Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

WILLIAM W. MERCER
United States Attorney
KRIS A. MCLEAN
Assistant United States Attorney
Post Office Box 8329
Missoula, Montana 59807
105 East Pine, Second Floor
Missoula, Montana 59802
Tel.: 406-542-8851
Fax: 406-542-1476

J. MICHAEL WIGGINS
Acting Assistant Attorney General
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
ISABELLE M. THABAULT
HOWARD R. GRIFFIN
Attorneys
United States Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
The Northwest Building, Seventh Floor
Washington, D.C. 20530
Tel.: 202-514-4713
Fax: 202-514-1116

For the plaintiff United States of America




UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

          Plaintiff,

          v.                                                            Cause Number ___________

JANICE SCHABERG,                                     COMPLAINT

          Defendant.

_____________________________________

The United States of America alleges:

  1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce the provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act), as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619. It is brought on behalf of Ben Coe and Montana Fair Housing, Inc., pursuant to section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
  2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 28 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
  3. Venue is proper in that the claims alleged herein arose in the District of Montana.
  4. The defendant, Janice Schaberg, resides in Missoula, Montana.
  5. The defendant owns and manages rental dwellings located at 7160, 7180, 7182, 7184, and 7220 Highway 200 East, Missoula, Montana.
  6. Each rental dwelling referred to in the previous paragraph is a dwelling within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
  7. Ben Coe resides in Missoula, Montana.
  8. On or about July 9, 2001, Ben Coe filed a timely complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development pursuant to section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging that the defendant discriminated in housing because of sex.
  9. Montana Fair Housing, Inc., is a non-profit organization that promotes fair housing in the State of Montana.
  10. On or about June 28, 2001, Montana Fair Housing, Inc., filed a timely complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development pursuant to section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging that the defendant discriminated in housing because of sex. In its complaint Montana Fair Housing, Inc., alleged that its mission to eliminate housing discrimination had been frustrated and its resources diverted from other activities because of the defendant's discriminatory action.
  11. Montana Fair Housing, Inc., diverted resources from its other activities to investigate whether the defendant violated the Fair Housing Act and to pursue a complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  12. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development conducted and completed an investigation of the complaints filed by Ben Coe and Montana Fair Housing, Inc., attempted conciliation without success, and prepared final investigative reports. Based on information gathered in the investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause existed to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred. Accordingly, on June 20, 2002, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging the defendant with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
  13. On or about July 3, 2002, Ben Coe elected to have the charge resolved in a civil action filed in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
  14. On July 3, 2002, the Acting Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election of Judicial Determination and terminated the administrative proceeding on the complaints filed by Ben Coe and Montana Fair Housing, Inc.
  15. Following this Notice of Election, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
  16. In May, 2001, Ben Coe was looking for an apartment to rent in Missoula, Montana. Through an acquaintance, Coe contacted the defendant and inquired about an apartment that the defendant had advertised for rent. Upon learning that Coe was a male intending to live by himself, the defendant indicated that she would not rent the apartment to a male for single occupancy and that she preferred to rent to females.
  17. On or about May 7, 2001, Coe contacted Montana Fair Housing, Inc., to complain about the defendant's policy of not renting to males for single occupancy.
  18. On or about May 7, 2001, and May 10, 2001, Montana Fair Housing, Inc., conducted a test in which a male and a female tester contacted the defendant about renting one of the apartments referred to in paragraph five, above. The defendant indicated to the female tester that she (defendant) did not want to rent an apartment to a male for single occupancy.
  19. The defendant has reiterated her policy of not renting to males for single occupancy in filings signed by her in the administrative proceedings that preceded this action, Montana Fair Housing v. Schaberg, HUDALJ No. 08-01-0174-8 (filed June 28, 2001) and Coe v. Schaberg, HUDALJ No. 08-01-0180-8 (filed July 9, 2001).
  20. The defendant, through her actions described in the preceding paragraphs, has:
    1. Refused to negotiate for the rental of a dwelling or otherwise made unavailable or denied a dwelling to a person because of sex in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
    2. Discriminated against a person 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 sex in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b); and
    3. Made or published statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling indicating a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on sex, or an intention to make such a preference, limitation, or discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).
  21. Ben Coe and Montana Fair Housing, Inc., are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i) and have suffered damages as a result of the defendant's conduct described above.
  22. The discriminatory actions of the defendant were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of Ben Coe and Montana Fair Housing, Inc.

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

  1. Declares that the defendant's policies and practices as alleged herein violate the Fair Housing Act;
  2. Enjoins the defendant, her officers, employees, agents, successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them from:
    1. Discriminating on account of sex against any person in any aspect of the lease or rental of a dwelling; and
    2. Failing or refusing to notify the public that all dwellings made available for rental by the defendant are available to persons on an equal opportunity basis.
  3. Awards such damages as would fully compensate Ben Coe and Montana Fair Housing, Inc., for injuries resulting from the defendant's discriminatory conduct pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3), 3613(c)(1),and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B);
  4. Awards punitive damages to Ben Coe and Montana Fair Housing, Inc., because of the intentional and willful nature of the defendant's conduct pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3), 3613(c)(1), and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B).

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

DATED this ____ day of ___________________, 2002.

JOHN ASHCROFT
Attorney General

__________________________
WILLIAM W. MERCER
United States Attorney
KRIS A. MCLEAN
Assistant United States Attorney
Post Office Box 8329
Missoula, Montana 59807
406-542-8851
By:__________________________
J. MICHAEL WIGGINS
Acting Assistant Attorney General

__________________________
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing and Civil
Enforcement Section

__________________________
ISABELLE M. THABAULT
Deputy Chief
HOWARD R. GRIFFIN
Trial Attorney
United States
Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
The Northwest Building, Seventh Floor
Washington, D.C. 20530
202-514-4713


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Updated August 6, 2015

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