Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

HAL CARTER; PRISCILLA
CARTER; LISA BUCKLEY; HAL
CARTER RENTAL, LP; and HAL
CARTER CONSTRUCTION CO.,
     Defendants.

____________________________________


COMPLAINT

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.
  2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. §1345 and 42 U.S.C. §3614.
  3. Defendants Hal Carter Rental, LP and Hal Carter Con-struction Co. are Georgia business entities engaged in the ownership and\or management of both single-family and multi-family residential rental housing units in and around Sylvester, Georgia, located within the Middle District of Georgia. Both businesses have their offices in Sylvester.
  4. Defendant Hal Carter is the owner and/or chief operating officer of the defendants Hal Carter Rental, LP and Hal Carter Construction Company. The defendants Hal and Priscilla Carter actively participate in, and benefit from, the rental of the dwellings owned and managed by the defendants. The Carters live in Sylvester, Georgia.
  5. At all times relevant to the matters alleged in this Complaint, defendant Lisa Buckley has been a rental agent or manager for the other defendants. Her employment respon-sibilities include those relating to the rental of residential dwellings owned by the other defendants.
  6. The apartments and single-family homes available for rent which are owned and/or managed by the defendants - in-cluding, inter alia, the Lakeview Apartments and the loft apart-ments at the renovated Woolard Hotel - are dwellings within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act. 42 U.S.C. §3602(b).
  7. Under the Fair Housing Act, "familial status" is defined as one or more individuals under the age of 18 years domiciled with a parent or other person having legal custody or the written designee of such person. 42 U.S.C. §3602(k).
  8. The United States, through the Department of Justice, conducted an investigation of the defendants' rental policies and practices to evaluate their compliance with the Fair Housing Act. As part of this investigation, the United States conducted a series of tests at the defendants' rental office between Septem-ber and November, 2000, using testers to compare the information provided and the services and treatment afforded by the defen-dants to different types of prospective renters. Testers are persons who, without the intent to rent an apartment or buy a house, gather information about housing for rent or sale in order to help determine whether or not discriminatory housing practices are occurring.
  9. The United States' investigation revealed that since at least September, 2000, the defendants have been engaged in dis-criminatory housing practices, including:
    1. Making unavailable or denying dwellings to persons because of familial status, by means including discouraging families with children under the age of 18 from applying for rental units at the Woolard or denying rental units at that location to such families;
    2. Discriminating against persons in connection with the privileges of the sale or rental of dwellings because of familial status, by means including denying families with children under the age of 18 the privilege of considering the rental of apartments at or having the opportunity to occupy rental units at the Woolard;
    3. Making statements with respect to the rental of dwel-lings that indicate a preference, limitation, or dis-crimination based on familial status, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination, by means including (a)repeated statements that the rental units at the Woolard are not suitable for children and that it is not a place for children, (b) statements that certain rental units are reserved for older persons, and (c) statements that they are avoiding renting to households with children; and
    4. Representing to persons because of familial status that dwellings are not available for inspection or rental when they are in fact so available, by means including only informing prospective applicants of the Woolard rental units after determining that they have no children.
  10. The conduct of the defendants, including that described in Paragraph 9, constitutes discrimination against persons be-cause of familial status in the rental of dwellings in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as follows:
    1. A refusal to rent or otherwise make unavailable or deny dwellings to persons because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(a);
    2. Discrimination against persons in the privileges of the rental of dwellings, and in the provision of services in connection therewith, because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(b);
    3. The making of statements with respect to the rental of dwellings that indicates a preference, limitation, or dis-crimination on the basis of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(c); and
    4. The representation to persons because of familial status that dwellings are not available for inspection or rental when such dwellings are in fact so available, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(d).
  11. The conduct of the defendants as described above constitutes:
    1. A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoy- ment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§3601 et seq.; and
    2. A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§3601 et seq., which denial raises an issue of general public importance.
  12. As a result of the defendants' discriminatory conduct, there are persons who have suffered economic loss, emotional distress, humiliation, and/or embarrassment. Such persons are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. §3602(i).
  13. Defendants' conduct described above was intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of others.

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

  1. Declares that the defendants' rental policies and practices, as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act;
  2. Enjoins all defendants, their employees and agents, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from:
    1. Discriminating because of familial status against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling;
    2. Failing or refusing to notify the public that dwellings owned or operated by defendants are available to all persons on a nondiscriminatory basis;
    3. Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, the victims of defendants' unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct; and
    4. Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to prevent the recurrence of any dis- criminatory conduct in the future and to eliminate, to the extent practicable, the effects of the defendants' unlawful housing practices.
  3. Awards such damages as would fully compensate each person aggrieved by defendants' discriminatory housing practices for injuries caused by the defendants' pattern or practice of discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3614(d)(1)(B);
  4. Awards each person aggrieved by the defendants' pattern or practice of discrimination punitive damages because of the intentional and willful nature of the defendants' conduct, pur-suant to 42 U.S.C. §3614(d)(1)(B); and
  5. Assesses a civil penalty against each defendant in an amount authorized by 42 U.S.C. §3614(d)(1)(C) in order to vin-dicate the public interest.

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

JOHN D. ASHCROFT
Attorney General
FRANK MAXWELL WOOD
United States Attorney
RALPH F. BOYD, JR.
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing and Civil
Enforcement Section
H. RANDOLPH ADERHOLD
Assistant United States
Attorney
433 Cherry Street
Macon, Georgia 31201
(912)752-3511
ISABELLE M. THABAULT
BURTIS M. DOUGHERTY
Attorneys
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement
Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Northwestern Building, 7th Floor
(202)514-4737

Document Filed: July 8, 2002. > >

Updated August 6, 2015

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