Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEVADA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,
MARK MORTENSON,
     Plaintiff-Intervenor,

v.

INLAND EMPIRE BUILDERS, INC.,
THE HEERS FAMILY TRUST,
CHARLES M. HEERS,
MARILYN C. HEERS, ERIC MILLER,
GEORGE F. TIBSHERANY,
and ECHO BAY CONDOMINIUM
OWNERS ASSOCIATION,
     Defendants.

__________________________________________

CONSENT ORDER BETWEEN PLAINTIFF UNITED STATES AND DEFENDANTS INLAND EMPIRE BUILDERS, INC., THE HEERS FAMILY TRUST, CHARLES M. HEERS, AND ERIC MILLER
  1. This Consent Order is entered into between Plaintiff United States and Defendants Inland Empire Builders, Inc., The Heers Family Trust, Charles M. Heers, Marilyn C. Heers, and Eric Miller (hereinafter collectively referred to as "Settling Defendants"). Plaintiff-Intervenor Mark Mortenson and Defendants George F. Tibsherany and Echo Bay Condominium Owners Association are not parties to this Order.
  2. On January 15, 1999, the United States filed its First Amended Complaint alleging, in part, that Defendants Inland Empire Builders, Inc., The Heers Family Trust, Charles M. Heers, Marilyn C. Heers, and Eric Miller engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of disability by: (1) failing to design and construct Aviata Apartments (2121 East Warm Springs Road), Eastgate Apartments (3055 South Nellis Boulevard), Echo Bay Condominiums (2725 South Nellis Boulevard), and Mesa Verde Apartments (6335 Annie Oakley Drive) in Las Vegas, Nevada with the features of accessible and adaptable design set forth in the Fair Housing Act ("FHA"), 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C), and Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines ("FHAG"), 56 Fed. Reg. 9472; and (2) thereby making housing unavailable to persons with disabilities at the aforementioned Complexes in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1). Subsequent discovery has led the United States to allege that Defendants Inland Empire Builders, Inc., The Heers Family Trust, Charles M. Heers, and Marilyn C. Heers also failed to design and construct Vintage Apartments (8321 West Sahara Avenue) in Las Vegas in compliance with the Fair Housing Act.
  3. Defendants Inland Empire Builders, Inc. and The Heers Family Trust are the developers and builders of Aviata Apartments, Eastgate Apartments, Echo Bay Condominiums, Mesa Verde Apartments, and Vintage Apartments. Charles M. Heers and Marilyn C. Heers are the Trustees of the Heers Family Trust. Defendant Eric Miller is the architect who designed Eastgate Apartments, Echo Bay Condominiums, and Mesa Verde Apartments, and who partly designed Aviata Apartments.
  4. Settling Defendants designed and constructed Aviata Apartments, Eastgate Apartments, Echo Bay Condominiums, Mesa Verde Apartments, and Vintage Apartments for first occupancy after March 13, 1991. The 228 ground-floor units at Aviata Apartments, 156 ground-floor units at Eastgate Apartments, 204 ground-floor units at Echo Bay Condominiums, 68 ground-floor units at Mesa Verde Apartments and 181 ground-floor units at Vintage Apartments are "covered multifamily dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(7)(B), and thus subject to the accessibility requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).
  5. The Fair Housing Act requires that "covered multifamily dwellings" include certain basic accessibility and adaptability design features intended to make housing usable or adaptable by a person who is, or who becomes, disabled. Specifically, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C) mandates that: (a) the public use and common use portions of such dwellings are readily accessible to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities; and (b) all covered dwelling units contain (i) doors sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons in wheelchairs; (ii) an accessible route into and through the dwelling; (iii) light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental controls in accessible locations; (iv) reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and (v) usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.
  6. Settling Defendants do not admit that they failed to design and construct Aviata Apartments, Eastgate Apartments, Echo Bay Condominiums, Mesa Verde Apartments, and Vintage Apartments in compliance with the requirements of the FHA and FHAG. Neither Settling Defendants' agreement to the terms of this Consent Order nor any other action taken by Settling Defendants in connection with this Consent Order constitutes any admission by Settling Defendants of any violation of law, duty or obligation.
  7. The settling parties agree that this Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(b). The settling parties agree that the controversy should be resolved without further proceedings and without an evidentiary hearing. Therefore, the settling parties have consented to the entry of this Order as indicated by the signatures appearing below.

It is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED:

  1. GENERAL INJUNCTION
    1. Settling Defendants, their officers, employees, agents, successors and assigns, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them are permanently enjoined from discriminating on the basis of disability as prohibited by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(f)(1) and (f)(3)(C), and as set forth in the Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines, 56 Fed. Reg. 9472 (1991).
  2. CORRECTIVE ACTIONS
    1. In the event that Settling Defendants sell or transfer ownership of covered multifamily dwellings that they designed and/or constructed to bona fide purchasers (that are not related by blood, marriage or corporate ownership to Settling Defendants) after entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall make the sale or transfer contingent on the bona fide purchaser allowing Settling Defendants to take the corrective actions described below. The United States understands that Eastgate Apartments and Mesa Verde Apartments were sold by the Settling Defendants to bona fide purchasers prior to the commencement of this litigation. Provided that such bona fide purchasers enter into written agreements permitting the Settling Defendants to take all corrective actions described below, upon such terms and conditions as such bona fide purchasers may reasonably require, the United States will not pursue any action against such bona fide purchasers, or their successors-in-interest, relating to the allegations that are the subject matter of this lawsuit.

      A.      Accessibility Modifications at Aviata, Eastgate, MesaVerde, and Vintage Apartments

    2. Settling Defendants have made, and will continue to make, accessibility modifications to those aspects of the public use and common use areas at Aviata Apartments, Eastgate Apartments, Mesa Verde Apartments, and Vintage Apartments as agreed by the United States and Settling Defendants. Within one hundred and forty (140) days of entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall complete the modifications set forth in Appendix A. Settling Defendants and their subcontractors shall pay all expenses associated with those modifications. The settling parties agree that, on completion of those modifications, the public use and common use areas at Aviata Apartments, Eastgate Apartments, Mesa Verde Apartments, and Vintage Apartments will substantially comply with the FHA and FHAG requirements.
    3. Settling Defendants have made, and will continue to make, accessibility modifications to those aspects of the ground-floor units at Aviata Apartments, Eastgate Apartments, Mesa Verde Apartments, and Vintage Apartments as agreed by the United States and Settling Defendants. Settling Defendants shall complete the interior modifications set forth in Appendix B upon the earliest vacancy of units, or earlier if so requested by current tenants. Settling Defendants and their subcontractors shall pay all expenses associated with those modifications. The settling parties agree that, on completion of those modifications, the ground-floor units at Aviata Apartments and Vintage Apartments will substantially comply with the FHA and FHAG requirements.
    4. Within one hundred and forty (140) days of entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall create ground-floor, one-bedroom and two-bedroom "model" units at Aviata and Vintage Apartments that substantially comply with the Fair Housing Act's accessibility requirements by making the accessibility modifications set forth in Appendix C.
    5. Within one hundred and seventy (170) days of entry of this Order, an architectural firm mutually approved by the United States and Settling Defendants shall conduct on-site surveys at Aviata Apartments, Eastgate Apartments, Mesa Verde Apartments, and Vintage Apartments and send a letter to the United States and Settling Defendants certifying whether Settling Defendants correctly made the modifications set forth in Appendices A, B and C (except for modifications already surveyed by the United States in the course of this litigation). Settling Defendants shall pay all costs associated with those surveys.
    6. During the term of this Consent Order, Settling Defendants shall make any of the accessibility modifications to ground-floor units at Aviata Apartments, Eastgate Apartments, Mesa Verde Apartments, and Vintage Apartments described in Appendix D that are requested by tenants. Settling Defendants and their subcontractors shall pay all expenses associated with those modifications. The rent for modified units shall be the same as the rent for comparable, non-modified units in the same apartment complex. In so providing, the United States acknowledges the difficulty of modifying the allegedly non-compliant, ground-floor units at Eastgate and Mesa Verde Apartments given that those complexes were sold to a bona fide purchaser before this litigation commenced.
    7. Within thirty (30) days of entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall send the letters, attached hereto as Appendix E, to all current tenants at Aviata Apartments, Eastgate Apartments, Mesa Verde Apartments, and Vintage Apartments, advising them of their right to request the accessibility modifications listed in Appendix D. Within sixty (60) days of entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall ensure that all brochures and separate lease addendums (to be signed by new tenants) for Aviata Apartments, Eastgate Apartments, Mesa Verde Apartments, and Vintage Apartments contain the language set forth in Appendix E, advising prospective applicants and tenants of their right to request the accessibility modifications listed in Appendix D.
    8. Settling Defendants shall make their best efforts to ensure that all their agents and employees shall provide persons shown the model" units at Aviata and Vintage Apartments with brochures containing the notice language set forth in Exhibit E and explain that the owners will make any ground-floor unit conform to the "model unit" with respect to accessibility modifications at no cost upon a tenant's request.
    9. If accessibility modifications to units at Aviata or Vintage Apartments will cause dislocation of current tenants or delay move-in for prospective tenants (beyond the time period normally required to ready an unit) then Settling Defendants shall offer to pay that tenant's or prospective tenant's reasonable relocation or housing expenses while the modifications are being made.

      B.      Other Covered Multifamily Dwellings

    10. Within sixty (60) days of the entry of this Order, Defendants Inland Empire Builders, Inc., The Heers Family Trust, Charles M. Heers, and Marilyn C. Heers shall hire an architectural firm mutually approved by the United States and Settling Defendants to conduct on-site surveys at their remaining covered multifamily dwellings -- including, but not limited to, their seven apartment complexes in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona -- to determine whether those complexes are substantially compliant with the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. The United States and Settling Defendants shall agree on the scope of those on-site surveys in advance of the surveys being conducted. Settling Defendants shall pay all costs associated with those surveys.
    11. Within one hundred and twenty (120) days of the entry of this Order, Defendants Inland Empire Builders, Inc., The Heers Family Trust, Charles M. Heers, and Marilyn C. Heers shall provide counsel for the United States(1) with: (a) the results of the on-site surveys at their other covered multifamily dwellings; and (b) plans for modifying any items identified by the surveys as non-compliant with the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. Within one hundred and eighty (180) days of the entry of this Order, the United States may object, in writing, to the proposed modifications. If the United States objects, then the United States and Settling Defendants shall attempt to resolve any differences informally before seeking resolution from the court. If the United States fails to object to the proposed corrections within one hundred and eighty (180) days from the entry of this Order, then Settling Defendants may make the proposed modifications.
    12. Within one (1) year of the entry of this Order, Defendants Inland Empire Builders, Inc., The Heers Family Trust, Charles M. Heers, and Marilyn C. Heers shall make accessibility modifications to those aspects of the public use and common use areas at their other covered multifamily dwellings as agreed by the United States and Settling Defendants. Settling Defendants and their subcontractors shall pay all expenses associated with those modifications.
    13. Within one (1) year of the entry of this Order, Defendants Inland Empire Builders, Inc., The Heers Family Trust, Charles M. Heers, and Marilyn C. Heers shall correct those aspects of individual covered dwelling units at their other covered multifamily dwellings as agreed by the United States and Settling Defendants. Settling Defendants shall pay all expenses associated with those modifications.
  3. NON-DISCRIMINATION IN FUTURE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
    1. Defendants Inland Empire Builders, Inc., The Heers Family Trust, Charles M. Heers, and Marilyn C. Heers shall submit to counsel for the United States the following information regarding any covered multifamily dwellings that they intend to develop or build before applying for the initial building permits: (1) the names and addresses of all architects and site engineers; (2) the name and address of the project; (3) a description of the project and the individual units; and (4) a statement by a licensed architect with knowledge of the FHA and FHAG that (a) describes his or her knowledge and training in the field of accessible design, and (b) certifies that he or she has reviewed the plans, and (c) the plans include design specifications that substantially comply with the requirements of the FHA and FHAG.
  4. SPECIFIC REMEDIES FOR ARCHITECT ERIC MILLER
    1. Within sixty (60) days of the entry of this Order, Defendant Eric Miller shall undertake at least 8 hours of professional training in the accessible and adaptive design requirements of the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act from an individual or organization approved by the United States.
    2. Within thirty (30) days of entry of this Order, and thereafter for the duration of this Order, Defendant Eric Miller shall submit to counsel for the United States the following information regarding any covered multifamily dwellings that he designs before the developer applies for the initial building permits: (1) the names and addresses of the builders and developers; (2) the name and address of the project; (3) a description of the project and the individual units; and (4) a written statement that the plans include design specifications that substantially comply with the requirements of the FHA, FHAG, ADA and ADAAG. The United States shall keep that information confidential to the fullest extent possible consistent with prevailing law.
    3. Within four (4) years from the entry of this Order, Defendant Eric Miller and his staff shall donate 300 hours of technical assistance to non-profit groups that promote fair housing, disability rights or affordable housing, such as those groups, listed by way of example at Appendix F. Defendant Eric Miller shall submit documentation from the recipient non-profit groups demonstrating his donation of technical assistance.
  5. COMPENSATION OF AGGRIEVED PERSONS
    1. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall deposit in an interest-bearing escrow account with their counsel the total sum of FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ($50,000) for the purpose of compensating any aggrieved persons who may have suffered as a result of Settling Defendants' alleged failure to design and construct Aviata Apartments, Eastgate Apartments, Mesa Verde Apartments and Vintage Apartments in compliance with the FHA and FHAG. Any interest on that escrow account shall be the property of that compensation fund.
    2. Within sixty (60) days following the date of the entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall publish the Notice to Potential Victims of Housing Discrimination ("Notice"), attached hereto as Appendix G. The Notice shall be no smaller than three columns by six inches and shall be published on two occasions in both The Las Vegas Review-Journal and Las Vegas Sun. The two publication dates shall be separated from one another by at least thirty (30) days and at least one of the publication dates for each newspaper shall be on a Sunday. Within sixty (60) days after the entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall provide newspapers containing each such Notice to counsel for the United States.
    3. Within ten (10) days of the entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall send a copy of the Notice to the following organizations:
      1. Nevada Equal Rights Commission
      2. Nevada Legal Services
      3. Washoe Legal Services
      4. Senior Law Project
      5. Center for Independent Living
      6. Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living
      7. Nevada Fair Housing Center, Inc.
      8. Truckee Meadows Fair Housing
    4. Within twenty (20) days of the entry of this Order, the United States shall submit identifying information about former residents at Aviata Apartments, Eastgate Apartments, and Mesa Verde Apartments acquired in the course of litigating this case to Settling Defendants. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall submit identifying information about former residents at Aviata Apartments, Eastgate Apartments, Mesa Verde Apartments and Vintage Apartments for whom they do not have forwarding addresses to a locator service in order to obtain current addresses for those former residents. Settling Defendants, however, need only submit such identifying information to a locator service for those tenants at Eastgate and Mesa Verde Apartments who lived there in the two years immediately prior to the entry of this Order. Settling Defendants shall pay all costs associated with locating former residents.
    5. Within sixty (60) days of the entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall send by first-class mail, postage prepaid, a copy of the Notice to the following: (1) each current tenant who resides at Aviata Apartments, Eastgate Apartments, Mesa Verde Apartments, and Vintage Apartments (unless that person already received a similar notice from the United States during litigation of this case); (2) each former tenant who resided at Aviata Apartments and Vintage Apartments (unless that person already received a similar notice from the United States during litigation of this case); and (3) each former tenant who resided at Eastgate Apartments and Mesa Verde Apartments within the two years immediately prior to the entry of this Order (unless that person already received a similar notice from the United States during litigation of this case). Nothing in this Order shall preclude the United States from making its own efforts to locate and provide notice to potential aggrieved persons.
    6. Within ninety (90) days of the entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall submit identifying information about former residents at Aviata Apartments, Eastgate Apartments, Mesa Verde Apartments and Vintage Apartments to a locator service if they had not already done so and the forwarding addresses for those former residents proved inaccurate.
    7. Within one hundred and twenty (120) days of the entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall send by first-class mail, postage prepaid, a copy of the Notice to any former residents for whom they have obtained new addresses from a locator service.
    8. Allegedly aggrieved persons shall have one hundred and eighty (180) days from the entry of this Order to contact the United States in response to the Notice.
    9. The United States shall investigate the claims of allegedly aggrieved persons. Within two hundred and seventy (270) days from the entry of this Order, the United States shall determine, based on its investigation, which persons, who have timely contacted the United States, in the good faith opinion of the United States, are aggrieved persons, and shall determine in its sole discretion an appropriate amount of damages to be paid to each such person, provided that:
      1. Payment shall be in the form of a cashier's check;
      2. The total amount paid to any household shall not exceed FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($5,000.00);
      3. No person shall be paid until after execution and delivery to counsel for the United States of a written release of all claims, legal or equitable, which he, she or a member of his or her family might have against Settling Defendants relating to the claims asserted in this lawsuit. The text of the release is attached hereto as Appendix H;
      4. No person shall be paid until he or she has submitted a sworn declaration setting forth the factual basis of the claim;
      5. No person shall be paid until the United States has provided a copy of the person's sworn declaration to Settling Defendants. Within ten (10) business days following the submission of a sworn declaration, Settling Defendants shall provide any documents or information that they believe may refute the claim to the United States.
    10. Within two hundred and seventy (270) days from the entry of this Order, the United States shall notify Settling Defendants in writing of its determinations. Within three hundred and thirty (330) days from the entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall deliver, or cause their counsel to issue from its escrow account and deliver, to counsel for the United States checks to the aggrieved persons payable as directed by the United States; but in no event shall the aggregate of all such checks exceed the sum of $50,000 plus accrued interest. Counsel for the United States shall not forward an aggrieved person's check to that person until the United States has received that person's executed release of claims and delivered it to counsel for Settling Defendants.
    11. In the event that the United States distributes less than $50,000 plus accrued interest to aggrieved persons, Settling Defendants shall pay from the escrow account the difference between the amount actually distributed and the $50,000 plus accrued interest to a fair housing organization or independent living center in Nevada (preferably in Las Vegas or Clark County) selected by the United States. The United States shall consider any such organizations recommended by Settling Defendants.
  6. CIVIL PENALTY
    1. Within thirty (30) days following the entry of this order, Settling Defendants shall pay THIRTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($35,000) to the United States as a civil penalty pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C). Settling Defendants shall make the check payable to the United States and deliver it to counsel for the United States.
    2. By consenting to the entry of this Order, the settling 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 Settling Defendants have engaged in intentional and serious violation(s) of the Fair Housing Act, such violation(s) shall constitute a "subsequent violation" pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C)(ii) for purposes of computing a civil penalty.
  7. EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM
    1. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order, Defendants shall provide a copy of this Order to all their agents and employees involved in the design, construction, rental, or sale of covered multifamily dwellings and secure the signed statement, attached hereto as Appendix I, from each agent or employee acknowledging that he or she has received, read and understands the Order.
    2. Within thirty (30) days after the date he or she commences an agency or employment with Settling Defendants, each new agent or employee involved in the design, construction, rental, or sale of covered multifamily dwellings shall be given a copy of this Order and be required to sign the statement, attached hereto as Appendix I, acknowledging that he or she has received, read and understands the Order.
    3. Within sixty (60) days of the entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall provide fair housing training, with a focus on disability issues, to all their managers and supervisors involved in the design, construction, rental, or sale of covered multifamily dwellings. The training shall be conducted by a qualified person or organization approved by the United States. Settling Defendants shall pay all fair housing training costs. Within ninety (90) days of the entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall secure and deliver to counsel for the United States a written certification of each manager's and supervisor's attendance at the fair housing training.
    4. For the duration of this Order, each new manager or supervisor involved in the design, construction, rental, or sale of covered multifamily dwellings shall attend fair housing training, with a focus on disability issues, provided by a fair housing organization approved by the United States, within thirty (30) days after the date he or she commences an agency or employment relationship with the Settling Defendants, or as soon thereafter as such training may be available. Settling Defendants shall pay all fair housing training costs for new managers or supervisors.
  8. PUBLIC NOTICE OF NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY
    1. Within ten (10) days of the entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall post and prominently display in the sales or rental offices of all covered multifamily housing owned or operated by it, a sign no smaller than ten (10) by fourteen (14) inches indicating that all dwellings are available for sale or rental on a nondiscriminatory basis. Settling Defendants also shall post such a sign in the sales or rental office of any other covered multifamily housing developed or acquired by it during the effective period of this Order within ten (10) days of commencing construction. A poster that comports with 24 C.F.R. Part 110 (1989) will satisfy this requirement.
    2. For the duration of this Order, Settling Defendants shall place, in a conspicuous location, a statement that the dwelling units substantially comply with the FHA's accessibility requirements for persons with disabilities in all future advertising in newspapers, and on pamphlets, brochures and other promotional literature regarding any of its covered multifamily dwellings.
  9. REPORTING AND DOCUMENT RETENTION REQUIREMENTS
    1. Within one hundred and eighty (180) days after the entry of this Order, Settling Defendants shall submit a preliminary report that includes the following:
      1. documents showing all the accessibility modifications made at covered multifamily dwellings;
      2. documents containing information and statements regarding new design and construction;
      3. copies of newspapers containing the Notice to Potential Victims of Housing Discrimination;
      4. documents showing that copies of the Notice were sent to current and former residents at Aviata Apartments, Eastgate Apartments, Mesa Verde Apartments and Vintage Apartments;
      5. signed statements of agents and employees acknowledging that they received, read and understand the Order;
      6. written certification of each manager's and supervisor's attendance at fair housing training;
      7. photographs showing the nondiscrimination signs posted in Settling Defendants' sales or rental offices in covered multifamily dwellings; and
      8. all advertising or promotional literature regarding Settling Defendants' covered multifamily dwellings.
    2. Beginning one (1) year after the entry of this Order, and every one hundred and eighty (180) days thereafter for the duration of this Order, Settling Defendants shall submit to counsel for the United States regular reports that include the following:
      1. documents showing all the accessibility modifications made at covered multifamily dwellings;
      2. documents containing information and statements regarding new design and construction;
      3. signed statements from new agents and employees acknowledging that they received, read and understand the Order;
      4. written certification of each new manager's and new supervisor's attendance at fair housing training;
      5. photographs showing any new nondiscrimination signs posted in Settling Defendants' sales or rental offices in covered multifamily dwellings; and
      6. all new advertising or promotional literature regarding Settling Defendants' covered multifamily dwellings.
    3. Settling Defendants shall advise counsel for the United States in writing within fifteen (15) days of receipt of any written administrative or legal complaint against them, their employees or agents, regarding equal opportunity in housing. They also shall promptly provide the United States all information it may request concerning any such complaint.
    4. For the duration of this Order, Settling Defendants shall preserve all records related to this Order for all covered multifamily dwellings designed, constructed, owned, operated, or acquired by them. On reasonable notice to the Settling Defendants, representatives of the United States, at any and all reasonable times, shall be permitted to inspect and copy any records of Settling Defendants or inspect any covered multifamily dwellings under Settling Defendants' control that relate to compliance with this Order; provided, however, that the United States shall endeavor to minimize any inconvenience to Settling Defendants from such document or property inspections.
  10. DURATION OF ORDER AND TERMINATION OF LEGAL ACTION
    1. This Order shall remain in effect for four (4) years after the date of its entry.
    2. 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 four-year term of this Order, the United States may move the Court to extend the duration of the Order only if it determines that Settling Defendants have materially violated one or more terms of the Order. The burden shall be on the United States to prove that an extension is necessary. This case shall be dismissed with prejudice when the term of this Order ends.
    3. The parties to this 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 any settling party to perform in a timely manner any act required by this Order or otherwise to act in violation of any provision thereof, the aggrieved settling party 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 attorneys' fees which may have been occasioned by the violation or failure to perform.
  11. TIME FOR PERFORMANCE
    1. Any time limits for performance imposed by this Order may be extended by the mutual agreement of the settling parties.
  12. COSTS OF LITIGATION
    1. Each settling party shall bear its own costs and attorney's fees associated with this litigation.

IT IS SO ORDERED

UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

DATED:_______________________

Agreed to by the settling parties as indicated by the signatures of counsel below.

FOR PLAINTIFF UNITED STATES:

BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights

JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief
BRIAN F. HEFFERNAN
Deputy Chief
ERIC I. HALPERIN
Trial Attorney
Housing & Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
(202) 353-9706

KATHRYN E. LANDRETH
United States Attorney

STEVEN W. MYHRE
Assistant United States Attorney
701 E. Bridger Avenue
Suite 800
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 388-6336

FOR DEFENDANTS INLAND EMPIRE BUILDERS, INC., THE HEERS FAMILY TRUST, CHARLES M. HEERS, MARILYN C. HEERS AND ERIC MILLER:

LOUIS E. GARFINKEL, ESQ.
Berkley & Gordon
2700 West Sahara Avenue, 5th Floor
Las Vegas, NV 89102
(702) 227-0700


APPENDIX A ACCESSIBILITY MODIFICATIONS TO PUBLIC AND COMMON USE AREAS AT
AVIATA, EASTGATE, MESA VERDE, AND VINTAGE APARTMENTS

APPENDIX B ACCESSIBILITY MODIFICATIONS TO GROUND-FLOOR UNITS AT
AVIATA, EASTGATE, MESA VERDE, AND VINTAGE APARTMENTS TO BE
COMPLETED DURING EARLIEST VACANCY OR EARLIER IF REQUESTED

APPENDIX C ACCESSIBILITY MODIFICATIONS TO GROUND-FLOOR, MODEL UNITS
AT AVIATA AND VINTAGE APARTMENTS

APPENDIX D ACCESSIBILITY MODIFICATIONS TO GROUND-FLOOR UNITS AT
AVIATA, EASTGATE, MESA VERDE, AND VINTAGE APARTMENTS
TO BE MADE AT REQUEST OF TENANTS

APPENDIX E TENANT LETTERS FOR AVIATA AND VINTAGE APARTMENTS

The federal Fair Housing Act requires ground-floor units at [Aviata/Vintage] Apartments to be accessible and adaptable for persons with disabilities. If requested by tenants, [Aviata/Vintage] Apartments will make the modifications listed on the attached sheet to make their ground-floor units more accessible and adaptable to persons with disabilities -- at absolutely no cost to tenants. For example, the free accessibility modifications include installing grab bars in bathrooms and ramping patio thresholds.

If those modifications will cause dislocation of current tenants or delay move-in for new tenants (beyond the time period normally required to ready an unit), then [Aviata/Vintage] Apartments shall offer to pay that tenant's or prospective tenant's reasonable relocation or housing expenses while the modifications are being made.

Tenants should contact management if they are interested in the free accessibility modifications available for their particular unit.

LEASE ADDENDUMS FOR AVIATA AND VINTAGE APARTMENTS

The federal Fair Housing Act requires ground-floor units at [Aviata/Vintage] Apartments to be accessible and adaptable for persons with disabilities. If requested by tenants, [Aviata/Vintage] Apartments will make the modifications listed on the attached sheet to make their ground-floor units more accessible and adaptable to persons with disabilities -- at absolutely no cost to tenants. For example, the free accessibility modifications include installing grab bars in bathrooms and ramping patio thresholds.

If those modifications will cause dislocation of current tenants or delay move-in for new tenants (beyond the time period normally required to ready an unit), then [Aviata/Vintage] Apartments shall offer to pay that tenant's or prospective tenant's reasonable relocation or housing expenses while the modifications are being made.

Tenants should contact management if they are interested in the free accessibility modifications available for their particular unit.

I acknowledge that I have received, read, and understand this separate lease addendum setting forth my right as a tenant to request any of the accessibility modifications listed on the attached sheet at any time during my tenancy.

Signature

Date

NOTICE LANGUAGE TO INSERT IN BROCHURES FOR AVIATA AND VINTAGE APARTMENTS

If requested by tenants, [Aviata/Vintage] Apartments will make modifications so their ground-floor units are more accessible and adaptable to persons with disabilities -- at absolutely no cost to tenants. For example, the free accessibility modifications include installing grab bars in bathrooms and ramping patio thresholds. If interested, please ask for a complete list of free modifications that are available.

If those modifications will cause dislocation of current tenants or delay move-in for new tenants (beyond the time period normally required to ready an unit), then [Aviata/Vintage] Apartments shall offer to pay that tenant's or prospective tenant's reasonable relocation or housing expenses while the modifications are being made.

TENANT LETTERS FOR EASTGATE AND MESA VERDE APARTMENTS

The federal Fair Housing Act requires ground-floor units at [Eastgate/Mesa Verde] Apartments to be accessible and adaptable for persons with disabilities. If requested by tenants, [Eastgate/Mesa Verde] Apartments will arrange to have the modifications listed on the attached sheet made so their ground-floor units are more accessible and adaptable to persons with disabilities -- at absolutely no cost to tenants. For example, the free accessibility modifications include widening doorways and installing grab bars in bathrooms.

Tenants should contact management if they are interested in the free accessibility modifications available for their particular unit.

LEASE ADDENDUMS FOR EASTGATE AND MESA VERDE APARTMENTS

The federal Fair Housing Act requires ground-floor units at [Eastgate/Mesa Verde] Apartments to be accessible and adaptable for persons with disabilities. If requested by tenants, [Eastgate/Mesa Verde] Apartments will arrange to have the modifications listed on the attached sheet made so their ground-floor units are more accessible and adaptable to persons with disabilities -- at absolutely no cost to tenants. For example, the free accessibility modifications include widening doorways and installing grab bars in bathrooms.

Tenants should contact management if they are interested in the free accessibility modifications available for their particular unit.

I acknowledge that I have received, read, and understand this separate lease addendum setting forth my right as a tenant to request any of the accessibility modifications listed on the attached sheet at any time during my tenancy.

Signature

Date

NOTICE LANGUAGE TO INSERT IN BROCHURES FOR EASTGATE AND MESA
VERDE APARTMENTS

If requested by tenants, [Eastgate/Mesa Verde] Apartments will arrange for modifications to their ground-floor units so they are more accessible and adaptable to persons with disabilities -- at absolutely no cost to tenants. For example, the free accessibility modifications include widening doorways and installing grab bars in bathrooms. If interested, please ask for a complete list of free modifications that are available.


APPENDIX F NON-PROFIT GROUPS THAT PROMOTE FAIR HOUSING, DISABILITY RIGHTS
OR AFFORDABLE HOUSING THAT MAY DESIRE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

The following list is not meant to be inclusive and may be amended or supplemented by the United States at any time during the pendency of this Consent Order (including, for example, on suggestion of Defendant Eric Miller).

Arizona:

Arizona Bridge to Independent Living
1229 E. Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85034
602-256-2245

Arizona Center for Disability Law
3131 North Country Club, Suite 100
Tucson, AZ 85714
520-327-9547

Habitat For Humanity
P.O. Box 4089
Yuma, AZ 85364
520-343-8704

Southern Arizona Housing Center
2030 E. Broadway
Tucson, AZ 85719
520-798-1568

Nevada:

Center for Independent Living
6039 Eldora, Suite F
Las Vegas, NV 89146
702-889-4216

Lion's Club
3126 Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89115
702-644-3872

New Vista Ranch
3085 S. Valley View
Las Vegas, NV 89102
702-457-4677

Shade Tree
P.O. Box 669
Las Vegas, NV 89125
702-436-3155


APPENDIX G NOTICE TO POTENTIAL VICTIMS OF HOUSING DISCRIMINATION

On __________________________, 1999, the United States District Court for the District of Nevada entered a consent order resolving a lawsuit brought by the United States Department of Justice against certain builders and developers alleging that they failed to include certain handicap accessible features required by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C), at the following residential complexes in Las Vegas, Nevada:

  • Aviata Apartments, 2121 East Warm Springs Road
  • Eastgate Apartments, 3055 South Nellis Boulevard
  • Mesa Verde Apartments, 6335 Annie Oakley Drive
  • Vintage Apartments, 8321 West Sahara Avenue

In that lawsuit, the Department of Justice alleges that those complexes violate the law because:

  1. Some common areas (recreation building and areas, paths, etc.) are not readily accessible to persons with disabilities;
  2. Some ground-floor apartment doors are too narrow for most wheelchairs;
  3. Some routes into and through some ground-floor apartments are not readily accessible for persons in wheelchairs;
  4. Some ground-floor apartments have light switches, electrical outlets, or thermostats that are too high or too low to be reached by persons in wheelchairs;
  5. Some ground-floor apartment bathroom walls are not reinforced to allow the later installation of grab bars; or
  6. Some ground-floor apartment bathrooms and kitchens do not have sufficient space for persons in wheelchairs to move around.

Under this consent order, you may be entitled to receive monetary relief if you or anyone you know

WAS DISCOURAGED FROM LIVING AT THOSE COMPLEXES BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF ACCESSIBILITY FEATURES,

HAS BEEN HURT IN ANY WAY BY THE LACK OF HANDICAP ACCESSIBILITY FEATURES AT THOSE COMPLEXES, OR

PAID TO HAVE YOUR APARTMENTS AT THOSE COMPLEXES MADE MORE HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE.

If you wish to make a claim for discrimination on the basis of disability, 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: 175-46-64

NOTE: You must call or write no later than ________, 1999.


APPENDIX H RELEASE

In consideration for the parties' agreement to the terms of the Consent Order entered in United States, et al. v. Inland Empire Builders, et al., Civil Action No. CV-S-98-553-HDM(RLH) 0

(D. Nev.), and payment by Inland Empire Builders, Inc., The Heers Family Trust, Charles M. Heers, Marilyn C. Heers, and Eric Miller ("Settling 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 Settling Defendants, their heirs, executors, administrators, successors, assigns, agents, employees and agents. [For claims related to Eastgate and Mesa Verde Apartments only: 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 up to and including the date of execution of this release, that I may have against Eastgate Associates, L.C., Mesa Verde Associates, L.C., or their respective successors-in-interest.]

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

Executed this ____ day of _____________, 1999.

Signature

Name (printed)

Address


APPENDIX I EMPLOYEE FAIR HOUSING ACKNOWLEDGMENT FORM

I hereby acknowledge that I have received, read and understand the Consent Order entered in United States, et al. v. Inland Empire Builders, Inc., et al.

I agree to act in accordance with that Consent Order. I understand that I should not discriminate against any person in any aspect of the rental of apartment units on the basis of that person's race, color, national origin, religion, sex, handicap or familial status. I understand that if I do discriminate, I will be subject to dismissal or other disciplinary action by my employer.

I have been informed by my employer that it will not reprimand me for providing information to any law enforcement agency (including the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, P.O. Box 65598, Washington, D.C. 20035-5998, telephone number 202-514-4713) or any government official regarding my employer's compliance with the Fair Housing Act and/or the Consent Order.

_________________________________

Signature of Employee

_________________________________

Name of Employee (Printed)

_________________________________

Name of Employer(s)

_________________________________

Employee's Job Position or Title


1. For purposes of this Order, counsel for the United States is Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice, P.O. Box 65998, Washington, D.C. 20035-5998, Attn: DJ# 175-46-64. > >

Updated August 6, 2015

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