UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
CHANDLER GARDENS REALTY, INC.,
and DEBRA PACHECO,
The United States initiated this action against the defendants on January 21, 2003, on behalf of Gina Lavallee pursuant to § 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o). The complaint alleges that the defendants had discriminated against Ms. Lavallee on the basis of familial status in connection with the rental of an apartment at Chandler Gardens Apartments, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§3604(a), (b) and (c).
The Parties have agreed to the entry of this Consent Order to resolve all claims of the United States against the defendants and to avoid further expenses and the uncertainties of litigation. By entering into this Consent Order, the defendants do not admit to any violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§3601, et seq.
I. GENERAL INJUNCTION
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:
A. Refusing to rent, or to negotiate for the rental of, or otherwise making unavailable or denying, a dwelling to any person because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
B. 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 familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b); and,
C. Making, or causing to be made, statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on familial status, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).
II. AFFIRMATIVE RELIEF
A. Defendants shall within 30 days of the entry of this Order post and prominently display in any 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 in 24 C.F.R. Part 110.
B. 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.
III. MANDATORY EDUCATION AND TRAINING
A. 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 Attachment A.
B. 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 Attachment A.
C. Within 90 days of the date of entry of this Order, defendant Debra Pacheco shall undergo training on the provisions of the Fair Housing Act pertaining to discrimination on the basis of familial status. 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 her attendance.
IV. COMPENSATION OF AGGRIEVED PERSONS
The defendants shall pay to Gina Lavallee the sum of eighteen thousand dollars ($18,000.00) as an aggrieved person within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, provided that no amount shall be paid pursuant to this paragraph before she has executed a written release (substantially in the form of Attachment B) 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 checks for these amounts to Assistant United States Attorney Gina Y. Walcott-Torres within 15 days after the date of entry of this Order.
V. RECORD KEEPING AND REPORTING
A. During the term of this Order, the defendants shall retain all rental records maintained in the normal course of their business - including, but not limited to, inquiry logs, 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.
B. 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 familial status, or conduct prohibited by 42 U.S.C. §3617, 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
A. 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.
B. The Court shall retain jurisdiction over this action and over the defendants for two 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 and all obligations expressed above shall cease. 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.
C. 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.
A. The parties hereto each shall be responsible for its, his or her own legal fees and costs.
B. Nothing in this Consent Order shall be construed as an admission of any wrongdoing by either defendant. All parties acknowledge that the defendants deny any liability in any context to the plaintiff and Gina Lavallee.
C. All parties waive rights of appeal with respect to this Consent Order but not with respect to any future judgments which might issue upon the Consent Order.
So ORDERED this ____day of ____________ , 2004.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
The undersigned hereby apply for and consent to the entry of this Order:
For the Defendant,
For the Plaintiff,
For the Defendant,
John Shea, Esq.
Lian, Zarrow, Eynon & Shea
34 Mechanic Street
Worcester, MA 06108
Employee Acknowledgment Form
I ,____________________________, hereby acknowledge that I have been provided with a copy of and have read the Consent Order entered by the United States District Court in United States v. Chandler Gardens Realty, Inc., et al., Case No. 03-40018NMG (D. Mass.).
(City, State, Zip)
In consideration of the Consent Order entered in United States v. Chandler Gardens Realty, Inc., et al., Case No. 03-40018NMG (D. Mass.), and of the payment of the sum of eighteen thousand dollars ($18,000.00), pursuant thereto, I, ____________________________ , hereby release the defendants named in this action from any and all liability for any claims, legal or equitable, I may have against them arising out of the issues alleged in the action as of the date of the entry of the Consent Order. I fully acknowledge and agree that this release of the defendants shall be binding on my heirs, representatives, executors, successors, administrators, and assigns. I hereby acknowledge that I have read and understand this release and have executed it voluntarily and with full knowledge of its legal consequences.
Document Filed: May 11, 2004 > >