MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
CASE NO. 3:00-CV-659-J-HTS
THOMAS E. NAIL,
(INJUNCTIVE RELIEF SOUGHT)
The United States of America alleges as follows:
- This is a civil action brought by the United States on behalf of Carole L. Hernandez and Gilbert R. Wright ("Complainants") against Ms. Hernandez's former landlord, Thomas E. Nail ("Defendant Nail"), to enforce the provisions of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. (the "Fair Housing Act").
- This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
- Venue is proper in this judicial district under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), in that the events giving rise to this action occurred in this district.
- Defendant Thomas E. Nail is a Caucasian male who, at all relevant times herein, was the lessor, but not the owner, of a single family dwelling located at 3966 Civic Lane, Kingsley Lake, Florida ("3966 Civic Lane").
- Complainant Carole L. Hernandez is a Caucasian female who resided at 3966 Civic Lane from in or about August 1997 to in or about April of 1998. During this time, she rented 3966 Civic Lane from Defendant Nail.
- Complainant Gilbert R. Wright is an African-American male who visited 3966 Civic Lane during the time that Ms. Hernandez lived there.
- 3966 Civic Lane is a "dwelling" within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
- In or about late October, 1998, Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Wright both timely filed complaints with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (hereinafter "HUD"), pursuant to the Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a). The complaints alleged, inter alia, that Defendant Nail engaged in discriminatory housing practices because of Mr. Wright's race, and that these practices injured Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Wright.
- As required by the Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD (hereinafter the "Secretary") conducted an investigation of the complaints, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on the information gathered in this investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred. Therefore, on April 28, 2000, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2), charging Defendant Nail with engaging in discriminatory practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604 and 3617.
- On May 17, 2000, both Complainants elected to have the charges resolved in a federal civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
- During the time of Ms. Hernandez's tenancy at 3699 Civic Lane, Defendant Nail discriminated against Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Wright on the basis of race, and intimidated, threatened, and interfered with them in the exercise of, and on account of their having exercised, their federally-protected fair housing rights.
- In or about August of 1997, Ms. Hernandez entered into an oral agreement to rent 3966 Civic Lane on a month-to-month basis from Defendant Nail.
- At that time, and at all relevant times herein, Defendant Nail resided in a single family home at 6118 Kingsley Lake Drive in Kingsley Lake, Florida ("6118 Kingsley Lake Drive").
- 3966 Civic Lane is located directly behind 6118 Kingsley Lake Drive. The houses are within sight of one another, and access to 3966 Civic Lane requires passing by 6118 Kingsley Lake Drive.
- On or about August 27, 1997, Ms. Hernandez moved into 3966 Civic Lane. Shortly after Ms. Hernandez moved in, and continuing throughout her tenancy, Complainant Wright visited her there.
- Throughout Ms. Hernandez's tenancy at 3699 Civic Lane, Defendant Nail directed racial epithets and hostile and derogatory racial statements at Ms. Hernandez. These statements indicated a preference against African-Americans associating with Caucasians and discrimination against African-Americans and interracial relationships.
- Defendant Nail directed these racial epithets and hostile and derogatory racial statements at Ms. Hernandez because she had an African-American guest, Mr. Wright, who would visit 3699 Civic Lane, and because she was engaged in an interracial relationship with Mr. Wright while living at 3699 Civic Lane.
- During the time Ms. Hernandez resided at 3966 Civic Lane, Defendant Nail took actions to intimidate and harass Ms. Hernandez because she associated with an African-American guest in her home. In addition to using hostile racial statements, Defendant Nail raised her rent due to the race of her guest and took actions calculated to frighten her in and around her home.
- On or about April 25, 1998, in fear for the safety of herself and Mr. Wright as a result of Defendant Nail's statements and conduct, Ms. Hernandez was forced to move from 3966 Civic Lane.
- As Ms. Hernandez, with the assistance of Mr. Wright, was vacating 3966 Civic Lane, Defendant Nail intimidated, threatened, and interfered with Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Wright for having exercised their right to associate in her home.
- By his actions and statements referred to in the foregoing paragraphs, Defendant Nail has:
- made unavailable or denied a dwelling because of race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
- discriminated in the terms, conditions, or privileges of rental of a dwelling because of race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b);
- made statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c); and
- coerced, intimidated, and interfered with persons in the exercise or enjoyment of, on account of having exercised or enjoyed, and on account of having aided or encouraged another person in the exercise or enjoyment of rights protected by the Fair Housing Act, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3617.
- Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Wright are "aggrieved persons" as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and suffered injuries as a result of Defendant Nail's discriminatory conduct.
- Defendant Nail's actions and statements described in the preceding paragraphs were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the fair housing rights of Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Wright.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that this Court enter an ORDER that:
- Declares that Defendant's discriminatory housing practices violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.;
- Enjoins Defendant from intimidating, threatening, or interfering with tenants and their guests on the basis of race, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c);
- Awards such damages as will fully compensate Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Wright for all injury occasioned by Defendant Nail's discriminatory statements, actions, intimidation, and interference, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c); and
- Awards punitive damages because of the intentional and willful nature of Defendant Nail's statements and conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612 (o)(3) and 3613(c).
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
|Janet Reno |
Donna A. Bucella
United States Attorney
Bill Lann Lee
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Ralph J. Lee
Asst. United States Attorney
200 West Forsyth Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Joan A. Magagna
Housing & Civil Enforcement Section
Lauren E. Willis
Housing & Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
ph: (202) 307-3025
fax: (202) 514-1116
Document Filed: June 16, 2000 > >