Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

BRADLEY J. SCHLOZMAN
Acting Assistant Attorney General
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM, Chief
TIMOTHY J. MORAN, Deputy Chief
MICHALYN STEELE, Attorney
Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Northwestern Building, 7th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20530
Phone: (202) 353-9331
Fax: (202) 514-1116

THOMAS E. MOSS, ISB No. 1058
United States Attorney
NICHOLAS J. WOYCHICK, ISB No. 3912
Assistant United States Attorney
MK Plaza, Plaza IV
800 Park Blvd., Suite 600
Boise, ID 83712-9903
Phone: (208) 334-1211
Fax: (208) 334-1413

Attorneys for Plaintiff
United States of America

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF IDAHO

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

           Plaintiff,

BRUCE W. HALL d/b/a ASPEN
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT; and
KENNETH HOPKIN,

           Defendants.

Case No.: 04-358-E-BLW

CONSENT DECREE

____________________________________

1. The United States filed this action July 7, 2004, to enforce the provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act), as amended by the Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. Specifically, the United States filed the action against the defendants on behalf of Robyn White, and her children, Jamie Lewis, Scott Lewis, and Bryce White, pursuant to section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended 42 U.S.C. §3612(o).

2. Defendant Kenneth Hopkin owns the subject property offered for rent, a four-bedroom, two-bath single- family house and yard located at 1674 Juniper Street, Idaho Falls, Idaho. Defendant Bruce W. Hall managed and was the rental agent for the subject property pursuant to an agreement with Defendant Hopkin.

3. Defendants admit the following facts:

  1. On or about August 11, 2003, Robyn White filled out an application to reside at the subject property with her three minor children and her friend, Brandy Phelps;
  2. On or before August 19, 2003, Defendant Hall told Ms. White that he would not rent the house to her because the owner wanted to rent the house to "a family." He said that by "a family" he meant "a husband, wife, and kids."
  3. On August 19, 2003, Defendant Hall told a representative from the Intermountain Fair Housing Council in a telephonic interview that the owner wanted a "full-fledged family" in the house, and that by that Hall meant "husband, a wife, kids."
  4. On September 18, 2003, Defendant Hall told a HUD investigator in a telephonic interview that he wanted to eliminate past problems he had encountered with single-mothers with children, by putting a family in the house that had a male figure, or words to that effect.
  5. On October 6, 2003, Defendant Hall told a HUD investigator in a telephonic interview that a married family with a husband, wife, and kids is more responsible than a single mother and her children.
  6. On October 6, 2003, Defendant Hall told a HUD investigator in a telephonic interview that the owner of the house would be happier with a family with a husband, wife, and children, or words to that effect.

4. Defendants admit that the conduct described above violated section 804 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3604.

5. Defendant Hopkin admits that Defendant Hall made these statements but denies that he authorized Hall to adopt or enforce such a policy.

6. The parties have agreed that in order to avoid costly and protracted litigation, this controversy should be resolved without a trial. Accordingly, the parties consent to the entry of this Decree, as indicated by the signatures appearing below.

I.     GENERAL INJUNCTION

7. The defendants, their officers, agents, employees, and all persons in active concert or participation with them are enjoined, with respect to the rental of any dwellings as defined by 42 U.S.C. §3602(b), from:

  1. Refusing to rent, or to negotiate for the rental of, or otherwise making unavailable or denying, a dwelling to any person because of sex, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
  2. Discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of sex, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b); and,
  3. Making, or causing to be made, statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on sex, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).
  4. Coercing, intimidating, threatening, or interfering with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected by the Fair Housing Act in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3617.

II.    AFFIRMATIVE RELIEF

8. Defendants shall within 30 days of the entry of this Order post and prominently display in the rental office and in any other office where there is rental activity and/or personal contact with applicants for the rental of dwellings from the defendants, a poster no smaller than 11 inches by 14 inches that indicates that all dwellings are available for rent on a nondiscriminatory basis. The poster(s) shall comply with the requirements set out at 24 C.F.R. Part 110, also found at: http://www.hud.gov/library/bookshelf15/hudgraphics/fheologo.cfm.

9. Defendants shall within 30 days of the entry of this Order include the words "Equal Housing Opportunity" or the fair housing logo in all advertising conducted by the defendants in newspapers, telephone directories, radio or other media, and on all signs, pamphlets, brochures, and other promotional literature. The words or logo shall be prominently placed and easily legible.

10. Defendants shall within 30 days of the entry of the Order revise their rental application materials to eliminate the requirement that an applicant provide "husband's employment" and "wife's employment." The applications may require that an applicant provide applicant's employment information, and, "if applicable, spouse's employment" information.

11. Defendants shall include the following phrase in all revised rental and lease applications in bold, and using letters of at least equal size to those of the text in the body of the document:

We are an equal housing opportunity provider. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, handicap or familial status (having children under age 18);

12. Defendants shall send an example of the revised rental applications to counsel for the United States within 45 days of the entry of this Order.

III.     MANDATORY EDUCATION AND TRAINING

13. Within 30 days of the date of entry of this Order, defendants shall provide a copy of this Order to all their agents and employees involved in the rental or management of dwellings and secure the signed statement from each agent or employee acknowledging that he or she has received and read the Order. This statement shall be substantially in the form of Appendix B.

14. During the term of this Order, within 30 days after the date he or she commences an agency or employment relationship with the defendants, each new agent or employee involved in the rental or management of dwellings shall be given a copy of this Order and be required to sign a statement acknowledging that he or she has received and read the Order. This statement shall be substantially in the form of Appendix B.

15. Within 90 days of the date of entry of this Order, defendants Bruce W. Hall and Kenneth Hopkin shall undergo training on the provisions of the Fair Housing Act, with particular emphasis on provisions relating to discrimination on the basis of sex. The training shall be conducted by a qualified third party unconnected to defendants or their employees, agents, or counsel. Defendants shall provide to the United States, within 30 days after the training, the name(s), address(es) and telephone number(s) of the trainer(s) and certifications executed by the trainers confirming their attendance.

IV.     COMPENSATION OF AND APOLOGY TO AGGRIEVED PERSONS

16. The defendants shall pay to Robyn White and her children the sum of five thousand dollars ($5,000) as aggrieved persons within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, provided that no amount shall be paid pursuant to this paragraph before Robyn White shall have executed a written release on behalf of herself and her three children (substantially in the form of Appendix A) of all claims, legal or equitable, that she might have against the defendants relating to the claims asserted in this lawsuit. The defendants shall send the check for this amount made out to Robyn White to Civil Rights Division Attorney Michalyn Steele within 15 days after the date of entry of this Order.

17. Within ten (10) days of the date of entry of this Order, Defendant Bruce W. Hall shall issue a formal letter of apology to Robyn White and her children, signed by Defendant Bruce W. Hall, substantially similar in form to the letter attached in Appendix C. Defendant Hall shall mail a copy of the signed letter to counsel for the United States within three (3) days of transmitting it to Robyn White.

V.     RECORD KEEPING AND REPORTING

18. During the term of this Order, the defendants shall retain all rental records maintained in the normal course of their business(es) - including, but not limited to, inquiry logs, rental applications, tenant files, and all records relating to actual or threatened evictions - created from the date of the entry of this Consent Order. Upon request and reasonable notice, the defendants shall produce or permit representatives of the United States to review any such records in the possession or control of the defendants, or their agents, employees, or representatives.

19. During the term of this Order, the defendants shall give counsel for the United States written notice within 15 days of the receipt of any written or oral complaint against the defendants regarding discrimination on the basis of sex or unlawful retaliation, and a description of the resolution of any such complaint within 15 days of resolution. If the complaint is written, the defendants shall provide a copy of it with the notice; if the complaint is oral, they shall include a written summary of it with the notice. The notice shall include the full details of the complaint, including the complainant's name, address and telephone number. The defendants shall also promptly provide the United States all information it may request concerning any such complaint and its actual or attempted resolution.

VI.     COURT JURISDICTION, SCOPE AND TERM OF CONSENT ORDER

20. The Parties have consented to the entry of this Order as indicated by the signatures below. To this end, the Parties stipulate and the Court finds that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§1331 and 1345 and 42 U.S.C. §3612(o). This Consent Order is effective immediately upon its entry by the Court.

21. The Court shall retain jurisdiction over this action and over the defendants for three years from the date of entry of this Consent Order to enforce the terms of the Order, after which time the case shall be dismissed with prejudice. The United States may move the Court to extend the duration of the Order if it determines that the defendants have violated one or more terms of the Order or if the interests of justice otherwise require.

22. The parties to this Consent Order shall endeavor in good faith to resolve informally any differences regarding interpretation of and compliance with this Order prior to bringing such matters to the Court for resolution. However, in the event of a failure by the defendants to perform in a timely manner any act required by this Consent Order or otherwise to act in violation of any provision thereof, the United States may move this Court to impose any remedy authorized by law or equity, including, but not limited to, an order requiring performance of such act or deeming such act to have been performed, and an award of any damages, costs, and reasonable attorneys' fees which may have been occasioned by the violation or failure to perform.

So ORDERED this ____ day of _________________ , 2005.

_____________________________________________
Chief Judge B. LYNN WINMILL
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

The undersigned hereby apply for and consent to the entry of this Order:

For the Defendants:

_________________________
BRUCE W. HALL
Defendant
3457 E 650 N
Menan, ID 83434

________________________
STEVEN L. OLSEN
Attorney for Defendant Bruce W. Hall
HUNTLEY PARK, LLP
250 So. 5th St., Suite 660
Boise, ID 83701
phone: (208) 388-1230 fax: (208) 345-7894

__________________________
KENNETH HOPKIN
2592 Parkview Lane
Idaho Falls, ID 83404
phone: (208) 524-5275
fax: (208) 528-7212

For the Plaintiffs:

BRADLEY J. SCHLOZMAN
Acting Assistant Attorney General

_________________________
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief
Timothy J. Moran
Deputy Chief
Michalyn Steele
Attorney
Housing and Civil Enforcement
Section
Civil Rights Division
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
The Northwestern Building, Seventh Floor
Washington, DC 20530
(202) 514-4713


APPENDIX A

R E L E A S E

In consideration of the agreement by Bruce W. Hall and Kenneth Hopkin (the defendants) to enter into the Consent Decree in United States v. Bruce W. Hall, et al, United States District Court, District of Idaho, Case No. CV-04-358-E-BLW, and to pay to me the sum of $5,000,

I, Robyn White, hereby release, acquit and discharge the defendants, their partners, agents and employees, from any and all liability for any claims and damages, including any attorneys' fees and costs, that I or my three children, Jamie Lewis, Scott Lewis, and Bryce White may have against defendants arising from the events alleged in the Complaint of the United States in United States v. Bruce W. Hall, et al, United States District Court, District of Idaho, Case No. CV-04-358-E-BLW.

I fully acknowledge and agree that this Release shall be binding on my heirs, representatives, executors, successors, administrators and assigns. I represent that I have not assigned or otherwise transferred to any person, firm, or other entity not a signatory to this Release any right, claim or cause of action against the defendants.

I hereby acknowledge that I have read and understand this Release and that its consequences have been explained to me by counsel for the United States. I have executed the same voluntarily and with full knowledge of its legal consequences.

Signed: ____________________________

Dated: ____________________________

County of _______________________
State of Idaho

Subscribed and sworn before me this ____ day of ________________ , 200_.

___________________________
Notary Public

My commission expires: _________________ .


APPENDIX B

STATEMENT OF RECEIPT AND UNDERSTANDING OF
CONSENT DECREE AND FAIR HOUSING ACT

I, ______________________________, hereby acknowledge that I have received copies of and read the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619, and the Consent Decree entered by the United States District Court for the District of Idaho in United States v. Bruce W. Hall, et al, Case No. CV-04-358-E-BLW.

I understand my obligation under these documents not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or handicap in making dwellings available for sale or for rental.

I agree to comply with the Fair Housing Act and the Court's Order. I fully understand my legal obligations under the Fair Housing Act and the Order, and I am aware that my failure or refusal to adhere to them could result in possible sanctions against me.

Signed: ____________________________

Dated: ____________________________

County of __________________________
State of Idaho

Subscribed and sworn before me this ___ day of ____________, 200_.

____________________________________
Notary Public

My commission expires: _______________ .

APPENDIX C

LETTER OF APOLOGY TO ROBYN WHITE AND HER CHILDREN

Dear Ms. White, Jamie, Scott, and Bryce,

Please accept my apology for any inconvenience and distress caused by my refusal to rent the property at 1674 Juniper Street in Idaho Falls to your family. My actions in refusing to rent to you were wrong. I want to assure you that I accept that single-mother lead families are indeed, real families, and that I have committed not to discriminate against women in housing in the future. I am committed to complying with the federal Fair Housing Act's prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex.

Sincerely,

________________________________
Bruce W. Hall, Aspen Property Management


Document Filed: > >
Updated August 6, 2015

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