FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
MARY SAWICKI, FRANK SAWICKI,
individually and doing
business as SAWICKI REALTY,
The United States of America alleges:
- This action is brought by the United States on behalf of Tracy Parrott and her minor child pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
- This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
- Defendants Mary and Frank Sawicki are residents of the District of Massachusetts. At all relevant times, Defendant Mary Sawicki was the President, and Defendant Frank Sawicki was the Treasurer, of Sawicki Realty, Inc., located in Three Rivers, Massachusetts.
- At all relevant times, Sawicki Realty, Inc. served as rental agent for Bolac Skowron, the owner of a two-bedroom apartment in a two-family house located on Orchard Street in Palmer, Massachusetts.
- At all relevant times, Defendant Frank Sawicki owned an apartment on Front Street in Three Rivers, Massachusetts.
- At all relevant times, Defendant Frank Sawicki owned an apartment on Kelly Street in Three Rivers, Massachusetts.
- Tracy Parrott and her minor child are residents of the State of Massachusetts.
- The apartments on Orchard Street, Kelly Street, and Front Street are "dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
- On or about September 2, 1999, Tracy Parrott answered an advertisement for a second floor apartment in a two family house listed in the Palmer Journal by calling Sawicki Realty, Inc. Ms. Parrott spoke to Ms. Sawicki and asked if the apartment was available.
- Defendant Mary Sawicki refused to rent the unit to Tracy Parrott because she has a child.
- Shortly thereafter, the Housing Discrimination Project, a fair housing discrimination organization, conducted fair housing testing to ascertain Sawicki Realty's rental practices with regards to families with children.
- In conversations with fair housing testers on September 6, 7, 11, and 14, Defendant Sawickis indicated that the Orchard Street apartment would not be rented to families with children because it contained lead paint.
- Defendants refused to rent the apartments on Front Street and Kelly Street to Tracy Parrott because she has a child under the age of six.
- The United States re-alleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-13 above.
- On or about February 23, 2000, Tracy Parrott filed a timely complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) alleging that Defendants had discriminated against her and her minor child because of familial status.
- 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 complaint filed by Tracy Parrott. 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 or about December 13, 2000, 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.
- On or about December 19, 2000, Defendants Mary and Frank Sawicki elected to have the Charge resolved in a civil action filed in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
- On December 20, 2000, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election of Judicial Determination and terminated the administrative proceeding on the complaints filed by Tracy Parrott.
- 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).
- Defendants, through the actions referred to above, have:
- 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);
- 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); and
- represented to individuals, because of familial status, that dwellings were not available for inspection or rental when such dwellings were in fact so available, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(d).
- Tracy Parrott and her minor daughter are aggrieved persons, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and have suffered damages as a result of the Defendants' discriminatory conduct described above.
- The discriminatory actions of Defendants were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of Tracy Parrott and her minor child.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an ORDER that:
- Declares that the discriminatory housing practices of Defendants as set forth above violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619;
- Enjoins the Defendants, their agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from discriminating on the basis of familial status against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling;
- Awards such damages as would fully compensate Tracy Parrott and her child for injuries caused by Defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c)(1); and
- Awards punitive damages to Tracy Parrott and her child 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.
|JANET RENO |
DONALD K. STERN
United States Attorney
BILL LANN LEE
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
Assistant United States Attorney
Federal Building and Courthouse
1550 Main St., Rm. 310
Springfield, MA 01103
Tel: (413) 785-0269
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing & Civil Enforcement Section
ISABELLE M. THABAULT
RIGEL C. OLIVERI
Housing & Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, DC 20035-5998
Tel: (202) 305-3109
Fax: (202) 514-1116
Documents Filed: January 18, 2001 > >