DISTRICT OF IDAHO
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Case No.: CIV00-032-E-BLW
KENNETH E. LYON, JR. AND
The United States of America alleges:
- This action is brought by the United States on behalf of Selena J. Edwards and the Idaho Fair Housing Council 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.
- This Court has jurisdiction of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o)(1).
- Defendants Kenneth E. Lyon, Jr. and Beverly Lyon reside in Pocatello, Idaho in the District of Idaho.
- Selena J. Edwards resides in Pocatello, Idaho in the District of Idaho.
- The Idaho Fair Housing Council is a nonprofit organization that promotes fair housing practices for housing providers and consumers throughout Idaho.
- At all relevant times, Defendants have owned a four-unit apartment building at 622 1/2 South 5th St. in Pocatello, Idaho in the District of Idaho.
- The apartments located at 622 1/2 South 5th St. are "dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
- On or about the week of March 13, 1998, Selena J. Edwards called Defendants' phone number, which was listed in a rental ad for a two bedroom apartment. An unidentified female asked Ms. Edwards if she had any children. When Ms. Edwards responded that she had a child, the woman told her that the apartment was unsuitable for children and that she should look for something else.
- After being contacted by Ms. Edwards, the Idaho Fair Housing Council conducted a telephone test. On or about May 18, 1998, a tester called Defendants and inquired about the two bedroom apartment. Defendant Beverly Lyon told the tester that the apartment was not suitable for children.
- On or about October 16, 1998, the director of the Idaho Fair Housing Council filed a timely complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (hereinafter "HUD") pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging that Defendants discriminated in housing because of familial status. In its complaint, the Idaho Fair Housing Council alleges that its purpose of eliminating discrimination had been frustrated and its resources expended because of discriminatory conduct by Defendants.
- On or about February 17, 1999, Selena J. Edwards filed a timely complaint with HUD pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a). In her complaint, Ms. Edwards alleges that Defendants refused to rent an apartment at 622 1/2 South 5th St. in Pocatello, Idaho to her and her minor child because of their familial status, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
- Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD (Secretary) conducted and completed an investigation of Selena J. Edwards's and the Idaho Fair Housing Council's complaints, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared final investigative reports. Based on information gathered in the investigations, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause exists to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred. Therefore, on September 24, 1999, 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 December 14, 1999, Kenneth E. Lyon, Jr. and Beverly Lyon elected to have the charges resolved in a civil action in federal district court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
- Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), on December 29, 1999, the HUD Assistant General Counsel for the Northwest/Alaska, exercising authority delegated by the Secretary, authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action against Defendants.
- In taking the actions described in paragraphs 8-9 above, Defendants have:
- refused to negotiate for the rental of, and otherwise made unavailable or denied, a dwelling on the basis of familial status, in violation of Section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a); and
- made statements indicating a preference, limitation, or discrimination on the basis of familial status with respect to rental of a dwelling, in violation of Section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).
- Selena J. Edwards, her minor child and the Idaho Fair Housing Council are aggrieved persons, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and have suffered damages as a result of the Defendants' conduct described above.
- The discriminatory actions of Defendants, as set forth above, were willful and taken in disregard for the rights of Selena J. Edwards, her minor child and the Idaho Fair Housing Council.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an order that:
- Declares that the discriminatory practices of Defendants, as set forth above, violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.;
- Enjoins the Defendants, their agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from engaging in discriminatory housing practices based on familial status;
- Awards such damages as will fully compensate Selena J. Edwards, her minor child and the Idaho Fair Housing Council for injuries suffered as a result of Defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c)(1); and
- Awards punitive damages to Selena J. Edwards, her minor child and the Idaho Fair Housing Council because of the intentional and willful nature of Defendants' conduct, 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 |
BETTY H. RICHARDSON
United States Attorney
BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistant Attorney General
D. MARC HAWS
Assistant United States Attorney
First Interstate Center
877 W. Main Street
Boise, Idaho 83703
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
BRIAN F. HEFFERNAN
CAROL A. EVANS
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
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