Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
WESTERN DIVISION


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

C.A. NO. 1:01CV000007 GH

FRED THOMAS, individually;
FRED THOMAS d/b/a Best Western
Scenic Motor Inn; and
STEPHEN THOMAS,
     Defendants.

________________________________


PLAINTIFF UNITED STATES' COMPLAINT FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

The United States of America alleges that:

  1. This action is brought by the Attorney General on behalf of the United States to enforce Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Public Accommodations Act), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000a et seq.
Jurisdiction
  1. This Court has jurisdiction of this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000a-5(a) and 28 U.S.C. § 1345.
  2. Venue is proper in the Eastern District of Arkansas because the claims alleged herein arose in this District and the Defendants do business in this District.
Parties
  1. Defendant Fred Thomas is a resident of Batesville, Arkansas, within the Eastern District of the State. He owns and operates a motel located at 773 Batesville Boulevard in Batesville.
  2. The motel is registered to do business in Arkansas under the name, Best Western Scenic Motor Inn ("Scenic Motor Inn"). The forty (40) unit facility provides lodging to transient guests. It is a member of Best Western International, Inc., the world's largest lodging chain.
  3. Defendant Stephen Thomas manages the Scenic Motor Inn. He is the son of defendant Fred Thomas and resides in Batesville, in the Eastern District of Arkansas.
  4. Best Western Scenic Motor Inn is a place of public accommodation within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 2000a(b)(1).
  5. The operation of Best Western Scenic Motor Inn affects commerce within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 2000a(c)(1).
Title II Violations
  1. Defendants, through their own actions, or the actions of their employees or agents, have implemented a policy and practice of denying to African Americans and other minorities, on account of race, color or national origin, the full and equal enjoyment of their goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations, on the same basis as they make such available to white persons. This policy and practice has been carried out, among other ways, as follows:
    1. Defendants have denied lodging altogether to African Americans and other minorities solely on the basis of race, color, or national origin, despite the availability of rooms.
    2. Defendants instructed desk clerks to attempt to determine if prospective guests who called to make reservations were African Americans or other racial or ethnic minorities. If the clerk believed a caller was likely an African American or other minority, Defendants instructed the clerk to deny a reservation to the caller and to inform the caller that no rooms were available when in fact rooms were available.
    3. On those occasions when Defendants rented rooms to African Americans and other minority guests, Defendants routinely rented rooms to those guests under less favorable terms and conditions than to white guests, including steering those guests to less desirable rooms, solely on the basis of race, color or national origin. Defendants identified to employees certain rooms that were considered lower quality, e.g., rooms with inferior furnishings, rooms in less desirable locations, or rooms otherwise considered by defendants to be of inferior quality to other rooms. Guests who were identified as racial or ethnic minorities were routinely assigned to such lower quality rooms while white guests were routinely assigned to higher quality rooms. If a lower quality room was not available, but higher quality rooms were available, defendants falsely informed African Americans and other minority guests that no rooms were available.
  2. The conduct of Defendants described in Paragraph 9 constitutes a pattern or practice of resistance to the full and equal enjoyment by African Americans and other minorities of rights secured by 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000a et seq., and the pattern or practice is of such a nature and is intended to deny the full exercise of such rights. Unless restrained by Order of this Court, Defendants will continue to refuse to provide African American and other minority individuals with the full and equal enjoyment of rights secured to them by 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000a et seq.
Prayer for Relief

WHEREFORE, the United States requests that the Court enter an Order:

  1. Declaring that the discriminatory practices and policies of the Defendants violate Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000a et seq.;
  2. Enjoining Defendants, their employees, agents, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them, from engaging in any act or practice which, on the basis of race, color or national origin, denies or abridges any rights secured by Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000a et seq.; and
  3. Requiring Defendants, their employees, agents, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to remedy the past unlawful conduct.

The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require, together with the costs and disbursements of this action.


JANET RENO
Attorney General

PAULA J. CASEY
United States Attorney

BILL LANN LEE
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

RICHARD N. PENCE, JR.
Bar #69059
Assistant United States Attorney
425 W. Capitol
Suite 500
Little Rock, AR 72201
(501) 324-5342

JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing & Civil Enforcement Section

JEANINE M. WORDEN
Deputy Chief
JE YON JUNG
NANCY F. LANGWORTHY
Attorneys
Housing & Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, DC 20035-5998
Tel: (202) 305-1457

Document Filed: January 18, 2001 > >

Updated August 6, 2015

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