and its location, monthly rent, availability dates, and number of tenants preferred. The reader can then respond directly to the housing provider by way of the website or other means, as indicated in the advertisement.
  7. Through its website, the Defendant publishes or causes to be published notices, statements, and advertisements with respect to the rental of dwellings as defined by the Fair Housing Act.
  8. Through its website, the Defendant publishes or causes to be published notices, statements and advertisements with respect to the rental of dwellings that indicate preferences, limitations, and discrimination based on race, sex, familial status, and national origin, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).
  9. The practices of the Defendant described above constitute:
    1. a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a); and
    2. a denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, which denial raises an issue of general public importance, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
  10. Bona fide apartment seekers who may have been the victims of the Defendant's discriminatory housing practices are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and have suffered damages as a result of the Defendant's conduct described above.
  11. The Defendant's conduct described above was intentional, willful, and/or taken in disregard for the rights of others.

    WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an order that:

    1. Declares that the Defendant's policies and practices, as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act;
    2. Enjoins the Defendant, its officers, employees, agents, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from:
      1. publishing or causing to be published notices, statements, or advertisements with respect to the rental of dwellings that indicate a preference, limitation, or intention to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin;
      2. failing or refusing to notify the public that dwellings advertised through any of the Defendant's business activities are available to all persons on a nondiscriminatory basis; and
    3. Requires such further injunctive relief against the Defendant as is necessary to effectuate the purposes of the Fair Housing Act, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(A);
    4. Awards such damages as would fully compensate persons aggrieved by the Defendant's discriminatory housing practices, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B);
    5. Awards punitive damages to persons aggrieved by Defendant's discriminatory actions, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B); and
    6. Assesses a civil penalty against the Defendant in the amount authorized by 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C) in order to vindicate the public interest.

    The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.



    JOHN ASHCROFT
    Attorney General


    CHRISTOPHER J. CHRISTIE
    United States Attorney

    ____________________________
    RALPH F. BOYD, JR
    Assistant Attorney General
    Civil Rights Division

    ____________________________
    MICHAEL A. CHAGARES
    Assistant U.S. Attorney
    Chief, Civil Division
    970 Broad Street, Suite 700
    Newark, NJ 07102
    (201)645-2700
    ____________________________
    JOAN A. MAGAGNA
    Chief, Housing and Civil
    Enforcement Section
    JEANINE M. WORDEN
    Deputy Chief
    CHARLA D. JACKSON
    Attorney
    U.S. Department of Justice
    Civil Rights Division
    Housing and Civil Enforcement
       Section - G Street
    950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, DC 20530
    (202)353-9705

    Document Filed: April 3, 2003 > >
Updated August 6, 2015

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