Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
LAFAYETTE-OPELOUSAS DIVISION

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff

v.

CIVIL ACTION NO. 99-1594
JUDGE MELANÇON
MAGISTRATE JUDGE METHVIN

BYRON RICHARD, D/B/A
HYLITES LOUNGE,
     Defendant

____________________________________

CONSENT DECREE

On August 31, 1999, the United States filed its complaint in this action alleging that the Defendant violated Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S. C. §§ 2000a et seq., by discriminating against African-Americans.

Defendant Byron Richard presently owns and operates, along with co-owner Dewey Dupree, III, a bar and nightclub known as Hylites Lounge, located at 205 First Street, Louisiana Highway 91 South, Gueydan, Louisiana. Defendant Byron Richard also currently owns and operates a bar and nightclub known as Charlie's Lounge in Mermentau, Louisiana. In the Complaint, the United States alleges that the Defendant has engaged in a pattern and practice of denying to African-American persons, on the basis of race, the full use and enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of Hylites Lounge on the same basis as such are provided to white members of the general public. More specifically, the United States alleges that the Defendant has excluded African-American persons from entering the nightclub by, among other means, refusing admittance and refusing to serve African-Americans. For the purposes of establishing jurisdiction, the parties stipulate that at all times relevant to the allegations of the United States, Hylites Lounge is a "place of public accommodation" within the meaning of 42 U.S. C. § 2000a (b) (3), and that its operations "affect commerce" within their meaning of 42 U.S. C. § 2000a (c).

At this time, the United States and the Defendant have agreed that, in order to avoid protracted and costly litigation, their controversy should be resolved without further litigation, through the terms of this Consent Decree. Therefore, without a trial or adjudication on the merits, the United States and the Defendant have consented to the entry of this Decree. The Defendant admits that he has unlawfully excluded African-Americans and acknowledges that the United States' evidence would, if this matter were brought to trial, establish that he has engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination in violation of the law. In particular, the Defendant admits that, as part of this pattern or practice of discrimination, three African-American men were denied service by the bartender at the Hylites Lounge on or about January 2, 1999. The bartender, acting upon the orders of Byron Richard, refused to serve them because they were African-American. Although a complete description of the contentions of the United States will not be recited in this Order, the United States sets forth below a summary recitation of the evidence on which it would rely if this case were tried, to further the public interest and help ensure speedy and effective compliance. The Defendant admits that the United States would be able to introduce evidence sufficient to establish these facts if this case were brought to trial.

Part I of this Order prohibits future conduct in violation of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000a et seq., with respect to the operation of Hylites Lounge and Charlie's Lounge. Furthermore, the Defendant has agreed that the prohibitions set forth in Part I of this Order shall apply to any business or entity which falls within the coverage of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in which Defendant presently has, or subsequently acquires, an ownership or management interest. Part II of this Order describes a compliance plan designed to ensure future compliance with federal law and to notify prospective customers of Hylites Lounge and Charlie's Lounge that the owners and operators make the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations offered at Hylites Lounge and Charlie's Lounge available to all persons without regard to their race or color. Part III provides terms for administration of this Order.

THE UNITED STATES' CONTENTIONS
  1. The Defendant, Byron Richard, owns the business establishment known as "Hylites Lounge," located at 205 First Street, Louisiana Highway 91 South, Gueydan, Louisiana.
  2. Hylites Lounge is a nightclub facility where persons are amused and entertained by, among other things, dancing, listening to live music, and drinking alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
  3. The Defendant has himself, and acting through his employees and agents, implemented a policy and practice of denying to African-American persons, on account of race and/or color, the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges of Hylites Lounge on the same basis as he makes such available to non-African-American persons. This policy and practice has been implemented, among other ways, by refusing service to African-American persons.
  4. On or about January 2, 1999, Reginald Reed, Horace Matthews, and Linus Vallery attempted to visit Hylites Lounge. The bartender refused to serve them and acknowledged that they were not being served because the owner, Byron Richard, had instructed him not to allow African-Americans into the bar.

I.

It is hereby, ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED that the Defendant,

Byron Richard, his agents, employees, successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with him in the ownership and operation of the Hylites Lounge nightclub, located at 205 First Street, Louisiana Highway 91 South, Gueydan, Louisiana, and Charlie's Lounge in Mermentau, Louisiana or of any other business or entity which falls within the coverage of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a public accommodation in which the Defendant presently has, or subsequently acquires, any ownership or management interest are permanently enjoined from:

  1. Failing or refusing on account of race or color, to admit any person to the premises of such establishment;
  2. Denying to any person, because of race or color, the full and equal enjoyment of all of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations of such establishment;
  3. Discriminating on the basis of race or color in the terms, conditions, or privileges of admission to such establishment, or, because of race or color, providing different information about the terms, conditions, or privileges of admission;
  4. Denying or deterring admission to such establishment to any person because of race or color, by adopting any practices or procedures in the management of such establishment designed to discourage persons on the basis of race or color from patronizing such establishment.

It is further ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED that in the event that evidence of violations of this Order are brought before the Court, the following individuals, having personally appeared before the Court on February 17, 2000, and having full knowledge of the requirements of this Consent Order, will be subject to the full contempt power of this Court, with sanctions ranging from monetary penalties to incarceration:

Defendant, Byron Richard

Dewey Dupree, III, co-owner of Hylites Lounge

Kermit Richard, manager of Charlie's Lounge

Any employees of Hylites Lounge, including:

Elizabeth Weekly

Toby Pochnara

Linda Guillory

Any employees of Charlie's Lounge, including:

Sonya Benoit

Kenneth Beard

II.

It is FURTHER ORDERED that:

  1. Within 15 days of the date of entry of this Order, Defendant shall erect and maintain at each public entrance to Hylites Lounge and Charlie's Lounge, or any other business or entity which falls within the coverage of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in which Defendant presently has, or subsequently acquires, an ownership or management interest, a printed sign stating in block letters at least two inches high that the establishment is open to all members of the public without regard to race or color. Such sign shall be printed in dark letters on a contrasting background and shall be located in a place clearly visible to all patrons as they enter the premises. Such sign shall include a statement that any person who feels he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of race or color should write or call the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, P. O. Box 65998, Washington, D. C. 20035-5998, telephone number (800) 896-7743. Such sign shall include a statement that any Complainant should refer to DJ No. 167-33-487 when contacting the Department of Justice. The text for such sign is specified in Attachment A.
  2. Within sixty (60) days of the date of entry of this Order or such date that the parties agree is mutually satisfactory in light of the availability of the training resources anticipated by this paragraph, the Defendant and his employees or agents with responsibility for the management and provision of services at Hylites Lounge and Charlie's Lounge, or any other business or entity covered by this Consent Decree, shall attend a program of educational training concerning the substantive provisions of federal, state, and local civil rights laws, regulations, or ordinances, applicable to public accommodations, and their responsibilities under such laws. The parties will mutually agree upon who shall conduct this training which shall not be less than three hours in duration. The reasonable costs of this program shall be borne by the Defendant. All persons attending such a program shall have their attendance certified in writing by the person conducting the educational program.
  3. The Defendant shall, no later than ten days after entry of this Order, apprise each of his employees, agents, partners, or any other person who provides services in any capacity with regard to Hylites Lounge and Charlie's Lounge, and/or any other business or entity covered by this Consent Decree, of the contents of this Order, their obligations under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the possibility of sanctions ranging from monetary penalties to incarceration for a violation of this Order. The Defendant shall furnish each such employee, agent, partner, or other person covered by this paragraph, with a copy of this Order. Each employee, agent, partner, or other person covered by this paragraph shall sign a sworn statement in the form of Attachment B, acknowledging that he or she has received, read, and understands a copy of this Order, and declaring that he or she will perform his or her duties in accordance with this Order. New employees shall be apprised of the contents of this Order and their obligations under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when their employment commences; shall be provided a copy of this Order; and shall execute a sworn statement, as prescribed herein no later than five days following their first day of employment.
  4. In the event that the Defendant allows others to utilize Hylites Lounge or Charlie's Lounge, including persons who may rent or otherwise negotiate for use of the building, the Defendant shall inform such persons that they may not discriminate on the basis of race or color. The Defendant shall also obtain from them, as a condition of their use of the building, a sworn statement in the form of Attachment C agreeing that they shall not discriminate on the basis of race or color, violations thereof being subject to the contempt power of the Court.
  5. In order to ensure that all persons are made aware that Hylites Lounge and Charlie's Lounge will admit persons of all races and to overcome any legacy stemming from the Defendant's prior discriminatory practices, the Defendant shall, at least once a month for the first six (6) months from the date of entry of this Consent Decree, pay for advertisements in local newspapers or other print media, including but not limited to The Gueydan Journal, The Kaplan Herald, and The Daily Advertiser. These advertisements shall be no less than one eighth of one page of the relevant newspaper or other print media and shall indicate among other information that Hylites Lounge is open to all members of the public on an equal basis, without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin. The text for the advertisement is specified in Attachment D.
  6. The Defendant shall, no later than 60 days after the date of entry of this Order, serve a report evidencing his compliance with this Order upon Janice E. Hebert, Assistant United States Attorney, counsel for the United States, 800 Lafayette Street, Suite 2200, Lafayette, Louisiana 70501. This report shall consist of the following:
    1. A photograph of each public entrance to Hylites Lounge and Charlie's Lounge, or any similar public accommodation operated by Defendant, clearly showing the signs required under paragraph II.A of this Order;
    2. A list of all advertisements, if any, as required under paragraph II.E of this Order, made public in any manner since the entry of this Order, together with representative samples of such advertisements;
    3. The sworn statements signed by any and all employees pursuant to paragraph II.C of this Order.
    4. Written certification by the person conducting the educational program referred to in section II.B.
  7. Six months after the date of entry of this Order, and every six months thereafter for three years from the date of entry of this Order, the Defendant shall serve upon counsel for the United States a written report evidencing continuing compliance with this order. This report shall contain the following information:
    1. Representative samples of all advertising for the previous six-month period, as required by paragraph II.E above;
    2. Sworn employee statements of new employees as required by paragraph II.C;
    3. All documents obtained from persons who rent or otherwise use the buildings, as required by paragraph II.D;
    4. Any written or oral complaint which comes to the attention of the Defendant, either personally or through his managers, officers, directors or shareholders, or employees, involving any discrimination on the basis of race or color at Hylites Lounge, Charlie's Lounge and/or any other business or entity which falls within the coverage of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a public accommodation in which the Defendant presently has, or subsequently acquires, an ownership or management interest. If the complaint is written, the Defendant shall provide the original; if the complaint is oral, the Defendant shall provide a written summary of it along with the name or other identifying information of the complainant. The Defendant shall include full details of the complaint, including the complainant's name, address and telephone number, and any action taken or proposed by the Defendant in response to the complaint;
    5. Information regarding any change in the location of the Defendant's operation of Hylites Lounge, Charlie's Lounge or any other business or entity which falls within the coverage of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in which the Defendant presently has, or subsequently acquires, an ownership or management interest, including the address of any new location, the dates of operation, and the name of any new establishment;
    6. Notification of counsel for the United States of any new ownership or management interest the Defendant has acquired or developed in any place of public accommodation, as defined in Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, during the preceding six-month period. Such notification shall include the name of the establishment in which the Defendant has acquired or developed such interest, the address of such establishment, the goods and/or services provided by such establishment, and the dates of operation of such establishment. Upon reasonable request, the Defendant shall provide to the United States copies of pertinent records or documents; and
    7. Notification of counsel for the United States whether, during the preceding six-month period, the Defendant has either ceased operating, or has licensed his name to others for the purpose of operating Hylites Lounge, Charlie's Lounge or any place of public accommodation, as defined in Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in which the Defendant had an ownership or management interest. Upon reasonable request, the Defendant shall provide to the United States copies of pertinent records or documents.
  8. Certified copies of this Consent Decree shall be personally served by the U.S. Marshal's Service upon the owners of the real property leased by Byron Richard to house the facilities known as Hylites Lounge and Charlie's Lounge. Defendant, Byron Richard, informed the court that the owners/lessors of the properties are: Terry Loignon, owner of the property where Hylites Lounge is located and Charlie Fruge, owner of the property where Charlie's Lounge is located.

III.

This Court shall retain jurisdiction of this case for purposes of enforcing this Consent Order.

It is so ORDERED this _____ day of _____________, 2000.

___________________________________
HONORABLE TUCKER L. MELANÇON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

For the United States:

BRIAN F. HEFFERNAN
ELIZABETH A. SINGER
Attorneys
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
Post Office Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
(202)514-6164

WILLIAM J. FLANAGAN
United States Attorney
Western District of Louisiana

JANICE E. HEBERT     (# 20218)
Assistant U. S. Attorney
800 Lafayette Street, Suite 2200
Lafayette, Louisiana 70501-6832
(337) 262-6618

For Defendant:

BYRON RICHARD
Defendant

RUSSELL T. TRITICO, JR.     (# 17838)
Attorney for Defendant
714 Pujo Street
Lake Charles, Louisiana 70601
(337) 436-6648

DEWEY DUPRÉ, III
Co-Owner, Hylites Lounge


ATTACHMENT A
N O T I C E

ALL MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ABOVE

THE AGE OF 21 WITHOUT REGARD TO RACE OR COLOR.

IF YOU FEEL YOU HAVE BEEN DISCRIMINATED AGAINST AT

HYLITES LOUNGE (CHARLIE'S LOUNGE) ON THE BASIS OF

YOUR RACE OR COLOR,

YOU SHOULD WRITE OR CALL THE

HOUSING AND CIVIL ENFORCEMENT SECTION OF

THE CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:

P. O. Box 65998
Washington, DC 20035-5998
(800) 896-7743


ATTACHMENT B

STATE OF LOUISIANA

PARISH OF ______________

BE IT KNOWN, that on this ____ day of ________________, 2000, before me, Notary Public, duly commissioned and qualified in and for the aforesaid Parish and State, in the presence of the witnesses hereinafter named and undersigned,

PERSONALLY CAME AND APPEARED: _______________________________, (Print or Type Name), a person of the full age of majority and domiciled in the Parish of _________________, State of Louisiana, who declared that:

I have been given and I have read a copy of the Consent Decree entered in

United States of America v. Byron Richard, d/b/a Hylites Lounge, Western District of Louisiana, Civil Action No. 99-1594. I understand the terms of that Decree, and I further understand that Federal law guarantees that no person may be denied, on account of their race or color, the full use and enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a place such as Hylites Lounge or Charlie's Lounge. With that understanding, I agree that, as a condition of my providing goods and/or services on behalf of Hylites Lounge, Charlie's Lounge or any other place of public accommodation owned or managed by Byron Richard, neither I nor any other person who serves as my agent in any capacity, shall discriminate in any manner on account of race or color in the provision of such goods and/or services. If I violate the terms of the Consent Order, I understand that I will be subject to the contempt power of the presiding federal court, with possible sanctions ranging from monetary penalties to incarceration.

I swear under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true to the best of my knowledge.

WITNESSES:

________________________

________________________

________________________
   Signature

________________________
   Home Address

________________________
 Home Telephone Number

Sworn to and subscribed before me, Notary Public, this ____ day of _______________, 2000 at ______________, Louisiana.

_____________________________________
NOTARY PUBLIC


ATTACHMENT C

STATE OF LOUISIANA

PARISH OF ______________

BE IT KNOWN, that on this ____ day of ________________, 2000, before me, Notary Public, duly commissioned and qualified in and for the aforesaid Parish and State, in the presence of the witnesses hereinafter named and undersigned,

PERSONALLY CAME AND APPEARED: _______________________________, (Print or Type Name), a person of the full age of majority and domiciled in the Parish of _________________, State of Louisiana, who declared that:

I understand that Federal law guarantees that no person may be denied, on account of their race or color, the full use and enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a place such as Hylites Lounge or Charlie's Lounge. With that understanding, I agree that, as a condition of my rental or use of Hylites Lounge or Charlie's Lounge, neither I nor any other person who is employed by me or serves as my agent in any capacity, shall discriminate in any manner on account of race or color in my use of Hylites Lounge. If I violate the terms of the Consent Order, I understand that I will be subject to the contempt power of the presiding federal court, with possible sanctions ranging from monetary penalties to incarceration.

I swear under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true to the best of my knowledge.

WITNESSES:

________________________

________________________

________________________
   Signature

________________________
   Home Address

________________________
 Home Telephone Number

Sworn to and subscribed before me, Notary Public, this ____ day of _______________, 2000 at ______________, Louisiana.

_____________________________________
NOTARY PUBLIC


ATTACHMENT D
ADVERTISEMENT

WITHOUT REGARD TO THEIR RACE

COLOR, RELIGION, NATIONAL ORIGIN OR ANY OTHER

CLASSIFICATION PROTECTED BY LAW.

We are committed to ensuring that all members of the public are treated equally and appropriately, and we emphasize that EVERYONE is invited and welcome to enjoy the best in entertainment at:

HYLITES LOUNGE
205 First Street
Louisiana Highway 91 South
Gueydan, Louisiana

(CHARLIE'S LOUNGE
Mermentau, Louisiana)

> >
Updated August 6, 2015

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