Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

Civil Action No. 97 C 8177

JDL MANAGEMENT COMPANY and
KLLM ARCHITECTS, INC.,
     Defendants.

__________________________________

CONSENT DECREE

The United States, JDL Management Company (JDL) and KLLM Architects, Inc. (KLLM) (defendants) have agreed to this Consent Decree. On November 24, 1997, the United States filed its Complaint alleging violations of Section 804 (f) (3) (C) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (f) (3) (C), as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619 (the Act). Specifically, the United States Complaint alleges that the defendants have engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by failing to design and construct Acorn Glen with the features of accessible and adaptable design set forth in 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (f) (3) (C).

JDL is the developer of Acorn Glen, a development consisting of condominiums and ranch style townhomes, located at 5100 West 111th Street, Oak Lawn, Illinois. KLLM is the architectural firm which designed Acorn Glen.

When construction is completed, Acorn Glen will contain one hundred ninety nine (199) units, a portion of which will be eleven (11) ranch style townhomes and ninety (90) condominium units.

The design requirements under the Act includes (a) public use and common use areas that are readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities; (b) doors designed to allow passage into and within all premises that are sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons in wheelchairs; (a) an accessible route into and through the dwelling; (d) light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and environmental controls in accessible locations; (e) reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and (f) usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.

Within Acorn Glen, there are two (2) elevator buildings consisting of twenty four (24) units each (EBI & EB2). There are also four (4) walk up condominium buildings without elevators, three (3) of which contain twelve (12) units each with four (4) units on each floor (NEB1, NEB2, and NEB3)I and one (1) containing Six (6) units, two (2) on each floor (NEB4). In addition, there are eleven (11) ranch style townhomes. As of the date of this decree, JDL has completed construction of EB1, NEB1, NEB2, NEB3 and three (3) ranch style townhomes pursuant to the original designs of defendant KLLM. All of these units have been sold with the exception of one (1) unit in EB1. JDL has also completed construction of EB2, NEB4 and eight (8) ranch style townhomes pursuant to a revised design.

The condominium units and townhomes at Acorn Glen are "covered multi-family dwellings" within the meaning of the Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (f) (7) (A). In general, the Act requires that, for buildings with four or more units, all units in elevator buildings and all ground floor units in non-elevator buildings include certain basic accessability and adaptability design features intended to make housing usable or adaptable by a person who becomes disabled. Accordingly, the following units at Acorn Glen are "covered units under the Act: EBI (24 units), EB2 (24 units), NEBI, (4 ground floor units), NEB2 (4 ground floor units), NEB3 (4 ground floor units), NEB4 (2 ground floor units), and 9 of the 11 ranch style townhomes, those in building of four (4) or more units. Of the seventy one (71) "covered" units listed above, those in EB2 (24 unite), NEB4 (2 units), and six (6) townhome units are compliant with the Act. In addition, two (2) compliant ranch style townhomes have been completed which are not covered under the Act in that they are in buildings of less than four (4)units.

As originally designed, none of the twelve "covered" units in the NEBs, the twenty-four units in EB1, nor three of the ranch style townhomes at Acorn Glen complied with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (f) (3) (C). As already noted, all of the twelve "covered" completed ground floor units in the NEBs, the twenty four units in EB1, and three of the ranch style townhomes were constructed pursuant to the original designs. None of those units, (a total of thirty-nine units), as designed and constructed, comply with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (f) (3) (C).

For instance, the United States alleges in its Complaint that, as originally designed and constructed: (1) virtually none of the doors in the individual condominium units or in the ranch style townhomes are sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons in wheelchairs; (2) the thermostats in the ranch style townhomes are in inaccessible locations; (3) no reinforcements are provided in bathroom walls in the condominium units or ranch style townhomes to allow later installation of grab bars; and (4) bathrooms in some of the condominium units are not usable such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.

The parties agree that this Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this case. Defendants admit that they failed to design and construct the condominium units and ranch style townhomes at Acorn Glen in compliance with the Act. The parties agree that the controversy should be resolved without further proceedings and without an evidentiary hearing. Therefore, the parties have consented to the entry of this Consent Decree as indicated by the signatures appearing below.

It is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED:

  1. GENERAL INJUNCTION

Defendants, their officers, employees, agents, successors and assigns and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them are permanently enjoined from discriminating on the basis of disability as prohibited by the Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (f) (3) (C), and as set forth in the Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines, 56 Fed. Reg. 9472 (1991) (the Guidelines).

  1. CORRECTIVE ACTIONS
  1. Revision of Design Plans for EB2 and EB3

    Defendants have revised their design plans for the twenty-four units scheduled to be constructed in EB2. The revised plans are attached hereto as Appendix A. The parties agree that units constructed pursuant to those plans will satisfy the requirements of the Fair Housing Act set forth at 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (f) (3) (C) and the Guidelines.

  2. Revision of Design Plans for the Ranch Style Townhomes

    Defendants have revised their design plans for the eight ranch style townhomes constructed at Acorn Glen. The revised plans are attached hereto as Appendix B. The parties agree that the townhomes constructed pursuant to those plans will satisfy the requirements of the Fair Housing Act set forth at 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (f) (3) (C) and the Guidelines.

  3. Retrofitting of Public Use and Common Areas

    As set forth in Appendix C, Defendant JDL has undertaken and will continue to undertake specific corrective actions for the public use and common use areas at Acorn Glen at a cost of approximately NINETEEN THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED and no/100 DOLLARS ($19,700.00). The specific actions shall be completed by December 31, 1999. The parties agree that these modifications of the public use and common use areas at Acorn Glen substantially satisfy the requirements of the Fair Housing Act set forth at 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (f) (3) (C) and the Guidelines.

  4. Remedies for Remaining Noncomplying Units

    The parties recognize that the already constructed ground floor units in the NEBs, the twenty-four units in EB1, and the four ranch style townhomes do not meet the standards of the Act and the Guidelines. Because these units are fully constructed, there are significant practical, structural, and cost impediments to bringing these units into compliance with the Act. To address these remaining violations, defendants have taken or have agreed to take the actions set forth in Sections III through VII below. These actions are reasonable and practicable and will increase the number of housing units on the market with features of accessible and adaptable design.

  1. NON-DISCRIMINATION IN FUTURE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
  1. Every six (6) months, for a period of five (5) years from the date of entry of this Consent Decree, defendant JDL shall, regarding any covered, multi-family dwellings intended to be developed or built by JDL, submit to counsel for the United States(1) the following information: (1) the name of the architect and site engineer; (2) the name and address of the project; (3) a description of the project and the individual units; and (4) a statement by a licensed architect with knowledge of the requirements of § 3604 (f) (3) (C) of the Act, which statement (a) describes his or her knowledge and training in the field of accessible design, and (b) states that he or she has reviewed such plans and that the plans include design specifications that fully comply with the requirements of the Act and the Guidelines.
  2. Every six (6) months, for a period of five (5) years from the date of entry of this Consent Decree, defendant KLLM shall, regarding any covered, multi-family projects which KLLM has designed, submit to counsel for the United States the following information: (1) the name of the builder or developer; (2) the name and address of the project; (3) a description of the project and the individual units; and (4) a written statement by a KLLM architect stating that she or he has reviewed the plans for the project and that the plane include design specifications that fully comply with the requirements of the Act and the Guidelines.

  1. RETROFITTING OF NON-COMPLIANT UNITS
  1. Defendants shall, within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Consent Decree, deposit in an interest bearing account designated by the United States, the total sum of NINETY TWO THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED and no/100 DOLLARS ($92,300.00) (The Fund), which shall be administered by an entity chosen by the United States and shall be maintained for a period of ten years from the date of its creation.
  2. The Fund shall be used to retrofit non-compliant units at Acorn Glen or to reimburse owners of the non-compliant units who modified their units prior to 30 days after the date of entry of this Consent Decree in order to bring them into compliance with the accessibility features of the Act.
  3. Defendant JDL shall, within 30 days after the date of entry of this Consent Decree, mail by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owners of the covered, allegedly non-compliant units at Acorn Glen, a letter conforming to that at Appendix D, informing the owner of his or her option to elect to have any of the modifications specified therein made to his or her unit at defendants expense or to be reimbursed by defendants for any modifications already made to his or her unit prior to 30 days after the date of entry of this Consent Decree to bring it into compliance with the accessability features of the Act.
  4. Defendant JDL shall, every year, for a period of ten years, mail by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owners of the non-compliant units at Acorn Glen, the letter referred to in Paragraph C above.
  5. Defendants shall complete the requested modifications no later than 90 days after the owner has elected to have modifications done to his or her unit.
  6. Defendants expenditures in making the modifications under this Section to any one unit within the first year of this Consent Decree shall not exceed $3,000 (THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS) (the Cap) and for each year thereafter throughout the terms of this Consent Decree, the Cap shall increase by three percent. If the cost of making the elected modifications would exceed the Cap, defendants may abate the modifications as reasonably necessary to bring the cost down to the Cap. In such event, defendants shall consult with the electing owners to determine the manner of abatement.
  7. Defendants shall reimburse, within 30 days, any owner who informs them, supported by documentation, that he or she made accessibility modifications to his or her unit prior to 30 days from the date of entry of this Consent Decree at his or her own expense.

  1. CONSTRUCTION OF NEW, COMPLIANT HOUSING
  1. To avoid future expense and litigation, compromise a disputed claim, and provide additional dwellings that are usable by and adaptable for persons with disabilities where none would have been required under the Act, defendants may, within the duration of this Consent Decree, design and/or construct new units at a project in the Chicago metropolitan area over which either defendant has control or influence, in compliance with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (f) (3) (C), which units would not have been considered "covered multifamily dwellings" withing the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (f) (7) (replacement units).
    1. For each replacement unit constructed within the terms of this Section, defendants shall receive a replacement credit of FIFTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS ($1500) from the Fund referred to in Section IV above, for a total of up to fifty percent of the balance of the Fund. Replacement credit shall be paid out to defendants on an annual basis upon completion of construction and approval of the replacement unit by the United States. Neither defendant shall receive an amount of total payments for replacement units which exceeds its original contribution to the Fund.
    2. At the end of the ten year period, any funds remaining in the Fund shall be divided equally between defendants and an organization for the purpose of furthering fair housing for persons with disabilities. Defendants half of the Fund balance shall be divided between defendants in proportion to their original monetary contribution to the Fund. The entity responsible for administering the Fund shall solicit proposals from appropriate organizations. The entity, with the approval of the United States, shall designate the organization to receive the funds and may require the recipient to sign an agreement regarding the use of the Funds. Preference shall be given to a qualified organization in Cook County.

  1. EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM
  1. Within thirty (30) days of the date of entry of this Consent Decree, defendant JDL(2) shall provide to all its employees, agents, and general contractors involved in the design, construction, rental, or sale of multi-family dwellings covered by the Act: (1) a copy of this Consent Decree; and (2) instruction on (i) the terms of this Consent Decree, (ii) the requirements of the Act with a particular emphasis on the Acts design and construction requirements, and (iii) their responsibilities and obligations under each. The training shall be conducted by a qualified person or organization approved by the United States. Any expenses associated with this training shall be borne by defendant JDL. Each new employee, agent or general contractor retained by defendant JDL during the term of this Decree must comply with the above requirements within thirty (30) days after the date he or she commences an employment, agency or contractual relationship with defendant JDL. Within thirty (30) days of the completion of the training, defendant JDL shall secure and deliver to counsel for the United States a signed statement from each such employee, agent, or general contractor that he or she has received, read, and understands this Decree and has attended the fair housing program.
  1. NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC OF DEFENDANTS NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY

Within ten (10) days of the date of entry of this Consent Decree, defendant JDL shall post and prominently display in the sales or rental offices of all covered multi-family housing owned or operated by it, a sign no smaller than ten (10) by fourteen (14) inches indicating that all dwellings are available for sale or rental on a nondiscriminatory basis. Defendant JDL shall also post such a sign in the sales or rental office of any other covered multi-family housing developed or acquired by it during the effective period of this Consent Decree within ten (10) days of commencing construction. A poster that comports with 24 C.P.R. Part 110 will satisfy this requirement.

In addition, for the duration of this Consent Decree, in all future advertising in newspapers, and on pamphlets, brochures and other promotional literature regarding any covered, multi-family dwellings designed or constructed by defendant JDL or KLLM, defendants shall place, in a conspicuous location, a statement that the dwelling units meet the accessibility features for persons with disabilities required by the federal Fair Housing Act.

  1. REPORTING AND DOCUMENT RETENTION REQUIREMENTS
  1. Sixty (60) days after the entry of this Consent Decree, defendant JDL shall submit to counsel for the United States an initial report containing the following:
    1. a certification listing the names and addresses of the current owners at Acorn Glen to whom the letter referred to in Section IV (C) above has been sent and from whom a return receipt has been received; and
    2. signed statements of current employees, agents, and general contractors who have completed the educational program (see Section VI).
  2. Six (6) months after the entry of this Consent Decree, and every six (6) months thereafter for the duration of this Decree, defendant JDL shall submit to counsel for the United States a report containing the following:
    1. a certification listing the names and addresses of all owners at Acorn Glen to whom the letter referred to in Section IV (C) above has been sent and from whom a return receipt has been received during the most recent reporting period; and
    2. signed statements of new employees, agents, and general contractors who have completed the educational program during the most recent reporting period (see Section VI).
  3. Six (6) months after the entry of this Consent Decree, and every six (6) months thereafter for the duration of this Decree, defendants shall submit to counsel for the United States documents containing information and certifications for new construction (see Section III).
  4. Defendants may, at any time throughout the duration of this Consent Decree, submit information to counsel for the United States regarding the replacement units referred to in Section V above; however, compensation for replacement units will be made on annual basis, commencing one year and thirty (30) days from the date of entry of this Consent Decree.
  5. Defendants shall advise counsel for the United States in writing within fifteen (15) days of receipt of any written administrative or legal complaint against either of them, or against any of their employees or agents, regarding equal opportunity in housing. They shall also promptly provide the United States all information it may request concerning any such complaint.
  6. For the term of this Consent Decree, defendants are required to preserve all records related to this Consent Decree, for all properties designed, constructed, owned, operated, or acquired by them. Upon reasonable notice to the defendants, representatives of the United States shall be permitted to inspect and copy any records of defendants or inspect any developments or residential units under defendants control covered by the Act bearing on compliance with this Consent Decree at any and all reasonable times; provided, however, that the United States shall endeavor to minimize any inconvenience to defendants from such inspections.
  1. DURATION OF DECREE AND TERMINATION OF LEGAL ACTION
  1. This Consent Decree shall remain in effect for ten and one-half (10-1/2) years after the date of its entry.
  2. By consenting to the entry of this Decree, the parties agree that in the event it is determined in any future action or proceeding brought by the United States or any agency thereof that defendants have engaged in any violation(s) of the Pair Housing Act, such violation(s) shall constitute a "subsequent violation" pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614 (d) (1) (c) (ii).
  3. The United States Complaint shall be dismissed without prejudice to the right of the United States to petition the Court, at any time during the duration of this Decree, to reopen the case for the purpose of enforcing the Decree. The parties to this Consent Decree shall endeavor in good faith to resolve informally any differences regarding interpretation of and compliance with this Decree prior to bringing such matters to the Court for resolution.
  1. TIME FOR PERFORMANCE

Any time limits for performance imposed by this Consent Decree may be extended by the mutual agreement of the parties.

  1. COSTS OF LITIGATION

Each party to this litigation will bear its own costs and attorneys fees associated with this litigation.

It is so ORDERED this _________ day of ________________ 1999.

_________________________________
Edward A. Bobrick
United States District Judge

Agreed to by the parties as indicated by the signatures of counsel below.

FOR THE PLAINTIFF:

BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistant Attorney General

JAMES B. BURNS
United States Attorney

JOAN MAGAGNA
Chief
BRIAN F. HEFFERNAN
Deputy Chief
SUNNY E. PIETRAFESA
Attorney
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
202-616-2217

FOR DEFENDANT JDL MANAGEMENT CO.:

JOHN POSTWEILER
THOMAS MURPHY'
Schreiber, Mach and Postweiler
10600 West 143rd Street
Orland Park, IL 60805
708-460-4600

FOR DEFENDANT KLLM ARCHITECTS, INC.:

WILLIAM T. WEAVER
Lord, Bissell & Brook
115 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60603
312-443-0227


1. For purposes of this Decree, counsel for the United States is Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice, P.O. Box 65998, Washington, D.C. 20035-5998, Attn: DJ# 175-23-649.

2. Defendant KLLM has a similar obligation as a result of a Consent Decree entered in United States v. Corrib Construction Company and KLLM Architects, Inc., Civil Action No. 98 C 6601. > >

Updated August 6, 2015

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