Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEVADA



UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

           Plaintiff,

v.

CV-N-05-0077-HDM (VPC)

GRAND CANYON ENTERPRISES, INC., and
ANITA GRABOWSKI,

           Defendants.

v.

CHARLES BELL, VICTORIA BELL,
CAROLYN JACKSON, LANIE STOVALL
and DOES I-X,

           Third-Party Defendants

__________________________________________

CHARLES BELL, VICTORIA BELL,
and CAROLYN JACKSON,

           Plaintiff-Intervenors.

__________________________________________



CONSENT ORDER

I.    INTRODUCTION

1. The United States of America filed the Complaint on behalf of "Complainants" Victoria Bell, Charles Bell, and Carolyn Jackson pursuant to subsection 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act ("the Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

2. All of the Complainants are African-American. Complainants Victoria and Charles Bell allege that they are disabled or are regarded as being disabled, within the meaning of the Act. (1) Complainant Carolyn Jackson intended to reside with the Bells within the meaning of the Act.

3. The Complaint alleges that Defendant Anita Grabowski discriminated against the Complainants on the basis of race and disability when she refused to rent them an apartment located at the subject property, a seven-unit apartment building located at 750 Moran Street in Reno, Nevada. Defendant Grand Canyon Enterprises, Inc., is a Nevada corporation that, at all times relevant to the Complaint, owned the subject property. Defendant Anita Grabowski is one of two shareholders in Grand Canyon Enterprises, Inc., and, at all times relevant to this Complaint, served as property manager of the subject property.

4. The Complaint alleges that in refusing to rent to the Complainants, Defendants' actions constituted: a refusal to rent, a refusal to negotiate for the rental of, or conduct otherwise making unavailable or denying dwellings to the Complainants because of race, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a); discrimination against the Complainants in the terms, conditions or privileges of rental of a dwelling because of race, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b); statements of preference or limitation on the basis of race and disability in connection with the rental of dwellings, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c); a refusal to rent, a refusal to negotiate for the rental of, or conduct otherwise making unavailable or denying dwellings to the Complainants because of disability, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1); and discrimination against the Complainants in the terms, conditions or privileges of rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection with a dwelling, because of disability, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(2). 5. The Defendants deny each and every allegation in the Complaint.

6. On June 25, 2002, the Complainants filed a timely complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging discrimination based on race and disability, in violation of the Act. HUD then conducted and completed an investigation of the complaint and determined that reasonable cause existed to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred. After Defendants elected to proceed in this Court, HUD referred the case to the Department of Justice for filing pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o)(1). The Department of Justice filed suit on February 7, 2005.

7. On August 15, 2005, Defendants filed a Third-Party Complaint against the HUD Complainants and associated persons, and filed a First Amended Third-Party Complaint on September 22, 2005. The Court dismissed the Third-Party Complaint, with leave to file a Counter-claim against the Complainants, on December 23, 2005. The Defendants filed a Counter-claim against the Complainants on January 8, 2006.

8. On October 11, 2005, the Complainants moved to intervene through counsel, and on December 16, 2005, Complainants' motion was granted and the complaint-in-intervention filed.

9. The parties agree that this Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1345, § 1331, and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

10. The parties agree that, in order to avoid costly and protracted litigation, the claims against Defendants and the Counter-claim against the Plaintiff-Intervenors should be resolved without further proceedings and an evidentiary hearing. Therefore, as indicated by the signatures appearing below, the parties agree to the entry of this Consent Order. This Consent Order constitutes full resolution of the United States' and Complainants' claims that Defendants discriminated against the Complainants on the basis of race and disability; Complainants' claims that Defendants retaliated against them for filing a Fair Housing Act complaint with HUD; and Defendants' Counter-claim against the HUD Complainants.

It is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED:

II.    GENERAL INJUNCTION

11. Defendants, their officers, employees, agents, successors and assigns, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them are enjoined from:

A. Refusing to rent, refusing to negotiate for the rental of, or engaging in conduct that otherwise makes unavailable or denies dwellings to any renter, or any person associated with that renter, because of race, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);

B. Discriminating against any renter in the terms, conditions or privileges of rental of a dwelling because of race, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b);

C. Making, printing or publishing, or causing to be made, printed or published, any notice, statement or advertisement, with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicates a preference, limitation, or discrimination, or an intent to make such a preference, limitation or discrimination, based on race or disability, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c);

D. Refusing to rent, refusing to negotiate for the rental of, or engaging in conduct otherwise making unavailable or denying dwellings to any renter because of disability, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1);

E. Discriminating against any renter in the terms, conditions or privileges of rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection with a dwelling, because of disability, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(2); and

F. Coercing, intimidating, threatening or interfering with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his/her having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his/her having aided and encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted by the Act, including the Complainants, as well as anyone who participated in HUD's investigation of the administrative complaints that gave rise to this action, including, but not limited to, filing federal or state court actions against such persons as a result of their participation in this action.

III.     DAMAGES FOR AGGRIEVED PERSONS

12. Within ten (10) days of Defendants' receipt of an executed Release or the entry of this Order, whichever comes later, Defendants shall pay to Complainants forty thousand dollars ($40,000) in monetary damages and attorney's fees and costs, in the form of a single-payee check made payable to the Attorney Client Trust Account of Brancart & Brancart. (2) Counsel for Complainants shall send to Defendants an executed Release of all claims, legal or equitable, that the Complainants might have against Defendants relating to the claims asserted in this lawsuit, and counsel for Defendants shall send to counsel for Complainants an executed Release of all claims, legal or equitable, that the Defendants might have against Complainants relating to the claims or counter-claims asserted in this lawsuit. The Release is at Appendix A.

IV.    PUBLIC NOTICE OF NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY

13. Within ten (10) days of the date of entry of this Order and throughout the term of this Order, Defendants shall post and prominently display in all rental properties owned or operated by them a sign no smaller than 10 inches by 14 inches indicating that all dwellings are available for rental on a nondiscriminatory basis. A poster that comports with 24 C.F.R. Part 110 will satisfy this requirement.

14. Within ten (10) days of the date of entry of this Order and throughout the term of this Order, Defendants shall ensure that all advertising for all rental properties owned or operated by them, in newspapers, telephone directories, radio, television, the Internet, or other media, and on signs, pamphlets, brochures and other promotional literature, include a fair housing logo, the words "equal housing opportunity provider," and/or the following sentence:

We are an equal opportunity housing provider. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability.

The words or logo should be prominently placed and easily legible.

15. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order, Defendants shall provide to all employees and tenants of all rental properties owned or operated by them a written notice, conforming with that at Appendix B, describing Defendants' policy of nondiscrimination based on race and disability. Defendants shall also provide this policy to all prospective tenants at the time of application.

V.    TRAINING

16. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order, Defendants shall provide a copy of this Order to all their agents and employees whose duties, in whole or in part, involve the management or administration of all rental properties owned or operated by them and shall secure the signed statement from each agent or employee acknowledging that he or she has received, read and understands the Order and nondiscrimination policy, and has had an opportunity to have questions about the Order and nondiscrimination policy answered. This statement shall be substantially in the form of Appendix C.

17. During the term of this Order, each new employee or agent whose duties, in whole or in part, involve the management or administration of all rental properties owned or operated by Defendants shall be given a copy of this Order and be required to sign a statement substantially in the form of Appendix C.

18. Within ninety (90) days of the date of entry of this Consent Order, Defendants and all employees and agents whose duties, in whole or in part, involve the management or administration of all rental properties owned or operated by them shall undergo fair housing training. The training shall focus on discrimination because of race and disability and shall inform these individuals of their obligations under the Order as well as applicable state or local law. The training shall be conducted by a qualified third party, approved by the United States and unconnected to Defendants or their employees, agents or counsel, and any expenses associated with this training shall be borne by Defendants. Those who attend the training shall be required to sign a certification confirming their attendance, in a form substantially equivalent to Appendix D.

VI.     REPORTING AND RECORD-KEEPING REQUIREMENTS

19. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order, and thereafter on the anniversary of the entry of this Order, Defendants shall submit to the United States the signed statement of each agent and employee referred to in paragraphs 16-18. (3)

20. Within thirty (30) days after the training required by paragraph 15, above, Defendants shall provide to the United States: the name(s), address(es) and telephone number(s) of the trainer(s); copies of the training outlines and any materials distributed by the trainers; and the certifications required by paragraph executed by all Defendants and covered employees and agents confirming their attendance, in a form substantially equivalent to Appendix D.

21. For the duration of this Order, Defendants shall advise counsel for the United States, in writing, within fifteen (15) days of receipt of any complaint of housing discrimination against any Defendant, or against any of Defendants' agents, officers, or employees. Such report shall include the date of the complaint, a description of the nature of the complaint, and contact information for the complaining party. Within fifteen (15) days of the resolution of any such complaints, Defendants shall advise counsel for the United States in writing, of such resolutions.

22. For the duration of this Order, Defendants shall preserve all records related to this Order and to all rental properties owned, operated or acquired by them. Such documents include, but are not limited to, advertisements, applications, leases, resident assessment materials, tenant files, policies and procedures, and inquiry logs. Upon reasonable notice to Defendants, representatives of the United States shall be permitted to inspect and copy any of Defendants' records or inspect any covered dwelling under Defendants' control at any and all reasonable times so as to determine compliance with the Consent Order; provided, however, that the United States shall endeavor to minimize any inconvenience to Defendants from such inspections.

VII.    DURATION OF ORDER AND TERMINATION OF LEGAL ACTION

23. The Court shall retain jurisdiction for three years after the date of entry of this Order to enforce the terms of the Order, after which time the case shall be dismissed with prejudice. Prior to the expiration of the Order's term, the United States may move the Court to extend the duration of the Order in the interests of justice.

24. By consenting to entry of this Order, 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 any Defendant engaged in any violation(s) of the Fair Housing Act, such violation(s) shall constitute a "subsequent violation" by that Defendant pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C)(ii).

25. The parties shall endeavor in good faith to resolve informally any differences regarding the 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 to perform in a timely manner any act required by this Order or otherwise to act in violation of any provision thereof, the United States or Complainants' counsel 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, and an award of any damages, costs, and reasonable attorney's fees which may have been occasioned by the violation or failure to perform.

VIII.   TIME FOR PERFORMANCE

26. Any time limits for performance imposed by this Consent Order may be extended by the mutual agreement of the United States, the Complainants, and the Defendants.

IX.     COSTS OF LITIGATION

27. Each party to this Consent Order shall bear its own costs and attorney's fees associated with this litigation.



IT IS SO ORDERED:



This ________ day of ____________________ , 2006.



___________________________________
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE




________________
Date
_____________________________
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM, Chief
KEISHA DAWN BELL, Deputy Chief
RACHEL B. LEVINSON, Trial Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., G Street
Washington, DC 20530
Attorney for Plaintiff
Phone: (202) 305-7126
Fax: (202) 514-1116




________________
Date

_____________________________
WM. PATTERSON CASHILL
The Cashill Law Firm
410 California Ave.
Reno, NV 89509
Attorney for Defendants
Phone: (775) 334-4444
Fax: (775) 334-4440




________________
Date

_____________________________
CHRISTOPHER BRANCART
Brancart & Brancart
8205 Pescadero Road
Loma Mar, CA 94021
Attorney for Plaintiff-Intervenors
Phone: (650) 879-0141
Fax: (650) 879-1103




________________
Date

_____________________________
MARC ASHLEY
Washoe Legal Services
650 Tahoe Street
Reno, NV 89509
Attorney for Plaintiff-Intervenors
Phone: (775) 329-2727
Fax: (775) 324-5509





APPENDIX A



MUTUAL RELEASE OF CLAIMS

In consideration of the parties' agreement to the terms of the Consent Order entered in United States v. Grand Canyon Enterprises, Inc., et al., Civil No. CV-N-05-0077-HDM (VPC) (D. Nev.), and Defendants' payment of the sum of forty thousand dollars ($40,000), Plaintiff-Intervenors hereby release the Defendants named in this action, Grand Canyon Enterprises, Inc., and Anita Grabowski, from any and all liability for any claims, legal or equitable, Plaintiff-Intervenors may have against them arising out of the issues alleged in the action, and Defendants fully release Plaintiff-Intervenors from any and all liability for any claims, legal or equitable, Defendants may have against Plaintiff-Intervenors arising out of the issues alleged in the action or the Counter-claim. The undersigned fully acknowledge and agree that this release of Defendants shall be binding on their heirs, representatives, executors, successors, administrators, and assigns. They hereby acknowledge that they have read and understand this release and have executed it voluntarily and with full knowledge of its legal consequences.



____________________________________
SIGNATURE



NAME: ________________________________________



ADDRESS: _____________________________________

_____________________________________

_____________________________________



DATE: __________________



____________________________________
SIGNATURE



NAME: ________________________________________



ADDRESS: _____________________________________

_____________________________________

_____________________________________



DATE: __________________



____________________________________
SIGNATURE



NAME: ________________________________________



ADDRESS: _____________________________________

_____________________________________

_____________________________________





DATE: __________________






APPENDIX B



NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY



It is the policy of Grand Canyon Enterprises, Inc. and Anita Grabowski to comply with Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (commonly known as the Fair Housing Act) by ensuring that apartments are available to all persons without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, disability, familial status or sex. This policy means, among other things, that Anita Grabowski and all agents or employees of Mrs. Grabowski or Grand Canyon Enterprises, Inc. with the responsibility for renting, managing or administering any dwelling units must not discriminate on the basis of race or disability in any aspect of the rental of dwellings to qualified applicants or tenants. Such agents and employees must refrain from:

A. Refusing to rent, refusing to negotiate for the rental of, or engaging in conduct that otherwise makes unavailable or denies dwellings to any renter, or any person associated with that renter, because of race;

B. Discriminating against any renter in the terms, conditions or privileges of rental of a dwelling because of race;

C. Making, printing or publishing, or causing to be made, printed or published, any notice, statement or advertisement, with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicates a preference, limitation, or discrimination, or an intent to make such a preference, limitation or discrimination, based on race or disability;

D. Refusing to rent, refusing to negotiate for the rental of, or engaging in conduct otherwise making unavailable or denying dwellings to any renter because of disability;

E. Discriminating against any renter in the terms, conditions or privileges of rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection with a dwelling, because of disability; and

F. Coercing, intimidating, threatening or interfering with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of her having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his/her having aided and encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted by the Fair Housing Act.

Any agent or employee who fails to comply with this nondiscrimination policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action which may include termination and/or eviction. Any action taken by an agent or employee that results in the unequal service, treatment or behavior to tenants on the basis of race or disability may constitute a violation of state and federal fair housing laws. Any tenant who believes that any of the above policies has been violated by any owner, agent or employee may contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777 or the U.S. Department of Justice at 1-800-896-7743 or 202-514-4713.






APPENDIX C



EMPLOYEE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT







On ________, 200___, I, ______________________, was instructed by _______________________ with respect to my responsibilities under the Consent Order entered by the U.S. District Court in United States v. Grand Canyon Enterprises, Inc., et al., Civil No. ____________ (D. Nev.) and the federal Fair Housing Act. I was also instructed as to Grand Canyon Enterprises, Inc.'s rental policies and procedures. I have received copies of and have read the Consent Order and the nondiscrimination policy. I understand my legal responsibilities and will comply with those responsibilities.



___________________________
Signature





____________________________
Print name





___________________________
Job Title





________________
Date






APPENDIX D



EMPLOYEE CERTIFICATION







On___________________________ , 200__, I, ________________________, was instructed by

__________________________________ with respect to my responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act. I understand my legal responsibilities and will comply with those responsibilities.



___________________________
Signature





___________________________
Job Title





________________
Date








1. This document uses the terms "disabled" and "disability" rather than "handicapped" and "handicap," which the Act uses. The terms as used in this document are synonymous.

2. Complainants are represented by Chris Brancart, Brancart & Brancart, 8205 Pescadero Road, Loma Mar, California, 94021.

3. All submission to the United States or its counsel shall be made to: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section - NWB, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20530, Attn: DJ No. 175-46-117.


Document Entered: February 8, 2006. > >
Updated August 6, 2015

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