IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v. CASE NO.
COMMUNITY, INC.; and
COMPLAINT AND REQUEST FOR JURY TRIAL
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 (Fair Housing Act), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
- This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
- Venue is proper in this District. Defendant Resurrection Retirement Community, Inc. and Resurrection Health Care, Inc. are Illinois Corporations with their principal place of business located in the Northern District of Illinois.
- At all times relevant to this complaint, Defendant Resurrection Retirement Community, Inc. owned and operated Resurrection Retirement Community ("Resurrection"), a multi-family development which is located in Chicago, Illinois.
- At all times relevant to this complaint, Defendant Resurrection Retirement Community, Inc. was a wholly owned subsidiary of Resurrection Health Care, Inc.
- Resurrection is a retirement community consisting of one building containing approximately 500 apartment units, elevators and extensive common use areas. The common use areas include a common dining area, a bank, laundry facilities, and several common area rooms used for, inter alia, exercise classes, card games, pool, and other entertainment activities. Resurrection provides no assisted living services.
- Resurrection is a "dwelling" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
- In 2001, the United States Department of Justice conducted an investigation to determine if defendants were complying with the Fair Housing Act. As part of its investigation, the Department of Justice sent testers to Resurrection seeking apartment units for persons with a handicap. Testers are persons who, without the intent to rent an apartment unit, seek information about the availability of dwellings to determine whether a housing provider is engaged in discriminatory conduct in violation of the Act.
- The investigation conducted by the Department of Justice revealed, inter alia, that defendants treat applicants and tenants with handicaps differently in the terms and conditions of tenancy at Resurrection than other non-handicapped applicants and tenants. Specifically, the investigation revealed that defendants, through their agents, are engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of handicap at Resurrection, including:
- Imposing as a term or condition of tenancy that applicants and tenants must be healthy and able to live independently of any assistive services which are necessary because of such applicant's or tenant's handicap, including services which are arranged and paid for by such applicant or tenant;
- Limiting the number of hours that tenants with a handicap may receive assistive services which are necessary because of their handicap in their apartment units, including services which are arranged and paid for by such tenants;
- Inquiring to determine whether an applicant for an apartment unit at Resurrection has a handicap and inquiring as to the nature and severity of such handicap;
- Requiring applicants to submit to a medical assessment conducted by an employee of defendants as a term or condition of tenancy;
- Discouraging persons with a handicap from renting apartment units at Resurrection because of their handicap; and
- Steering persons with a handicap from Resurrection to assisted living facilities because of their handicap.
- Defendants have violated the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq., by discriminating against persons on the basis of handicap by the conduct described above.
- The conduct of defendants constitutes:
- A denial or making unavailable of housing because of handicap, in violation of Section 804(f)(1) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1);
- Discrimination in the terms, conditions, or privileges of the rental of dwellings, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of handicap, in violation of Section 804(f)(2) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(2);
- A refusal to make reasonable accommodation in rules, policies, practices, or services necessary to afford persons with handicaps equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling in violation of Section 804(f)(3)(B) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(B); and
- The making of statements and advertisements with respect to the rental of dwellings that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on handicap, in violation of Section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).
- The conduct of the defendants 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.
- On information and belief, there are persons who are "handicapped," as that term is defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(h), who have been injured by, and have suffered damages as a result of, the defendants' conduct. All of these persons are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i)
- Defendants' above-described conduct was intentional, willful, and/or taken in reckless disregard of the rights of others.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an ORDER that:
- Declares that the defendants' discriminatory practices 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 them from:
- Discriminating on the basis of handicap against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling;
- Interfering with or threatening to take any action against any person in the exercise or enjoyment of rights granted or protected by the Fair Housing Act, as amended; and
- Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore the victims of the defendants' past unlawful practices to the position such victims would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct of the defendants;
- Awards such damages as would fully compensate each victim of defendants' discriminatory housing practices for injuries caused by the defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B);
- Awards punitive damages to each victim of defendants' discriminatory housing practices, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B); and
- Assesses a civil penalty against each defendant in order to vindicate the public interest, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C).
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
RALPH F. BOYD, JR.
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
TIMOTHY J. MORAN
SCOTT P. MOORE
ELLEN M. BOWDEN
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530
PATRICK J. FITZGERALD
United States Attorney
Assistant United States Attorney
Northern District of Illinois
219 S. Dearborn Street
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Document Filed: September 17, 2002 > >