Housing and Civil Enforcement Cases

Housing and Civil Enforcement Cases

Displaying 1 - 10 of 289
Case Name Overview Federal Court Case Documents
Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, et al. v. Rainbow Realty Group, et al. (S.D. Ind.)

On September 12, 2022, the Division filed a statement of interest in Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, et al. v. Rainbow Realty Group, et al. (S.D. Ind.). The plaintiffs challenge defendants’ “rent-to-buy” program in Indianapolis, Indiana, alleging that it exploits consumers in predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods by selling properties in poor condition at inflated prices through contracts that are designed to fail. The statement of interest aims to assist the court in evaluating plaintiffs’ Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) claims. The court dismissed plaintiffs’ ECOA claims on summary judgment, and plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration. The brief explains that a contract can both be a lease and also be an “aspect of a credit transaction” for purposes of ECOA. The brief analyzes the record using the definitions in ECOA, concluding that there is sufficient evidence to find that the rent-to-buy agreement used by defendants may extend “credit” as defined by ECOA, and that defendants may fall within ECOA’s definition of “creditor.”

Indiana, Southern District
Statement of Interest
United States v. Leaf Property Investments, LLC, et al. (E.D. Wis.).

On September 9, 2022, the United States filed an “election” complaint in United States v. Leaf Property Investments, LLC, et al. (E.D. Wis.). The complaint alleges that Dennis Parker, the on-site manager of a 19-unit rooming house in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, violated the Fair Housing Act by harassing a male tenant because of the tenant’s sex, including the tenant’s sexual orientation, and because of the tenant’s disability. The complaint alleges that Defendant Parker’s conduct included verbal and virtual harassment, as well as one instance of punching the tenant in the groin, and threatening to evict him in retaliation for reporting the harassment to the police. In addition, the complaint also names as defendants Leaf Property Investments, LLC which owns the property where the harassment occurred, and Sam Leaf, who manages the property.  The complaint alleges that Parker acted as an agent of these defendants and managed the property on their behalf. The case was referred to the Division after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) received a complaint from the complaint, conducted an investigation, and issued a charge of discrimination, and the tenant elected to have the matter litigated in federal court.  


Press Release (9/9/2022)

Wisconsin, Eastern District
Complaint
United States v. Larpenteur Estates Apartments LLC - (D. Minn.)

On August 29, 2022, the United States filed an “election” complaint in United States v. Larpenteur Estates Apartments LLC, et al.  (D. Minn.).  The complaint alleges that the defendants discriminated on the basis of disability, in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA), by refusing to allow complainant to rent a unit with her assistance animal.  Major Management Company, Jennifer Costello, and Mark Frisch are also named as defendants in the case.  The case was referred to the Division after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) received a complaint, conducted an investigation, and issued a charge of discrimination.

Minnesota, District of
Complaint
United States v. Havre de Grace Associates LLLP (D. Md.)

On August 29, 2022, the United States filed an “election” complaint in United States v. Havre de Grace Associates, LP, et al. (D. Md.).  The complaint alleges that the defendants discriminated on the basis of disability in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by refusing to grant a reasonable accommodation to allow the complainant, who used a wheelchair, to have aides help him clean and prepare his unit for bed bug treatments.  Jacqualynn Page is also named as a defendant in the case.  The case was referred to the Division after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) received a complaint, conducted an investigation, and issued a charge of discrimination.

Maryland, District of
Complaint
United States v. Integrity Asset Management LLC (W.D. Tx.)

On September 2, 2022, the court entered a consent order in United States vs. Integrity Asset Management, LLC (W.D. Tex.). The complaint, which was filed on August 19, 2022, alleged that the defendant, a company that manages approximately 55 multi-family apartment properties in and around El Paso, Texas,  violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by charging unlawful fees to servicemembers who terminated their residential leases early and by denying other servicemembers’ requests to terminate their leases. The consent order requires the defendant to pay a total of $107,000 in monetary relief: $45,325 to affected servicemembers and a $62,029 civil penalty to the United States. The order also requires the defendant to repair the servicemembers’ credit, provide SCRA training to its employees, and develop new policies and procedures consistent with the SCRA.

Press Release (8/18/2022)

Texas, Western District
Complaint
Settlement/Consent Decree
United States vs. Chesapeake Coveside Lane Apartments Property Owner, LLC, et al. (E.D. Va.)

On September 14, 2022, the court entered a consent order in United States vs. Chesapeake Coveside Lane Apartments Property Owner, LLC, et al. (E.D. Va.). The complaint, which was filed on August 8, 2022, alleges that the defendants violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by obtaining unlawful court judgments against military tenants at the Hideaway at Greenbrier Luxury Apartment Homes in Chesapeake, Virginia, and the Chase Arbor Apartments in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Chesapeake Coveside Lane Apartments Property Owner, LLC and Chase Arbor Apartments Property Owner, LLC are both named as defendants in the case. The consent order requires the defendants to pay a total of $225,000 in monetary relief: $162,971 to affected servicemembers and a $62,029 civil penalty to the United States. The order also requires the defendants to vacate the judgments, repair the servicemembers’ credit, provide SCRA training to their employees, and develop new policies and procedures consistent with the SCRA. The owners must also reimburse affected servicemembers for any amounts collected pursuant to an unlawful judgment.

Press Release (8/8/2022)

 

Virginia, Eastern District
Complaint
Settlement/Consent Decree
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and United States v. Trident Mortgage Company (E.D. Pa.)

On July 27, 2022, the United States and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a joint complaint and a proposed consent order in Trident Mortgage Company, Inc. (E.D. Pa.).  The complaint alleges that Trident Mortgage Company (Trident), which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., violated the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), the Fair Housing Act (FHA), and Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), by engaging in unlawful redlining in the Philadelphia metropolitan area by avoiding providing credit services to neighborhoods of color because of the race, color, and national origin of the people living in those neighborhoods.  The complaint also alleges that Trident’s loan officers and other employees sent and received work e-mails containing racial slurs and referring to communities of color as “ghetto.”  The consent order, requires the defendant to invest at least $18.4 million in a loan subsidy fund for residents of predominantly neighborhoods of color in the Philadelphia metropolitan area; invest $750,000 for development of community partnerships to provide services that increase access to residential mortgage credit in those neighborhoods; invest $875,000 for advertising and outreach in those neighborhoods; and invest $375,000 for consumer financial education.  Trident will also pay a civil money penalty of $4 million.

Press Release (7/27/2022)

Pennsylvania, Eastern District
Complaint
Settlement/Consent Decree
United States v. Meta Platforms, Inc., f/k/a Facebook, Inc. (S.D.N.Y.)

On June 26, 2022, the court approved the parties’ settlement agreement and entered a final judgment in United States v. Meta Platforms, Inc., f/k/a Facebook, Inc. (S.D.N.Y.).  The complaint, which was filed on June 21, 2022, alleged that Meta’s housing advertising system discriminated against Facebook users based on their race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and national origin, in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA).  Specifically, the complaint alleged, among other things, that Meta uses algorithms in determining which Facebook users receive housing ads and that those algorithms rely, in part, on characteristics protected under the FHA.  Under the settlement, which was approved by the court, Meta will stop using an advertising tool for housing ads (known as the “Special Ad Audience” tool) and also will develop a new system to address racial and other disparities caused by its use of personalization algorithms in its ad delivery system for housing ads.  Under the terms of the settlement, Meta will not provide any ad targeting options for housing advertisers that directly describe or relate to FHA-protected characteristics.  The settlement also requires Meta to pay a civil penalty of $115,054, the maximum penalty available under the FHA.  The case involves a Secretary-initiated HUD complaint and was referred to the Justice Department after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) conducted an investigation and issued a charge of discrimination.

Press Release (6/21/2022)

New York, Southern District
Complaint
Settlement/Consent Decree
United States v. Maria Trini Menendez (D. P.R.)

On June 6, 2022, the United States Attorney’s Office filed an “election” complaint in United States v. Maria Trini Menendez (D.P.R.).  The complaint alleges that the owners and managers of a four-unit apartment building in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the real estate agent retained to find tenants for the property, discriminated on the basis of disability in violation of the Fair Housing Act by refusing to allow the complainants, one of whom is legally blind, to rent a unit because they had a guide dog.  Josefina Amparo De La Fuente-Mundo, Alicia De La Fuente-Mundo, and Rosalia De La Fuente-Mundo are also named as defendants in the complaint.  The case was referred to the Division after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) received a complaint, conducted an investigation, and issued a charge of discrimination.

Puerto Rico, District of
Complaint
United States v. Richard Donahue (W.D. Wisc.)

On May 13, 2022, the United States filed a complaint in United States v. Richard Donahue and Mary Donahue (W.D. Wis.).  The defendants own residential rental properties in Janesville, Wisconsin, and defendant Richard “Rick” Donahue manages them.  The complaint alleges that Rick Donahue sexually harassed numerous female tenants since at least 2000 and that both defendants are liable for discrimination on the basis of sex in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA).  

Press Release - (5/13/2022)

Wisconsin, Western District
Complaint

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