Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF IDAHO


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

No. CV 97-0603-N-RHW

DUANE B. HAGADONE and
FRAN I. GOFF,
     Defendants.

______________________________


CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT

The United States of America alleges:

  1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce the provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act), as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619. It is brought on behalf of James and Robin Neil and their son Cameron, Matthew Smith and his sons, and the Idaho Fair Housing Council pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act ("the Act"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), as well as pursuant to Section 814(a) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
  2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o) & 3614(a).
  3. Defendants Duane B. Hagadone and Fran I. Goff are residents of the District of Idaho. At all relevant times, Defendant Duane B. Hagadone owned the Lake Villa Apartments, 2501 Sherman, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, in the District of Idaho. At all relevant times, Defendant Fran I. Goff was the resident manager at Lake Villa Apartments.
  4. The apartments in Lake Villa Apartments are dwellings within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
  5. James and Robin Neil are husband and wife, the parents of Cameron Neil, and are residents of the District of Idaho.
  6. Matthew Smith is the father of Landon, Aaron, and Damon Smith, and is a resident of the District of Idaho.
  7. The Idaho Fair Housing Council is a nonprofit organization that promotes fair housing practices for housing providers and consumers throughout Idaho.
  8. Prior to 1989, Lake Villa Apartments was operated as an adult only apartment complex. Beginning in approximately 1989, Defendants claimed to abandon their policy of maintaining Lake Villa as an all adult complex. However, in place of their adult only policy, Defendants have adopted and enforced an occupancy policy limiting occupancy of one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments at Lake Villa Apartments to two persons. This policy was adopted for the purpose and with the effect of excluding families with children from Lake Villa Apartments.
  9. On or about October 2, 1995, Robin Neil inquired of Defendant Fran I. Goff about the availability of two-bedroom apartments at Lake Villa Apartments for herself, her husband, and her child. Defendant Goff declined to permit the Neils to apply for an apartment, stating that because the Neils wanted to occupy a unit with three persons, they could not live at Lake Villa Apartments. In addition, at least three other married couples who had a baby while living at Lake Villa Apartments were forced to leave the complex once Defendants learned of the babies because of the Defendants' occupancy standards.
  10. Defendants have also adopted and enforced rules prohibiting the use of the clubhouse at Lake Villa Apartments by children, and severely limiting the times which children may use the swimming pool at Lake Villa Apartments. These rules were in effect for an unknown period of time, including the period from August, 1995, through January, 1997.
  11. From August, 1995, through October, 1997, Matthew Smith lived in an apartment at Lake Villa Apartments. During this period, Matthew Smith's children visited him periodically pursuant to a shared custody arrangement.
  12. Matthew Smith and his children experienced numerous and frequent problems with Defendants' agents as a result of Defendants' enforcement of the rules restricting use of the facilities by children.
  13. James and Robin Neil and Matthew Smith independently contacted Idaho Fair Housing Council for assistance with their problems resulting from Defendants' policies at Lake Villa Apartments.
  14. Idaho Fair Housing Council diverted resources from its other activities to assist James and Robin Neil and Matthew Smith and their families.
FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF
  1. Plaintiff re-alleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-14 above.
  2. On or about July 11, 1996, James and Robin Neil filed a timely complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (hereinafter HUD) pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging that Defendants discriminated in housing because of familial status. In their complaint, the Neils alleged that on or about October 2, 1995, Defendants engaged in unlawful discrimination because of familial status by refusing the Neils' application to rent an apartment at Lake Villa Apartments because of Defendants' policy of limiting occupancy to two persons in an apartment.
  3. On or about January 31, 1997, the director of the Idaho Fair Housing Council filed a timely complaint with HUD pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a)), alleging that Defendants discriminated in housing because of familial status. In its complaint, the Idaho Fair Housing Council alleges that its purpose of eliminating discrimination had been frustrated and its resources expended because of discriminatory rules at Lake Villa Apartments.
  4. On or about February 25, 1997, Matthew Smith filed a timely complaint with HUD pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging that Defendants discriminated in housing because of familial status. In his complaint, Michael Smith alleges Defendants' rules discriminate because of familial status.
  5. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) & (b), the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development conducted and completed an investigation of the complaints filed by James and Robin Neil, the Idaho Fair Housing Council, and Matthew Smith, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on information gathered in the investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause exists to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred. Accordingly, on November 6, 1997, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging Defendants with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
  6. On or about November 25, 1997, complainant Idaho Fair Housing Council elected to have the Charge resolved in a civil action filed in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
  7. On November 25, 1997, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election of Judicial Determination and terminated the administrative proceeding on the complaints filed by James and Robin Neil, the Idaho Fair Housing Council, and Matthew Smith.
  8. Following this Notice of Election, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
  9. Defendants, through the actions referred to in paragraphs 8 through 14, have:
    1. refused to rent, or to negotiate for the rental of, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, a dwelling because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
    2. discriminated in the terms, conditions or privilege of the rental of a dwelling because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b); and
    3. made, or caused to be made, statements with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation or discrimination because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).
  10. James and Robin Neil and their son, the Idaho Fair Housing Council, and Matthew Smith and his sons are aggrieved persons, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and have suffered damages as a result of the Defendants' conduct described above.
  11. The discriminatory actions of Defendants were intentional, willful and taken in disregard for the rights of James and Robin Neil and their son, the Idaho Fair Housing Council, and Matthew Smith and his sons.
SECOND CLAIM FOR RELIEF
  1. Plaintiff re-alleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-14 and 23 above.
  2. The conduct of Defendants described in paragraphs 8-14, above, constitutes
    1. A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights secured by Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619; and
    2. A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619, which denial raises an issue of general public importance.
  3. In addition to James and Robin Neil and their son, the Idaho Fair Housing Council, and Matthew Smith and his sons, there are other victims of Defendants' discriminatory actions and practices who are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i). All of these persons may have suffered actual injury and damages as a result of the above actions and practices.
  4. The discriminatory actions of Defendants were intentional, willful and taken in disregard for the rights of James and Robin Neil and their son, the Idaho Fair Housing Council, and Matthew Smith and his sons, and the other victims of this discrimination.

WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the court enter an ORDER that:

  1. Declares that the discriminatory housing practices of the Defendants as set forth above violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619;
  2. Enjoins Defendants, their agents, employees, successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them from discriminating because of familial status against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling;
  3. Awards such damages as would fully compensate James and Robin Neil and their son, the Idaho Fair Housing Council, and Matthew Smith and his sons for injuries caused by Defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3), 3613(c)(1) and 3614(d)(1)(B); and
  4. Awards punitive damages to James and Robin Neil and their son, the Idaho Fair Housing Council, and Matthew Smith and his sons pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3), 3613(c)(1) & 3614(d)(1)(B).
  5. Awards such actual damages as would fully compensate each other identifiable victim of Defendants' discriminatory housing practices for the injury suffered as a result of these discriminatory practices, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B);
  6. Awards punitive damages to each other identifiable victim of Defendants' discriminatory housing practices, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B); and
  7. Assesses a civil penalty against Defendants in order to vindicate the public interest, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C).

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

JANET RENO
Attorney General

By:

BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistant Attorney General

JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Acting Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section

JOSEPH D. RICH
CLAY G. GUTHRIDGE
Attorneys
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
Tel.: 202-514-4746

BETTY H. RICHHARDSON
United States Attorney

D. MARC HAWS
Assistant United States Attorney
Attorney
First Interstate Center
877 W. Main St., Ste 201,
Boise, Idaho 83702
Tel.: 208-334-1211 > >

Updated August 6, 2015

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