Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

SEATTLE HOUSING AUTHORITY,
     Defendant.

___________________________________


COMPLIANT
JURY DEMAND

The United States of America alleges:

  1. This action is brought by the United States on behalf of Marguerite Richard to enforce the provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act), as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
  2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o) and 3614.
  3. Defendant Seattle Housing Authority is a Washington State entity authorized to engage in or assist in the operation of low-income housing.
  4. The Seattle Housing Authority owns and manages the Center West development at 533 Third Avenue, West in Seattle, Washington.
  5. Marguerite Richard is an individual who suffers respiratory conditions, including asthma and allergies, that substantially limit her ability to breath. Ms. Richard is handicapped within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(h).
  6. In November 1993, Ms. Richard moved into a unit in the Center West development. The unit occupied by Ms. Richard constitutes a "dwelling" within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3602(b).
  7. On or about March 25, 1998, Marguerite Richard filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (hereinafter "HUD") a timely complaint on behalf of herself pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a). The complaint alleges that the Defendant has improperly refused to grant Ms. Richard a reasonable accommodation necessary to allow Ms. Richard equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.
  8. As required by Section 810(a) and (b) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD (hereinafter the "Secretary") has conducted an investigation of the complaint, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on the information gathered in this investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), has determined that reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred. Therefore, on March 19, 2001, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging that the Seattle Housing Authority engaged in discriminatory practices in violation of Section 804 of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3604.
  9. On March 26, 2001, the Defendant elected to have the charges resolved in a federal civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
  10. Shortly after she moved into the Center West development Ms. Richard, whose respiratory conditions are profoundly exacerbated by cigarette smoke and exhaust, noticed a considerable decline in her health due to cigarette smoke that was entering her apartment from neighboring units. In December and January 1994, Ms. Richard informed the Authority that the smoke was affecting her health. Then, later in 1994, in September 1995, and in February 1997, Ms. Richard asked the Authority to transfer her to another unit as an accommodation of her disability.
  11. The Authority denied each of these requests for a transfer.
  12. By requesting a transfer, Ms. Richard sought an accommodation that was reasonable and necessary, on account of her handicap, to afford her equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. By refusing make the requested accommodations, the Defendant has violated 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(B).
  13. Ms. Richard has suffered damages as a result of the Defendant's conduct as described herein.
  14. The discriminatory actions of the Defendant were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of Ms. Richard.

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

  1. Declares that the Defendant's discriminatory housing practices violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.;
  2. Enjoins the Defendant, its officers, agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from refusing to grant a reasonable accommodation to Ms. Richard;
  3. Awards such damages as will fully compensate Ms. Richard for all injury occasioned by the Defendant's denial of equal housing opportunity, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c); and
  4. Awards punitive damages because of the intentional and willful nature of the Defendant's conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612 (o)(3) and 3613(c).

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

JOHN ASHCROFT
Attorney General

FRANCIS J. DISKIN
United States Attorney - Interm/Acting

WILLIAM R. YEOMANS
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section

BRIAN C. KIPNIS
Asst. United States Attorney
601 Union Street, Suite 5100
Seattle, Washington 98101-3903
(206) 553-7970

TIMOTHY J. MORAN
REBECCA B. BOND
Attorneys
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
(202) 514-4305

Document Filed: July 23, 2001. > >

Updated August 6, 2015

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