Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

Ralph F. Boyd, Jr.
    Assistant Attorney General
Joan A. Magagna
Jeanine M. Worden
S.E. Pietrafesa
    Attorneys
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section - NWB
950 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, D.C. 20530
202-616-2217

Daniel G. Bogden
    United States Attorney
Blaine T. Welsh
    Assistant U.S. Attorney
333 Las Vegas Boulevard
Suite 5000
Las Vegas, NV 89101
702-388-6336
Attorneys for Plaintiff


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

                                           Plaintiff,
                                                                                            Civil Action No.
               v.

WILMARK DEVELOPMENT CO.;                                   COMPLAINT
MARK SCHMIDT CONSTRUCTION;
WLW of NEVADA, INC.; DE LUNA,
INC.; and GREEN VALLEY COUNTRY                           JURY DEMAND
CLUB LIMITED PARTNERSHIP,

                                            Defendants.

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 (Fair Housing Act), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619. It is brought on behalf of the Nevada Fair Housing Council, Inc. (NFHC), pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), as well as pursuant to Section 814(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).

2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).

3. Green Valley Country Club Apartments (Green Valley) is a residential dwelling complex located at 1770 North Green Valley Parkway in Henderson, Nevada, in the District of Nevada. Green Valley consists of nineteen buildings containing 204 units, 102 of which are located on the ground floor. All the units at Green Valley were designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991.

4. Green Valley's 204 units are "dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

5. All of the 102 ground floor units at Green Valley are "covered multi-family dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (f)(7)(A).

6. All of the ground floor units at Green Valley are subject to the accessibility requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

PARTIES

7. Defendant Wilmark Development Company is a Nevada corporation with its principal place of business in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wilmark was the owner, developer, and architect of Green Valley.

8. Defendant Mark Schmidt Construction is a contractor licensed by the State of Nevada with its principal place of business in San Diego, California. Schmidt was responsible for the construction of Green Valley.

9. Defendant WLW of Nevada, Inc. is the architectural firm that designed Green Valley.

10. Defendant De Luna, Inc. whose principal place of business is in Las Vegas, Nevada, provided the civil engineering services for and designed Green Valley.

11. Defendant Green Valley Country Club Limited Partnership, LLP is a Nevada limited partnership whose principal place of business is in Scottsdale, Arizona. Green Valley Country Club Limited Partnership, LLP owns Green Valley.

Count I

12. Plaintiff re-alleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-11, above.

13. NFHC is a non-profit Nevada corporation located in Las Vegas, Nevada. One of its specific purposes and goals is the promotion of equal opportunity in the rental of housing and the elimination of all forms of illegal housing discrimination.

14. On or about August 2, 2001, NFHC filed a timely complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging discrimination in housing on the basis of handicap. In its complaint, NFHC alleged that Green Valley was not designed and constructed in accordance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.

15. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a), (b) & (f), the Secretary of HUD conducted and completed an investigation of the complaint filed by NFHC, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on information gathered during the investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause existed to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred. Accordingly, on or about October 2, 2002, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging the defendants with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

16. On or about October 9, 2002, NFHC elected to have the Charge of Discrimination resolved in a civil action filed in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).

17. On or about October 10, 2002, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election of Judicial Determination and terminated the administrative proceeding on the complaint filed by NFHC.

18. Following this Notice of Election, the Secretary of HUD authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

19. Defendants Wilmark Development Co., Mark Schmidt Construction, WLW of Nevada Inc., and De Luna Inc. have failed to design and construct Green Valley so that:

  1. the public use and common use portions are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities;
  2. all doors within the ground-floor units are sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons with disabilities who use wheelchairs; and
  3. all of the ground floor units contain the following features: (i) an accessible route into and through the dwelling; (ii) electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations; (iii) reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and iv) usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual using a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.

20. Defendants Wilmark Development Co., Mark Schmidt Construction, WLW of Nevada Inc., and De Luna Inc., through the actions referred to in the preceding paragraph, have:

  1. Discriminated in the rental, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, dwellings to persons because of handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1);
  2. Discriminated against persons in the terms, conditions or privileges of rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection with a dwelling, because of handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(2); and
  3. Failed to design and construct dwellings in compliance with the accessibility and adaptability features mandated by 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

21. NFHC is an aggrieved person, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and has suffered damages as a result of the conduct of defendants Wilmark Development Co., Mark Schmidt Construction, WLW of Nevada Inc., and De Luna Inc., described above.

22. The discriminatory actions of defendants Wilmark Development Co., Mark Schmidt Construction, WLW of Nevada Inc., and De Luna Inc. were intentional, willful and taken in disregard for the rights of the NFHC and others.

23. Defendant Green Valley Country Club Limited Partnership, LLP, controls access to the individual dwelling units and the common and public use areas of Green Valley and is a necessary party for complete relief.

COUNT II

24. Plaintiff re-alleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-11, and 13-23 above.

25. The conduct of defendants Wilmark Development Co., Mark Schmidt Construction, WLW of Nevada Inc., and De Luna Inc. described in paragraph 19 and 20 constitutes:

  1. A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619; and
  2. A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619, which denial raises an issue of general public importance.

26. In addition to NFHC, there may be other victims of the discriminatory actions of defendants Wilmark Development Co., Mark Schmidt Construction, WLW of Nevada Inc., and De Luna Inc., who are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i). Such persons may have suffered actual injury and damages as a result of the above actions and practices.

27. The discriminatory actions of defendants Wilmark Development Co., Mark Schmidt Construction, WLW of Nevada Inc., and De Luna Inc. were intentional, willful and taken in disregard for the rights of NFHC and other victims of this discrimination.

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

1. Declares that the policies and practices of defendants Wilmark Development Co., Mark Schmidt Construction, WLW of Nevada Inc., and De Luna Inc., as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act;

2. Enjoins defendants Wilmark Development Co., Mark Schmidt Construction, WLW of Nevada Inc., and De Luna Inc., their officers, employees, agents, successors and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from:

  1. Failing or refusing to bring the 102 ground-floor units and public use and common use areas at Green Valley into compliance with 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C);
  2. Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, the victims of the defendants' unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct; and
  3. Designing or constructing covered multifamily dwellings in the future that do not contain the accessibility and adaptability features required by 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C);

3. Enjoins Green Valley Country Club Limited Partnership, LLP, to allow access to the common and public use areas and the individual dwelling units at Green Valley, and to take any other actions appropriate to ensure that any retrofits required to bring the complex into compliance with the accessibility provisions of the Fair Housing Act can be made in a prompt and efficient manner.

4. Awards such damages, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3), 3613(c)(1),and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B), to fully compensate each person aggrieved by the discriminatory housing practices of defendants Wilmark Development Co., Mark Schmidt Construction, WLW of Nevada Inc., and De Luna Inc., including NFHC, for injuries resulting from the defendants' discriminatory conduct;

5. Awards punitive damages, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3), 3613(c)(1),and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B), to each person aggrieved by the discriminatory housing practices of defendants Wilmark Development Co., Mark Schmidt Construction, WLW of Nevada Inc., and De Luna Inc., including NFHC;

6. Assesses a civil penalty against defendants Wilmark Development Co., Mark Schmidt Construction, WLW of Nevada Inc., and De Luna Inc. in an amount authorized by 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C) and 28 C.F.R. 85.3(b)(3), in order to vindicate the public interest.

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


John Ashcroft
Attorney General







Daniel G. Bogden
United States Attorney
District of Nevada

____________________________
Blaine T. Welsh
Assistant United States
Attorney
333 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Suite 5000
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
702-328-6336

____________________________
Ralph F. Boyd, Jr.
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

____________________________
Joan A. Magagna
Chief, Housing & Civil
Enforcement Section

____________________________
Jeanine M. Worden
Deputy Chief
S.E. Pietrafesa
Trial Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing & Civil Enforcement
Section - NWB
950 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20530
202-616-2217


Document Filed: November 7, 2002 > >
Updated August 6, 2015

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