Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
DALLAS DIVISION

United States of America,
     Plaintiff,

v.

CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:99-CV-0495-R

Prestonwood Properties, Inc.;
Stillmeadow Property
Management, Inc.;
Kevin Lane Hinds, also
known as Kevin Layne:
Hinds, individually and in his
capacity as officer of
Stillmeadow;
Ronald D. Hinds, individually
and in his capacity as officer
of Prestonwood;
Leslie Hinds, individually and
in his capacity as officer of
Prestonwood,
     Defendants.

______________________________

COMPLAINT

The United States of America alleges:

  1. JURISDICTION AND VENUE

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, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 - 3619.

  1. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345, 42 U.S.C. § 3612, and 42 U.S.C. § 3614.
  2. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because all Defendants reside in Texas, and Defendants Kevin Layne Hinds and Ronald D. Hinds reside in the Northern District of Texas.
  1. PROPERTY AND PARTIES
  1. "Manor House" is residential rental property at 703 Bumpas Street, McKinney, Texas, 75069 that was owned and/or managed by Defendants at all relevant times. The property and approximately 100 apartments at Manor House are dwellings within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b). At all relevant times, the Manor House apartments were subsidized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Section 8 program, and the units were occupied by low-income persons.
  2. Defendant Prestonwood Properties, Inc., ("Prestonwood") is a Texas corporation that on or about December 2, 1988, doing business as Manor House Apartments, purchased Manor House. Prestonwood was the owner of Manor House until at least June 6, 1995, when Prestonwood lost Manor House through foreclosure.
  3. Defendant Stillmeadow Property Management, Inc., ("Stillmeadow") is a Texas corporation that, for the period of approximately mid-1989 through at least July 31, 1994, managed Manor House through a contractual agreement with Prestonwood.
  4. Defendant Ronald D. Hinds ("Ronald Hinds") is an attorney and member of the Texas bar. Ronald Hinds resides as 965 Gibbs Crossing, Coppell, Texas, 75019. At all relevant times, Ronald Hinds was Prestonwood's president and one of Prestonwood's two shareholders. At all relevant times, Ronald Hinds served as counsel for Prestonwood and Stillmeadow. Ronald Hinds is the brother of Defendant Kevin Hinds and the son of Defendant Leslie Hinds.
  5. Defendant Leslie R. Hinds ("Leslie Hinds") is a resident of Midland, Texas. At all relevant times, Leslie Hinds was Prestonwood's vice president and one of Prestonwood's two shareholders. Leslie Hinds is the father of Defendant Kevin Hinds and Defendant Ronald Hinds.
  6. Defendant Kevin Layne Hinds, also known as Kevin Layne: Hinds, ("Kevin Hinds") resides at 418 Sheffield Drive, Richardson, Texas. At all relevant times, Kevin Hinds was the president, sole shareholder, and business manager for Stillmeadow. Kevin Hinds is the son of Defendant Leslie R. Hinds and brother of Defendant Ronald D. Hinds.
  1. FACTUAL AND LEGAL BACKGROUND
  1. In approximately mid-1989, Defendants Prestonwood, Ronald Hinds, and Leslie Hinds entered into an agreement with Defendants Stillmeadow and Kevin Hinds whereby Stillmeadow and Kevin Hinds would manage Manor House. From approximately mid-1989 until at least July 31, 1994, Stillmeadow and Kevin Hinds managed Manor House pursuant to this agreement on behalf of Defendants Prestonwood, Ronald Hinds, and Leslie Hinds.
  2. Wayne Asset Management, Inc., formerly known as Sunrise Asset Management, Inc., ("Wayne Asset Management") is a Texas corporation incorporated in approximately 1994 with a principal place of business in San Antonio. At all relevant times, Herschel Wayne Feazel Jr. ("Mr. Feazel, Jr.") was president of Wayne Asset Management, Inc., and one of its two shareholders, and Herschel Wayne Feazel Sr. ("Mr. Feazel, Sr.") was vice-president and the other shareholder.
  3. On approximately July 31, 1994, Prestonwood entered into a contract with Wayne Asset Management under which Wayne Asset Management would manage certain aspects of Manor House, effective approximately August 14, 1994. Despite this contract, Defendants Prestonwood, Ronald Hinds, and Leslie Hinds specifically instructed Wayne Asset Management, Mr. Feazel Sr. and Mr. Feazel Jr. that Kevin Hinds would continue to have ultimate decision making authority for Manor House on behalf of Defendants Prestonwood, Ronald Hinds, and Leslie Hinds. Defendant Kevin Hinds continued to control management of Manor House pursuant to this authority through at least June 5, 1996.

    IV. FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF

  4. Plaintiff realleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 through 12 above.
  5. On or about March 8, 1995, complainants Mary Jackson, Vicky Lucero (formerly known as Vicky Monteldo), Virginia Carrasco (formerly known as Virginia Lewallen), and Citronella Goodman, on behalf of herself and her children Erica LaShawn Johnson and Mariah Marques Goodman, submitted to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development ("the Secretary") complaints alleging housing discrimination on the basis of sex. These complaints, filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), allege that Kevin Hinds had sexually harassed the complainants during their respective tenancies at Manor House.
  6. On or about June 1, 1995, complainant Jimmie Sue Davis, who had worked in the Manor House office from approximately November 15, 1994 until approximately March 15, 1995, filed a complaint with the Secretary, alleging that Kevin Hinds had terminated her employment because she had assisted the complainants identified in paragraph 14 and other persons in exercising their rights under the Fair Housing Act, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3617.
  7. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary conducted an investigation of the complaints, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on the information gathered in that investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause exists to believe that discriminatory housing practices occurred. Therefore, on October 30, 1998, the Secretary issued a Determination of Reasonable Cause and Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging Defendants Stillmeadow, Kevin Hinds, Prestonwood, Ronald Hinds, and Leslie Hinds with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
  8. On or about November 24, 1998, Defendants Ronald Hinds, Leslie Hinds, and Prestonwood elected to have the charge resolved in a federal civil action pursuant to Section 812(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
  9. On or about November 30, 1998, the Secretary authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action on behalf of the complainants, pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
  10. Defendants Prestonwood, Stillmeadow, Ronald Hinds, Leslie Hinds, and Kevin Hinds have discriminated against the complainants identified in paragraph 14 on the basis of sex in connection with the rental of dwellings in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Specifically, Kevin Hinds subjected the complainants to extensive, continuous, unwelcome, and uninvited sexual harassment; conditioned tenancy on compliance with sexual favors; created a hostile environment for complainants; and intimidated complainants from reporting his acts to the police and the Secretary, and from pursuing other avenues of legal redress. Among other acts, Defendant Kevin Hinds engaged in one or more of the following acts with respect to each complainant:
    1. touching in a sexually suggestive way;
    2. engaging in sexual assaults;
    3. making repeated and unwelcome sexual comments, sexual propositions, and sexual advances;
    4. refusing to make repairs, imposing rent increases, issuing citations for minor or nonexistent lease violations, making insulting and publicly humiliating remarks;
    5. threatening and/or instituting eviction actions without cause in retaliation for declining sexual advances; and
    6. with respect to Jimmie Sue Davis, terminating or causing her to be terminated from her employment at Manor House because she opposed Kevin Hinds' discriminatory conduct and assisted other women in reporting Defendant Kevin Hinds' conduct to the Secretary.
  11. The discriminatory practices described above resulted in the actual eviction and/or constructive eviction of one or more complainants from their dwellings, thereby making the dwellings unavailable to them because of their sex in violation of Section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a).
  12. The conduct described above, creating a hostile and abusive environment for complainants and conditioning tenancy upon the acceptance of sexual harassment and performance of sexual favors, constitutes a violation of Section 804(b) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b).
  13. The conduct described above, including propositioning and demanding sexual favors from complainants, constitutes a violation of Section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).
  14. The conduct described above of coercing, intimidating, threatening, and/or interfering with complainants in their exercise or enjoyment of rights granted by Section 804 of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, constitutes a violation of Section 818 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3617.
  15. Defendants Ronald Hinds, Leslie Hinds, and Prestonwood knew or should have known of the discriminatory conduct of Defendants Kevin Hinds and Stillmeadow but refused to take action to curtail and/or prevent the discriminatory conduct, in violation of Sections 804(a), 804(b), 804(c), and 818 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a),(b),(c) and 3617.
  16. Mary Jackson, Vicky Lucero, Citronella Goodman, Virginia Carrasco, and Jimmie Sue Davis are aggrieved persons as defined in Section 802(i) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i). They have suffered damages as a result of Defendants' conduct as described herein.
  17. The conduct of Defendants Kevin Hinds and Stillmeadow described herein was intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of Mary Jackson, Vicky Lucero, Citronella Goodman, Virginia Carrasco, and Jimmie Sue Davis.
    1. the conduct of Defendants Prestonwood, Ronald Hinds, and Leslie Hinds, as described herein, was intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of Mary Jackson, Vicky Lucero, Citronella Goodman, Virginia Carrasco, and Jimmie Sue Davis.
    2. Alternatively, the conduct of Defendants Prestonwood, Ronald Hinds, and Leslie Hinds, as described herein, was negligent with respect to Mary Jackson, Vicky Lucero, Citronella Goodman, Virginia Carrasco, and Jimmie Sue Davis because these Defendants knew or should have known about the harassment and failed to stop it; because these Defendants failed to prevent or correct the harassment; and because these Defendants failed to exercise reasonable care in training, hiring, education, and supervision of Manor House staff.

    V. SECOND CLAIM FOR RELIEF

  18. Plaintiff realleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 through 27 above.
  19. Defendants Prestonwood, Stillmeadow, Ronald Hinds, Leslie Hinds, and Kevin Hinds have discriminated not only against the complainants identified in paragraph 14 but also against other female tenants on the basis of sex in connection with the rental of dwellings in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Specifically, Defendant Kevin Hinds subjected other female tenants to extensive, continuous, unwelcome, and uninvited sexual harassment; conditioned tenancy on compliance with sexual favors; created a hostile environment for female tenants; and intimidated female tenants from reporting his acts to the police and the Secretary, and from pursuing other avenues of legal redress. Among other acts, Defendant Kevin Hinds engaged in one or more of the following acts with respect to other female tenants:
    1. touching in a sexually suggestive way;
    2. engaging in sexual assaults;
    3. making repeated and unwelcome sexual comments, sexual propositions, and sexual advances;
    4. refusing to make repairs, imposing rent increases, issuing citations for minor or nonexistent lease violations, making insulting and publicly humiliating remarks; and
    5. threatening and/or instituting eviction actions without cause in retaliation for declining sexual advances.
  20. The discriminatory practices described above resulted in the actual eviction and/or constructive eviction of one or more other female tenants from their dwellings, thereby making the dwellings unavailable to them because of their sex in violation of Section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a).
  21. The conduct described above, creating a hostile and abusive environment for other female tenants and conditioning tenancy upon the acceptance of sexual harassment and performance of sexual favors, constitutes a violation of Section 804(b) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b).
  22. The conduct described above, including propositioning and demanding sexual favors from other female tenants, constitutes a violation of Section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).
  23. The conduct described above of coercing, intimidating, threatening, and/or interfering with other female tenants in their exercise or enjoyment of rights granted by Section 804 of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, constitutes a violation of Section 818 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3617.
  24. Defendants Ronald Hinds, Leslie Hinds, and Prestonwood knew or should have known of the discriminatory conduct of Defendants Kevin Hinds and Stillmeadow but refused to take action to curtail and/or prevent the discriminatory conduct, in violation of Sections 804(a), 804(b), 804(c), and 818 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a),(b),(c) and 3617.
  25. The conduct of the Defendants described above with regard to the complainants identified in paragraph 14 and with regard to other female tenants constitutes:
    1. A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a); and/or
    2. A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, which denial raises an issue of general public importance under Section 814(a), 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
  26. The complainants identified in paragraph 14 and other female tenants who were subjected to Defendants' discriminatory housing practices are aggrieved persons as defined in Section 802(i) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i) who suffered actual injury and damages as a result of Defendants' conduct as described herein.
  27. The conduct of Defendants Kevin Hinds and Stillmeadow, as described herein, was intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of others.
    1. The conduct of Defendants Prestonwood, Ronald Hinds, and Leslie Hinds, as described herein, was intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of others.
    2. Alternatively, the conduct of Defendants Prestonwood, Ronald Hinds, and Leslie Hinds, as described herein, was negligent because these Defendants knew or should have known about the harassment and failed to stop it; because these Defendants failed to prevent or correct the harassment; and because these Defendants failed to exercise reasonable care in training, hiring, education, and supervision of Manor House staff.
  1. PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an order that:

  1. Declares that Defendants' policies and practices, as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 - 3619;
  2. Enjoins the Defendants, their agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them from:
    1. Discriminating on the basis of sex against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling.
    2. 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
    3. Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to (1) restore, as nearly as practicable, the victims of the Defendants' past unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct; and (2) notify residents of their rental properties as well as the public that the properties will be operated in a manner so as not to discriminate on the basis of sex;
  3. Awards such damages as would fully compensate Mary Jackson, Vicky Lucero, Citronella Goodman, Virginia Carrasco, and Jimmie Sue Davis, and each other person aggrieved by Defendants' discriminatory housing practices for injuries caused by the Defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to Section 814(d)(1)(B) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B);
  4. Awards punitive damages to Mary Jackson, Vicky Lucero, Citronella Goodman, Virginia Carrasco, and Jimmie Sue Davis, and each other person aggrieved by Defendants' discriminatory housing practices, pursuant to Section 812(o)(3) and 814(d)(1)(B) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3614(d)(1)(B); and
  5. Assesses a civil penalty against each Defendant in order to vindicate the public interest, pursuant to Section 814(d)(1)(C) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C).

The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.

JANET RENO
Attorney General

BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistant Attorny General
Civil Rights Division

JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section

BRIAN F. HEFFERNAN
CLAY G. GUTHRIDGE
ELIZABETH O. TUCCI
Attorneys, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
Tel.: (202) 353-9707

PAUL COGGINS
United States Attorney
Northern District of Texas > >

Updated August 6, 2015

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