IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
BOYERS PERSONAL CARE HOMES,
and SARAH GRANT,
The United States of America alleges:
1. This action is brought by the United States on behalf of the Estate of Douglas J. Kirkland and the Beaver County AIDS Service Organization pursuant to subsection 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act ("Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
Jurisdiction and Venue
2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
3. Venue is proper in that the claims alleged herein arose in the Western District of Pennsylvania.
4. At all times relevant, Douglas J. Kirkland was in the end stage of the human immunodeficiency virus ("HIV") and had AIDS. He was a person with a handicap, as defined by 42 U.S.C. § 3602(h). Mr. Kirkland died on February 10, 2003.
5. At all times relevant, the Beaver County AIDS Service Organization (hereinafter referred to as "BCASO") was a non-profit that assists persons with HIV/AIDS in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. It is located at 524 Franklin Ave., Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. Its services include case management to coordinate medical and social services for clients; providing information on HIV/AIDS for prevention and education; and providing food, transportation, emergency financial assistance and social support to persons with HIV/AIDS. Mr. Kirkland was a client of BCASO. Among the services BCASO performed for Mr. Kirkland was searching for housing for him and providing funds to pay for housing.
4. Defendant David R. Boyers, Sr., d/b/a Boyers Personal Care Home, owns and operates a personal care home at 1005 10th St., Beaver Falls (hereinafter "the Home").
5. At all times relevant, defendant Sarah Grant was employed by defendant Boyers and managed the Home.
6. The Home is a dwelling within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b). The Home is licensed by the State of Pennsylvania and provides housing for disabled adults needing "assistance beyond the basic necessities of food and shelter but who do not need hospitalization or skilled or intermediate nursing care," as defined by 55 P.S. § 2620.1.
7. On or about October 4, 2002, BCASO filed a timely complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") pursuant to subsection 810(a) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a). The complaint alleged that defendants Boyers and Grant violated the Act based on handicap.
8. On or about January 14, 2003, Douglas J. Kirkland filed a timely complaint with HUD pursuant to subsection 810(a) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a). The complaint alleged that defendants Boyers and Grant violated the Act by refusing to rent to him based on his handicap.
9. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD conducted and completed an investigation of BCASO's and Kirkland's complaints, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on the 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 May 3, 2004, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination ("Charge") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging Defendants with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Act.
10. On or about May 24, 2004, Defendants elected to have the Charge resolved in a civil action in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
11. Following the election described in the preceding paragraph, on May 25, 2004, the Secretary of HUD authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o). The parties agreed to toll the filing of this Complaint until September 30, 2004.
Fair Housing Claims
12. In January 2002, Mr. Kirkland was living at Friendship Ridge, a nursing home in Beaver, Pennsylvania. On or about January 22, 2002, Jennifer Brady, a social worker at Friendship Ridge, was looking for a place for Mr. Kirkland to live. She telephoned the Home to inquire about a vacancy. Defendant Grant told Ms. Brady that the Home had a room available for rent.
13. On or about January 23, 2002, Ms. Brady spoke by telephone with defendant Boyers. Defendant Boyers said that he had an opening at the Home and that Mr. Kirkland could move in as soon as January 24, 2002. Defendant Boyers faxed an application to Ms. Brady and told her that Mr. Kirkland could bring the completed application with him when he came to the Home.
14. On or about January 25, 2002, Mr. Kirkland went to the Home. Friendship Ridge escort Angela Morendo, who accompanied Mr. Kirkland, gave to defendant Grant Mr. Kirkland's medications and application materials.
15. On or about January 25, 2002, defendants Grant and Boyers refused to rent to Mr. Kirkland. Mr. Boyers said that the Home did not accept AIDS patients.
16. Defendants, through the actions referred to in paragraphs 12 - 15, above, have:
(a) discriminated in the rental of a dwelling or otherwise made unavailable or denied a dwelling to any renter because of a handicap of that renter, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1).
(b) made or caused to be made a statement with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination, or an intent to make such a preference, limitation or discrimination, based on handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c); and
(c) represented to any person because of handicap that a dwelling is not available for rental when such dwelling is in fact available, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(d).
17. The Estate of Mr. Kirkland and BCASO are each an aggrieved person, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and have suffered damages as a result of Defendants' conduct described above.
18. Defendants' discriminatory actions were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of Mr. Kirkland and BCASO.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an ORDER that:
1. Declares that Defendants' discriminatory housing practices, as set forth above, violate the Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-19;
2. Enjoins Defendants, their agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them from discriminating on the basis of handicap against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling; and
3. Awards monetary damages to the Estate of Mr. Kirkland and BCASO , pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c)(1);
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
| MARY BETH BUCHANAN |
United States Attorney
Assistant U.S. Attorney
U.S. Post Office & Courthouse
700 Grant Street Suite 400
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
| R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA|
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division _____________________________
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section _____________________________
NICOLE PORTER, Deputy Chief
KATHLEEN M. PENNINGTON, Trial Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530