Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

No. 3:01 CV 30012MAP

MARY, SAWICKI and FRANK
SAWICKI, individually and
doing business as SAWICKI
REALTY, INC.,
     Defendants.

_____________________________

CONSENT DECREE

On January 18, 2001, the United States commenced this action on behalf of Tracy Parrott and her minor child ("the complainants") against Mary and Frank Sawicki (the "Sawickis"). At all times relevant to this case Mary Sawicki was the President, and Frank Sawicki was the Treasurer, of Sawicki Realty, Inc., which serves as the rental agent for property owners in Palmer, Massachusetts and the surrounding areas. At all times relevant to this case, Frank Sawicki has been the owner of dwelling units located at Kelly Street and Front Street in Three Rivers, Massachusetts.

The United States' Complaint was brought pursuant to section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o). The Complaint alleges that defendants violated the Fair Housing Act by: discriminating against the Complainant by refusing to rent or negotiate for, or otherwise making unavailable or denying, a dwelling on the basis familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a); making statements indicating a preference, limitation, or discrimination in the rental of a dwelling on the basis of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c); and representing that a dwelling was not available for inspection or rental when the dwelling was in fact available, on the basis of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3406(d).

The parties agree that, in order to conserve time and expense, the controversy should be resolved without further litigation. Therefore, without a trial or adjudication on the merits, the parties have consented to this Order, as indicated by the signatures appearing below.

After reviewing the terms of this Order, the Court concludes that the entry of this Order comports with the Fair Housing Act and federal law.

Accordingly it is ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED that:

  1. PROHIBITORY INJUNCTION

Defendants and all those acting in concert or participation with them, are hereby enjoined from:

  1. Making dwellings unavailable to persons because of familial status;
  2. Discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of renting a dwelling unit or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of familial status;
  3. Making, printing, publishing, or causing to be made, printed or published, any notice, statement, or advertisement with respect to the rental or ownership of a dwelling unit that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination on the basis familial status;
  4. Representing to any person because of familial status that any dwelling unit is not available for inspection, rental or sale when such dwelling is in fact so available; and
  5. Engaging in any other discriminatory housing practices prohibited by 42 U.S.C. §3601, et seq., which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or handicap.
  1. AFFIRMATIVE RELIEF
  1. TRAINING

    Within sixty (60) days after the entry of this Order, defendants shall review written materials, to be approved by the United States and provided by the United States or an approved Fair Housing organization, that shall:

    1. Inform each individual of his or her duties and obligations under this Order as well as under the federal Fair Housing Act and applicable state laws;
    2. Furnish to each individual a written non-discrimination policy under the terms of this Order and the Fair Housing Act. Said policy is attached to this Order as Attachment A;
    3. Instruct each individual on procedures to insure that familial status does not enter into the process of providing rental information to persons who make inquiries or making decisions on rental applications.

    After reviewing these materials each defendant shall sign the statement appearing at Attachment B indicating that he or she has received, read, and understands these materials, this Order, and the defendants' policy of non-discrimination, and further understands that violation of this Order may result in sanctions against him or her by the Court.

  2. ADVERTISING

    Defendants shall include the words "Equal Housing Opportunity" and/or the fair housing logo in all advertising (whether in newspapers, telephone directories and other written materials; on radio, television or other media broadcasts; and on all billboards, signs, pamphlets, brochures and other promotional literature) conducted by defendants and/or their agents or employees for any of defendants' properties. The words and/or logo shall be prominently placed and easily readable. In addition, all newspaper and radio advertising regarding defendants' properties subsequent to the date of entry of this Order shall conform to the provisions of the applicable advertising guidelines of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 24 C.F.R. Part 109 (1995).

  3. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

    Thirty (30) days after the entry of this Order the defendants shall deliver to counsel for the United States an Initial Occupancy Report, listing the name of at least one tenant residing in each dwelling unit owned by the defendants, the name of at least one tenant residing in each dwelling unit for which the defendants have acted as rental agents in the previous twelve (12) months, and indicating for each such unit whether a child under the age of eighteen (18) lives in the unit and the age of such child.

    Twelve (12) months after the entry of this Order, and thereafter every twelve (12) months for a period of two (2) years after entry of this Order, defendants shall deliver to counsel for the United States a report containing the following information:

    1. Copies of all signed statements secured pursuant to Section IIA4 above;
    2. An Occupancy Report for each dwelling unit owned by the defendants, and for each dwelling unit for which the defendants have acted as rental agents in the previous twelve (12) months, which shall report the dates of tenancy for tenants who have moved into such units during the reporting period, the name of at least one such tenant per unit, and the ages of all such tenants who are under age eighteen (18);
    3. Representative copies of any advertisements conducted by defendants regarding defendants' properties during the reporting period.

    Defendants shall advise counsel for the United States in writing within thirty (30) days of receipt of any written complaint against defendants, or against any of defendants' employees, rental agents or residential rental properties, regarding equal opportunity in housing. This notification shall include full details of the complaint and any action taken by the defendants, and shall be accompanied by all pertinent documents. (1)

  1. ACCESS TO RECORDS
  1. With reasonable notice, defendants shall allow the United States to have access to records of defendants' properties in order to monitor defendants' compliance with this Consent Decree.
  2. The defendants shall maintain all records related to the operation of their rental units throughout the time covered by this Consent Decree. Such documents shall include, but not be limited to: applications, leases, tenant files, policies and procedures, and all other documents or records that relate in any way to all dwelling units owned by the defendants and all dwelling units for which the defendants act as a rental agent.
  1. MONETARY RELIEF

Defendants shall pay $9,000 to Tracy Parrott in consideration for the full and final settlement of this claim, as well as a claim based on the same transaction or occurrence filed in state court, Parrott v. Sawicki Realty, Inc. et al., Housing Ct. (Western Div.) no. 00-CV465.

Tracy Parrott shall execute a release, hereto attached as Attachment C, signifying that the good and valuable consideration received constitutes full settlement of any and all claims that they may have related to the subject matter of this lawsuit through the date of the entry of this Consent Decree. Defendants shall make payment within ten (10) days of receipt of this signed release, or within such time as otherwise agreed between Defendants and Tracy Parrott.

  1. DISMISSAL
  1. This Order shall remain in effect for twenty seven (27) months from the date of its entry or three (3) months after the final Occupancy Report required in Section IIC2 is completed, whichever is later. This Court shall retain jurisdiction of this action for purposes of enforcing this Order.
  2. The provisions of this Order shall apply to the defendants, their employees, agents, successors, anyone acting under their direction, and all those acting in concert or participation with any of them.
  3. The provisions of this Order, except Section IV, which provides for monetary relief, shall apply to all rental properties, which are owned and/or managed in whole or in part by defendants.
  4. The parties may amend, by mutual agreement, the times by which any actions under this Decree are required to be performed.
  5. The United States may move the Court to extend the period in which this Order is in effect if it determines that the defendants likely have violated one or more terms of the Order or if the interests of justice otherwise require an extension of the terms of the Order.
  6. The parties to this 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 that the defendants either fail to perform in a timely manner any act required by this Order or act in violation of any provision of this Order, the United States may move the Court to impose any remedy authorized by law or equity.
  7. The above captioned Complaint is dismissed without prejudice. If no action is taken by the United States within twenty seven (27) months from the date this Consent Decree is entered or within three (3) months after the final Occupancy Report required in Section IIC2 is completed, whichever is later, then the above captioned action against defendants shall be dismissed with prejudice.


ORDERED this _[9th]_ day of __[March]___________, 2001.

___/s/________________________
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE


Approved:

For the Defendants:

Thomas Martinelli

For the United States:

WILLIAM R. YEOMANS
Acting Assistant Attorney General
ISABELLE M. THABAULT
Deputy Chief
RIGEL C. OLIVERI
Attorney
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
(202) 305-3109
(202) 514-1116 (facsimile)

DONALD K. STERN
United States Attorney
KAREN GOODWIN
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Federal Building and Courthouse
1550 Main Street, Room 310
Springfield, MA 01103


ATTACHMENT A I. NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY

It is the policy of Mary Sawicki, Frank Sawicki (the "Sawickis"), and Sawicki Realty, Inc. not to discriminate against anyone in any aspect of the rental of dwellings because of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, familial status or religion. This policy means, among other things, that the Sawickis and all agents or employees of the Sawickis with the responsibility for showing, renting, or managing any dwelling units for which Sawicki Realty, Inc. acts as rental agent or which the Sawickis own must:

  1. treat all qualified applicants equally regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, handicap or familial status; and
  2. allow qualified families with children to apply for and to reside in any properties owned by the Sawickis or for which Sawicki Realty, Inc. acts as the rental agent.

Any employee or agent of the Sawickis with the responsibility for showing, renting, or managing any dwelling units for which Sawicki Realty, Inc. acts as rental agent or which the Sawickis own, who does not comply with the policy set forth in this document may be subject to disciplinary action, termination of employment, and or federal court sanctions.

  1. DEFINITIONS

The term "familial status" means one or more individuals (who have not attained the age of 18 years) being domiciled with:

  1. a parent or another person having legal custody of such individual or individuals; or
  2. the designee of such parent or the person having such custody, with the written permission of such parent or another person.

The protections afforded against discrimination on the basis of familial status shall also apply to any person who is pregnant or is in the process of securing legal custody of any individual who has not attained the age of 18 years.


ATTACHMENT B

On ____________________, 200__, I reviewed materials ("Fair Housing Materials") approved by the United States which instructed me with respect to my responsibilities under the Order entered by the federal district court in United States v. Sawicki, et al., the federal Fair Housing Act, and applicable state laws. I also reviewed the non-discriminatory rental policies and procedures of Sawicki Realty, Inc. I have received copies of, read, and understood the Fair Housing Materials, the Order, and the Non-Discrimination Policy. I understand my legal responsibilities and will comply with those responsibilities. I understand that the Court may impose sanctions on me if I violate a provision of the Order.

_______________________
(Date)

_______________________
(Signature)

_______________________
(Print Name)


ATTACHMENT C

TRACY PARROTT for the sole consideration of NINE THOUSAND dollars ($9,000), the payment of which shall be made in compliance with the terms of the Decree entered on April 9, 2001, in the case of United States v. Sawicki et al., do, for herself, her heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, release and forever discharge Mary Sawicki, Frank Sawicki, Sawicki Realty Inc., their representatives, employees and agents, and all other persons, firms, insurers, corporations or entities from any and all claims, demands, damages, actions or causes of action on account of or in any way arising out of or relating to the allegations set forth in United States v. Sawicki et al., concerning alleged discrimination on the basis of familial status.

By signing this settlement agreement, TRACY PARROTT expressly settles, waives, and in every other way releases all rights to any related claims which were or could have been brought in United States v. Sawicki et al., including any and all claims TRACY PARROTT could have brought had she intervened in that action.

It is understood and agreed that this settlement is the compromise of a disputed claim, and that the payment made is not to be construed as an admission of liability on the part of the parties hereby released; and the parties released do not admit and specifically deny any liability therefor.

It is further understood and agreed that this release constitutes the entire agreement between the parties; that the terms of this release are contractual and not a mere recital; and that the release is binding upon and adheres to the benefit of the parties jointly and severally, and the executors, administrators, personal representatives, heirs, successors, and assigns of each.

The undersigned further declare and represent that no promise, inducement or agreement not herein expressed has been made to the undersigned.

Dated:__________, 2001

Signature: ________________________
Tracy Parrott


ATTACHMENT D Occupancy Report
for Time Period ________________
Unit/Property Address Name of Tenant Dates of Tenancy Does Household Have Tenants Under Age of Eighteen (18)? (Y or N) If Yes, Give Ages
       
       
       
       
     
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

1. All documents required by this section should be sent to: United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, DJ 175-36-276, P.O. Box 65998, Washington, D.C. 20035-5998.


Document Entered: April 9, 2001 > >

Updated August 6, 2015

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