MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
DAVID DAMRON, Defendant.
The United States of America alleges:
- 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, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619.
- This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3614.
- Defendant David Damron resides at 44 Bruner Drive, Montgomery, Alabama, in the Middle District of Alabama. He is the owner and manager of real property known as Bruner Trailer Park, also known as Court Street Trailer Park, located at the intersection of the Southern Bypass and Court Street in Montgomery, Alabama in the Middle District of Alabama. Bruner Trailer Park consists of approximately 60 lots and trailer homes offered for rent.
- The lots and trailer homes offered for rent at Bruner Trailer Park constitute dwellings within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
- During the time period that defendant Damron has owned and operated Bruner Trailer Park, he has engaged in a number of intentionally discriminatory actions against African-American persons because of their race and color, which were designed to exclude such persons from the Park, including the following:
- he inquired into whether potential white tenants had any African- American friends who might visit them at Bruner Trailer Park;
- he conditioned tenancy to prospective white tenants upon representations that the prospective tenants would not have any African-American visitors;
- he evicted and otherwise harassed white tenants who had African-American visitors;
- he instructed at least one agent responsible for screening applicants not to rent to African-Americans and to tell any African-Americans who inquired about available trailers that the landlord had just rented the last trailer; and
- he made statements indicating a preference not to rent to African-Americans.
- The United States, through the Federal Bureau of Investigation(hereinafter the FBI), has conducted fair housing testing of the Bruner Trailer Park, by having agents posing as white and African-American prospective tenants visit Bruner Trailer Park in 1997 to inquire about the availability of rental dwellings. The results of this investigation demonstrates that defendant Damron:
- told the African-American FBI agent that he had just rented the last available trailer while informing the white FBI agent that two trailers were available for rent;
- attempted to direct the African-American FBI agent to another trailer park occupied predominantly by African-Americans;
- stated to the white FBI agent that Bruner Trailer Park is a safe neighborhood because no African-Americans lived there; and
- stated that he would not allow African-Americans to move into the trailer park.
- Upon information and belief, from the time defendant Damron took ownership and control of Bruner Trailer Park in or about 1992 until in or around August 1997, all of the trailers in Bruner Trailer Park were occupied by white residents. Subsequent to August, 1997, after being notified of allegations of racial discrimination by the FBI, defendant Damron has rented some trailers in Bruner Trailer Park to African- American tenants. However, since making such rentals, Defendant Damron has harassed and initiated unsupported eviction proceedings against at least one of the African-American tenants at Bruner Trailer Park because of his race and/or color.
- By the actions set forth above in paragraphs 5-7, defendant Damron has:
- Refused to rent, refused to negotiate for the rental of, and/or otherwise made unavailable, dwellings because of race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
- Imposed different terms and conditions in the rental of dwellings because of race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b);
- Made statements with respect to the rental of dwellings that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race or color, or an intention to make such preference, limitation, or discrimination, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c);
- Represented to persons because of race or color that dwellings are not available for inspection or rental when such dwellings are in fact so available, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(d); and
- Coerced, threatened, intimidated, or interfered with persons in their enjoyment of the rights protected by the Fair Housing Act, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3617.
- Defendant Damron's conduct described above constitutes:
- A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.; and
- A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq., which denial raises an issue of general public importance.
- Individuals who have been the victims of defendant Damron's discriminatory housing practices are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i). Such persons may have suffered damages as a result of the defendant's conduct as described above.
- Defendant Damron's conduct described above was intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of others.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an order that:
- Declares that the defendant's policies and practices, as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act;
- Enjoins the defendant, his employees, agents, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with him, from:
- Discriminating on account of race or color against any person in any aspect of the rental or brokerage of dwellings;
- Failing or refusing to notify the public that dwellings listed, offered, or rented by the defendant is available to all persons on a nondiscriminatory basis; and
- Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, the victims of the defendant's unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct;
- Awards such damages that would fully compensate the victims of the defendant's discriminatory policies and practices for the injuries caused by the defendant;
- Awards punitive damages to the victims of the defendant's discriminatory policies and practices; and
- Assesses a civil penalty against the defendant, in order to vindicate the public interest.
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistant Attorney General
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Acting Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
JOSEPH D. RICH
JON M. SEWARD
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, DC 20035-5998
United States Attorney
Middle District of Alabama
KENNETH E. VINES
Assistant U.S. Attorney