Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

Ghanashyambhai M. Patel and
Joyitshana G. Patel, d/b/a
Econo-Lodge Motel
     Defendants.

______________________________

COMPLAINT

The United States of America, by and through the undersigned United States Attorney, files this complaint and alleges:

  1. This action is brought by the Attorney General on behalf of the United States of America to enforce Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Public Accommodations Act"), 42 U.S.C. §2000a, pursuant to the provisions of 42 U.S.C. §2000a-5(a).
  2. This Court has jurisdiction of this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §2000a-6(a) and 28 U.S.C. §1345.
  3. The Defendants, Ghanashyambhai M. Patel and Joyitshana P. Patel, own and/or operate the Econo-Lodge Motel, located at 553 N.E. 1st Avenue, Florida City, Florida, which is within the Southern District of Florida.
  4. The Defendants, Ghanashyambhai M. Patel and Joyitshana P. Patel reside within the Southern District of Florida.
  5. The Econo-Lodge is a business establishment that provides lodging facilities to transient guests for a fee.
  6. Econo-Lodge is a "place of public accommodation" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §2000a-(b)(1).
  7. The operations of the Econo-Lodge affect commerce within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §2000a-(c)(1).
  8. The Defendants and their employees and/or agents, have implemented a policy and practice of denying African-American persons, on the basis of their race and color, the full and equal enjoyment of the facilities, services and accommodations of the Econo-Lodge Motel on the same basis as such facilities, services and accommodations are provided to white persons. This policy and practice has been implemented, among other ways, as follows:
    1. Assigning African-American persons to specifically designated rooms and/or areas of the motel because of their race and color;
    2. Refusing to accommodate the preferences of African-American guests in the location and options or other amenities of their hotel room; and
    3. Charging African-American persons a higher price for a room than white persons.
  9. The conduct of the Defendants, as described above in paragraph 8, constitutes a pattern or practice of resistance to the full and equal enjoyment of rights secured to African-American persons by 42 U.S.C. §2000a, et seq. This pattern or practice is of such a nature as to, and is intended to, deny the full exercise of such rights by African-American persons.
  10. Unless restrained by Order of this Court, the Defendants will continue to deny African-Americans the full and equal enjoyment of rights secured to them pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §2000a, et. seq.

WHEREFORE, the United States prays that this Court enter an Order permanently enjoining the Defendants, together with their agents, employees, successors in interest, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them, from:

  1. Failing or refusing to lease rooms at the Econo-Lodge Motel in Florida City, Florida, or any other place of public accommodation owned and/or operated by the Defendants, to African-American persons on the same basis and under the same conditions as such rooms are leased to white persons;
  2. Failing or refusing to ensure that all of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of the Econo-Lodge Motel in Florida City, Florida, or any other place of public accommodation owned and/or operated by the Defendants, to African-American persons on the same basis as they are made available to and used by white persons and under the same conditions as they are made available to and used by white persons;
  3. Engaging in any act or practice, which deprives directly or indirectly any person, on the basis of their race or color, the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of the Econo-lodge Motel in Florida City, Florida, or any other place of public accommodation owned and/or operated by the Defendants, including assigning African-American persons to specifically designated rooms and/or areas of the motel, and charging African-American persons higher rates than is charged white persons; and
  4. Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to eliminate the effects of its past racial discrimination, and to post appropriate notices or otherwise inform the general public that the facilities and services of the Econo-Lodge in Florida City , Florida are available to members of the general public without regard to race or color.

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

Janet Reno
Attorney General

Bill Lann Lee
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

Joan A. Magagna
Chief, Housing & Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
Tel. No.: (202) 514-4713

Thomas E. Scott
United States Attorney

Veronica Harrell-James
Assistant United States Attorney
99 N.E. 4th Street, 6th Floor
Miami, Florida 33132-2111
Fla. Bar No. 644791
Tel. No.: (305) 961-9327
Fax No.: (305) 530-7976 > >

Updated August 6, 2015

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