Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

SLEEPY HOLLOW ESTATES, INC.
AND JESSIE ROBERTS,
     Defendants.

______________________________________

CONSENT ORDER

This Consent Order is entered into by Plaintiff United States and Defendants Sleepy Hollow Estates, Inc. and Jessie Roberts. Defendant Sleepy Hollow Estates, Inc. owns Sleepy Hollow Estates, a mobile home park containing approximately 100 lots located at 2833 Highway South NC 87, Graham, Alamance County, North Carolina. Defendant Jessie Roberts managed Sleepy Hollow Estates. Sleepy Hollow Estates, Inc. sells new mobile homes for placement on lots in the mobile home park. Sleepy Hollow Estates, Inc. also leases lots to the owners of the mobile homes. The mobile homes and the lots are dwellings within the meaning of the federal Fair Housing Act.(1)

The United States has filed a Complaint brought pursuant to Section 814 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619 ("the Act") simultaneously with this Consent Order. The Complaint alleges that Defendants Sleepy Hollow Estates, Inc. and Jessie Roberts engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination because of race and color in the operation of Sleepy Hollow Estates in violation of the Act. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that Defendants violated the Act by making explicit statements with respect to the rental of lots and the sale of homes that indicated a clear preference, policy and intent to limit and exclude black persons, as well as denying that lots or homes were available to black persons while at the same time telling white persons that lots and homes were available.

The Defendants deny they engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Neither Defendants' agreement to the terms of this Consent Order nor any other action taken by the Defendants in connection with this Consent Order constitutes any admission by Defendants of any violation of law, duty or obligation.

The parties desire to avoid costly and protracted litigation and agree that this dispute should be resolved without an evidentiary hearing. Therefore, the parties have agreed to the entry of this Consent Order, as indicated by the signatures appearing below.

It is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED:

  1. Injunctive Relief
    1. Defendant Sleepy Hollow Estates, their agents, employees, and all persons in active concert or participation with any of them are permanently enjoined, with respect to the rental or sale of dwellings at Sleepy Hollow Estates and any other locations at which they engage in the sale or rental of dwellings, from:
      1. Refusing to rent or sell a dwelling, refusing or failing to provide or offer information about a dwelling, or otherwise making unavailable or denying a dwelling to any person because of race or color;
      2. Discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions or privileges of rental or sale of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race or color;
      3. Making, printing, publishing, or causing to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement or advertisement with respect to the rental or sale of a dwelling that states any preference, limitation or discrimination because of race or color;
      4. Misrepresenting to any person because of race or color that any dwelling is not available for inspection, rental, or sale when such dwelling is, in fact, so available; and
      5. Engaging in any other discriminatory housing practice prohibited by 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619.
    2. Defendant Jessie Roberts, her agents, employees, and all persons in active concert or participation with her are permanently enjoined, with respect to the rental or sale of dwellings at Sleepy Hollow Estates and any other locations at which she engages in the sale or rental of dwellings, from:
      1. Refusing to rent or sell a dwelling, refusing or failing to provide or offer information about a dwelling, or otherwise making unavailable or denying a dwelling to any person because of race or color;
      2. Discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions or privileges of rental or sale of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race or color;
      3. Making, printing, publishing, or causing to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement or advertisement with respect to the rental or sale of a dwelling that states any preference, limitation or discrimination because of race or color;
      4. Misrepresenting to any person because of race or color that any dwelling is not available for inspection, rental, or sale when such dwelling is, in fact, so available; and
      5. Engaging in any other discriminatory housing practice prohibited by 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619.
  2. Standards for Accepting Applications
    1. No later than thirty (30) days from the date of entry of this Order, Defendants shall implement, with respect to dwellings rented or sold by them, their agents or employees, at Sleepy Hollow Estates, objective, uniform, non-discriminatory standards and procedures for the processing of applications, the establishment of waiting lists, and the approval of applicants for the rental or sale of available dwellings and/or positions on waiting lists. A copy of these standards and procedures appears as Attachment A.
    2. The standards and procedures required by Section II(A) shall be posted and prominently displayed in the rental office at Sleepy Hollow Estates, and in any office where there is rental or sale activity and/or personal contact with applicants for dwellings at Sleepy Hollow Estates, and a copy of these standards and procedures shall be made available upon request to any applicant for the sale or lease of a mobile home and/or a mobile home lot. For the duration of this Order, these rental and sale standards and procedures may be modified only if written notice is given to counsel for the United States forty-five (45) days before modifications are to take effect.(2) In the event that the United States objects to the proposed change in writing within forty-five (45) days of receipt of notice, the change shall not be implemented until the parties have resolved their dispute or, in the event they are unable to resolve it, the Court has resolved it.
    3. With respect to dwellings rented or sold by them, their agents or employees, at Sleepy Hollow Estates, Defendants shall:
      1. Maintain an Availability List (Attachment B) of all dwellings known or expected to be available for rental or sale including: the date the Defendants or their employees or agents were first informed that it would be available and the first date it would be available for occupancy; the monthly rent and lot number; and for each home, the number of bedrooms and sale price;
      2. Inform prospective applicants who inquire about renting or purchasing dwellings of all available mobile homes and mobile home lots, if any, and if none are available, about the availability of a waiting list;
      3. Permit all prospective applicants the opportunity to complete a written rental or sale application and/or to be placed on a waiting list, which shall be maintained pursuant to subparagraph (II)(C)(4) below; and
      4. Maintain a Waiting List (Attachment C) of all prospective applicants who wish to be placed on such a list in chronological order by date, and time, if applicable, of inquiry. For all prospective applicants, the List shall state their names, their current address and telephone number, a description of the dwelling desired and, based on the good faith belief of Defendants or their representatives, their race. The List shall further indicate for each prospective applicant the date of placement on the List, the date(s) and time(s) of attempted or actual communications concerning the availability of a dwelling, and the nature (e.g., telephone call or letter) and result of all such communications. When Defendants or their agents or employees become aware of any vacancy at either location, they shall attempt to contact persons from the Waiting List, in the chronological order they are listed, before making that dwelling available to any other person. Once a reasonable attempt has been made to contact a person on the waiting list, they may attempt to contact the next person. Once a person has been on the list for forty-five (45) days, without any indication that the person is still interested, the person's name may be removed from the list. These lists shall be maintained pursuant to the provisions of Section IV(A).
  3. Mandatory Education and Training
    1. Within thirty (30) days of the date of entry of this Order, Defendants and any other agent or employee of Sleepy Hollow Estates with responsibility for the rental, sale or management of dwellings shall complete an education program conducted by the North Carolina Fair Housing Center at the Defendants' expense, that shall include the following:
      1. Informing each individual of his or her duties and obligations under this Consent Order as well as under the federal Fair Housing Act and applicable state laws;
      2. Providing a copy of the federal Fair Housing Act to each agent or employee whose duties include showing, renting or managing dwelling units, and each agent or employee who supervises such activities;
      3. Instructing each individual on procedures to insure that race or color does not enter into the process of providing rental information to persons who make an inquiry or in making decisions on rental or sale applications;
      4. A question and answer session to review each of the foregoing areas; and
      5. Certification of attendance by the person conducting the educational program for each person attending the program.
    2. Within thirty (30) days of the date of entry of this Order, Defendants shall do the following with respect to all their employees and agents with housing rental responsibilities at Sleepy Hollow Estates to inform them of the provisions of this Order:
      1. Furnish to each such employee or agent a copy of this Consent Order, informing each such person, in person, of the duties of Defendants and their employees and agents pursuant to the Order; and
      2. Secure the signed statement appearing at Attachment D from each such employee and agent indicating that he or she has received, read, and understands this Consent Order and Defendants' policy of nondiscrimination and further understands that violation of this Order may result in sanctions against them by Defendants and/or the Court.
    3. For the duration of this Order, each new employee or agent of Defendants with rental or sale responsibilities at Sleepy Hollow Estates, and all successor owners and their agents or employees, shall be given a copy of and required to read this Consent Order, and sign the statement appearing at Attachment D, within ten (10) days after the date he or she acquires an ownership interest in Sleepy Hollow Estates or commences an employment or agency relationship with Sleepy Hollow Estates, Inc.
  4. Record Keeping and Monitoring
    1. With respect to the rental or sale of dwellings at Sleepy Hollow Estates, Defendants shall:
      1. Maintain an Availability List as described in II(C)(1).
      2. Maintain an Inquiry Log (Attachment E) of all persons who inquire in person about the availability of dwellings, stating the date of inquiry, and, for each person who provides such information, their name, current address, telephone number, and, based on the good faith belief or observation of Defendants or their representatives, the person's race. If the person rents and/or purchases a dwelling, the lot number and date of occupancy for that person shall be noted on the Log. Defendants or their representatives shall make a good faith effort to obtain the information referred to in this paragraph with respect to each prospective applicant.
      3. At the end of each completed Park Regulations & Lease Agreement Application (hereinafter "Application")(Attachment F) indicate whether the applicant was accepted or denied, the date the applicant was accepted or denied, and the race of the applicant.
      4. Maintain all Waiting Lists prepared pursuant to Paragraph (II)(B)(4) above.
    2. Six (6) months after the date of entry of this Order, every six (6) months thereafter for a period of three (3) years, and, provided that Defendants are in compliance with this Order, every twelve (12) months for years four and five, Defendants shall deliver to counsel for the United States a report covering the preceding six-month or twelve-month period, as appropriate, containing the following information:
      1. Copies of all signed statements secured pursuant to Subparagraphs (III)(B)(2) and (III)(C) of this Order;
      2. Copies of the Availability Lists, Inquiry Logs, completed Applications, and Waiting Lists maintained pursuant to Subparagraph (IV)(A) of this Consent Order;
      3. Representative copies of any advertisements published in a newspaper or any other medium during the reporting period; and
      4. A listing, by unit number and race (based on a reasonable, good faith belief) of the occupants, of the move-ins, and of the move-outs during the reporting period.

        The first report submitted pursuant to this Paragraph shall also include:

      5. Written verification that Defendants and any other person required to do so have attended the education program mandated by Subparagraph (III)(A) of this Order;
      6. A report detailing the occupancy of each lot at Sleepy Hollow Estates by the race (based on a reasonable, good faith belief) of the occupant(s) as of the date of entry of this Order; and
      7. A photograph of each office in which rental or sales activity is conducted, showing the fair housing posters required by Paragraph (V)(A) of this Order.
    3. Until final dismissal of this action with prejudice, Defendants shall preserve all records which are the source of, contain, or relate to any of the information pertinent to their obligations under this Order, including all rental and sales applications and leases for dwellings at Sleepy Hollow Estates. Upon reasonable notice to counsel for Defendants, representatives of the United States shall be permitted to inspect and copy all such records of Defendants at any and all reasonable times.
    4. During the term of this Order, Defendants shall advise counsel for the United States in writing within fifteen (15) days of receipt of any written administrative or legal complaint alleging housing discrimination against Defendants, or against any of their employees or agents. They shall also promptly provide the United States all non-privileged, discoverable information it may request concerning any such complaint.
    5. The United States may take steps to monitor Defendants' compliance with this Decree including, but not limited to, conducting fair housing tests at any properties owned or managed in whole or in part by Defendants to determine whether Defendants are violating any part of this Decree.
  5. Notification to Public of Nondiscriminatory Policies

    Within fifteen (15) days after the date of entry of this Consent Order, Defendants shall take the following steps to notify the public of their nondiscriminatory policies:

    1. Post and prominently display in the rental and sales office of Sleepy Hollow Estates, and in any office where there is rental or sale activity and/or personal contact with applicants for units at Sleepy Hollow Estates, a poster no smaller than 11 inches by 14 inches that indicates that all lots are available for rent and all mobile homes available for sale on a nondiscriminatory basis. See 24 C.F.R. Part 110 (1995).
    2. Include the words "Equal Housing Opportunity" or the fair housing logo in all advertising conducted by defendants for Sleepy Hollow Estates in newspapers, telephone directories, radio, television or other media, and on all billboards, signs, pamphlets, brochures and other promotional literature. The words or logo should be prominently placed and easily legible. In addition, all newspaper and radio advertising placed by Defendants subsequent to the date of entry of this Order shall conform to the provisions of the applicable HUD advertising guidelines, contained in 24 C.F.R Part 109 (1995).
    3. Include the following phrase in the standard rental application and lease used for Sleepy Hollow Estates:

      We are an equal housing opportunity provider. We do not discriminate on the bases of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, handicap or familial status (having children under age 18).

    4. Within fifteen (15) days of the entry of this Consent Order, and on an annual basis thereafter so long as this Consent Order is in effect, provide written notification to each of the organizations listed in Attachment G that Defendants rent lots for mobile homes and sell mobile homes in Alamance County, North Carolina, and that their policy is to rent lots and sell mobile homes subject to uniform, nondiscriminatory standards to all qualified persons without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status.
    5. Defendants shall give the North Carolina Fair Housing Council, Piedmont Health Services, Family Resource Center, and North State Legal Services, five (5) days advance notice prior to advertising to the public the availability of an upcoming vacancy for any dwelling at Sleepy Hollow Estates so that the North Carolina Fair Housing Council may refer potential applicants.
  6. Compensation of Aggrieved Persons
    1. Within thirty (30) days after entry of this Order, Defendants shall deposit the sum of Thirty-Seven Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($37,500) into an escrow account for the purpose of compensating any aggrieved persons who have been the victims of Defendants' alleged discriminatory housing practices.
    2. Within thirty (30) days of the date of entry of this Order, and twice again during each of the next three months, Defendants shall publish a Notice to Potential Victims of Housing Discrimination (";Notice") in at least one newspaper of general circulation the Alamance County. The parties shall mutually agree as to the newspapers in which these Notices shall be placed. Defendants shall notify counsel for the United States in writing of the date on which the last such notice was published within ten (10) days of its publication and shall at that time also provide copies of the Notices as published.
    3. The parties have agreed upon the text of this Notice and upon the size of the ad to be placed, as set forth in Attachment H.
    4. Within ten (10) days of the date of entry of this Order, Defendants shall send a copy of the Notice to each of its current tenants.
    5. Defendants shall permit representatives of the United States to review any records of Sleepy Hollow Estates in the possession or control of any Defendants, their employees, agents, or representatives which the United States believes to be useful in identifying persons who may be entitled to relief under this Order. Upon reasonable notice, representatives of the United States shall be permitted to make this inspection on any business day as early as the day after entry of this Order. The United States will send a copy of the Notice to each of the persons it believes may be entitled to relief under this Order as a result of this records inspection.
    6. At the end of 180 days from the date that the last Notice is sent or advertised pursuant to Subparagraphs VII(B)-(D), the United States shall determine which persons are likely to have been victims of Defendants' alleged discriminatory housing practices, and shall determine an appropriate amount of damages to be awarded to each such person. No person shall be paid any amount pursuant to this Subparagraph until after execution of a written release (Attachment I) of all claims, legal or equitable, which he or she might have against Defendants relating to the claims asserted in this lawsuit;
    7. In the event that the United States distributes less than the total amount of compensation for aggrieved persons specified in Section III(A) above, the remainder shall be paid to an organization or organizations, to be determined by the United States, engaged in activities that promote fair housing in Alamance County, North Carolina.
  7. Civil Penalties
    1. Within thirty (30) days after the entry of this Consent Order, the Defendants, jointly and severally, shall pay the sum of Twenty-Five Thousand dollars ($25,000) to the United States as a civil penalty, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C). This payment shall be delivered to counsel for the United States in the form of a cashier's check payable to the "United States of America."
    2. In the event that any of the Defendants or their agents or employees engage in any future violation(s) of the Fair Housing Act, such violation(s) shall constitute a "subsequent violation" pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d).
  8. Duration of Consent Order
    1. This case is dismissed without prejudice, except that this Court shall retain jurisdiction for the duration of the Order to enforce the terms of this Order. Prior to the expiration of the five-year term of this Order, the United States may move the Court to extend the duration of the Order. The burden shall be on the United States to prove that an extension is necessary. Absent such a motion for extension, this case shall, by operation of this Order, be dismissed with prejudice when the term of this Order ends.
  9. Remedies for Non-Performance

    The parties to this Consent 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 of a failure by Defendants, whether willful or otherwise, to perform in a timely manner any act required by this Consent Order or otherwise to act in violation of any provision thereof, the United States may move this Court to impose any remedy authorized by law or equity, including, but not limited to, an order requiring performance of such act or deeming such act to have been performed. The Court shall retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of this Order upon a motion to reopen the case for such purpose.

  10. Time for Performance

    Prior to dismissal, any time limits for performance imposed by this Consent Order may be extended by mutual agreement of the parties.

ORDERED this _________ day of _______________________, 2000.

__________________________
United States District Judge

The undersigned agree to and request the entry of this Consent Order:

Bill Lann Lee
Acting Assistant Attorney
General Civil Rights Division

Joan A. Magagna
Chief
Isabelle M. Thabault
Deputy Chief
Clay G. Guthridge
Eric I. Halperin
Attorneys
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
(202) 353-9706

Walter C. Holton, Jr.
United States Attorney

Gill P. Beck
Assistant U.S. Attorney
101 S. Edgeworth St. 4th Fl.
Greensboro, NC 27401
(910) 333-5351

Kenneth R. Keller
Carruthers & Roth, P.A.
235 North Edgeworth Street
Post Office Box 540
Greensboro, N.C. 27402


ATTACHMENT A Standards and Procedures
  1. It is the policy of the owners and managers of the Sleepy Hollow Estates Mobile Home Park not to discriminate against anyone in any aspect of the sale of mobile homes or the rental of mobile home lots because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, handicap, or familial status (having children under the age of 18 years).
  2. Thank you for considering Sleepy Hollow Estates.
  3. If we do not currently have any lots or homes available you may have your name placed on a waiting list. The names are kept on the waiting list for 45 days. We will contact you if a lot becomes available during that time. If you wish to remain on the waiting list after the 45 day period, you should contact Sleepy Hollow Estates prior to the end of the 45 day period.
  4. Regardless of whether or not there is a vacancy, each prospective tenant will be given upon request a copy of the Park Regulations and Lease Agreement Application. In order to qualify for tenancy at Sleepy Hollow Estates you must complete the application.

ATTACHMENT B AVAILABILITY LIST

ATTACHMENT C WAITING LIST

ATTACHMENT D

On __________________________, 200__, I was instructed by _______________________________ with respect to my responsibilities under the Sleepy Hollow Estates rental and sale policies and procedures and the Order entered by the federal district court in United States v. Sleepy Hollow Estates and Jessie Roberts, __________________(M.D.N.C.). I have received a copy of and have read that Order. I understand my legal responsibilities under this Order and those policies and procedures, and I will comply with those responsibilities. I further understand that the Court may impose sanctions on me if I violate a provision of this Order and that my employer may also discipline me if I violate a provision of that Order.

_________________________
(Signature)
_________________________
(Print name)
_________________________
(Date)


ATTACHMENT E INQUIRY LOG

ATTACHMENT F PARK REGULATIONS AND LEASE AGREEMENT APPLICATION

ATTACHMENT G

Fair Housing Council of North Carolina
P.O. Box 1929
Durham, NC 27702
Tel: (919)667-0888
Fax: (919)667-1558
ATTN: Stella Adams

North Carolina Human Rights Commission
1318 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1318
Tel: (919) 733-7996
Fax: (919) 733-7940
ATTN: Maggie Faulcon

Greensboro Human Relations Commission
P.O. Box 3136
Greensboro, NC 27402
Tel: (336) 373-2038
Fax: (336) 373-2505
ATTN: Warlena Lane

North State Legal Services
P.O. Box 670
Hillsborough, NC 27278
Tel: (919) 732-8137
Fax: (919) 644-0694
ATTN: Managing Attorney

Piedmont Health Services
Box 4
Prospect Hill, NC 27314
Tel: (336) 562-3311
Fax: (336) 562-4444
ATTN: Tony Garcia
Email: garciaa@piedmontclinics.com

Family Resource Center
P.O. Box 836
Siler City, NC 27344
Tel: (919) 663-5867
Fax: Same as phone, call ahead
ATTN: Bill McFadden


ATTACHMENT H NOTICE TO POTENTIAL VICTIMS OF HOUSING DISCRIMINATION

On ________________________, 2000, the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina entered a consent order resolving a lawsuit brought by the United States Department of Justice against Sleepy Hollow Estates Mobile Home Park located at 2833 Highway 87 in Graham, North Carolina.

In that lawsuit, the Department of Justice alleges that Sleepy Hollow Estates engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by:

  1. making explicit statements with respect to the rental of lots and the sale of homes that indicated a clear preference, policy and intent to limit and exclude black persons; and
  2. denying that lots or homes were available to black persons while at the same time telling white persons about available lots for rent and homes for sale.

In the consent order, the Defendants deny that they have engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination.

Under this consent order, you may be entitled to receive monetary relief if you or anyone you know, on the basis of their race

  • were discouraged from renting a lot or buying a mobile home from Sleepy Hollow Estates; or
  • were told a that a mobile home or lot was not available.

If you wish to make a claim for discrimination or if you have any information about persons who may have such a claim, please contact the United States Department of Justice at 1-800-896-7743. You may also write to:

United States Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
Attn: 175-54m-68

NOTE: You must call or write no later than ________, 2000.


Attachment I

RELEASE

In consideration for the parties' agreement to the terms of the Consent Order entered in United States, et al. v.Sleepy Hollow Estates, Inc. and Jessie Roberts, Civil Action No.  (M.D.N.C), and payment by Sleepy Hollow Estates and Jessie Roberts("Defendants") to me [and my spouse jointly] of $___________, on behalf of myself, my personal representatives, successors, heirs, assigns, and all members of my family, I hereby remise, release and forever discharge all claims of any kind, nature or description whatsoever, related to the facts at issue in the litigation referenced above, or in any way related to that litigation, and any other claims arising from alleged housing discrimination up to and including the date of execution of this release, that I may have against any of the Defendants, their heirs, executors, administrators, successors, assigns, agents, employees and agents.

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed this ____ day of _____________, 2000.

______________________
Signature
______________________
Name (printed) ______________________
Address


1. "'Dwelling' means any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more families, and any vacant land which is offered for sale or lease for the construction or location thereon of any such building, structure, or portion thereof." 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

2. All documents or other communications required by this Order to be sent to counsel for the United States shall be addressed as follows: Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice, P.O. Box 65998, Washington, D.C. 20035-5998, Attention: DJ 175-54M-68. > >

Updated August 6, 2015

Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?
Yes No