IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
THOMAS J. FISCHER and
JURY TRIAL DEMANDED
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 to 3619. 2. This court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a). 3.Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because the actions giving rise to the United States' allegations occurred in the District of Minnesota, the subject properties are located in the District of Minnesota, and all of the defendants reside and/or do business in the District of Minnesota. 4. Defendant Thomas J. Fischer ("Thomas Fisher") is a resident of Minnesota. 5. During the period of time relevant to this action, Defendant Thomas Fischer was the owner or co-owner of several residential rental properties in Red Wing, Minnesota, including but not limited to 1411 West Third Street, 243 East Fourth Street, 1209 West Fourth Street, 210 East Fifth Street, 1922 West Fifth Street, 211 West Sixth Street, 517 Ninth Street, 525 Eighteenth Street, 528 Twentieth Street, 530 Twentieth Street, 666 Twentieth Street, 717 Cleveland Street, 309 Glenwood Street, and 1802 South Park Street ("the subject properties"). Some of these properties contain more than one rental unit. 6. The rental units at the subject properties are dwellings within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b). 7. Defendant Dawn Fischer ("Dawn Fischer") is the wife of Defendant Thomas Fischer. She is a resident of Minnesota. 8. During the period of time relevant to this action, Defendant Dawn Fischer was the co-owner, with her husband, of several of the subject properties, including but not limited to 1411 West Third Street, 1209 West Fourth Street, 517 Ninth Street, 666 Twentieth Street, 309 Glenwood Street, and 1802 South Park Street. 9. During the period of time relevant to this action, Defendants Thomas Fischer and Dawn Fischer provided property management at the subject properties. Defendant Thomas Fischer performed such management in his capacity as owner or co-owner and in his capacity as the agent of the co-owner, Dawn Fischer. 10. Defendants have violated the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq., by discriminating against persons on the basis of sex in connection with the rental of the subject properties.
11. Defendant Thomas Fischer has engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination based on sex by subjecting female tenants of the subject properties to discrimination on the basis of sex, including severe, pervasive, and unwelcome sexual harassment. Such conduct has included, but is not limited to, unwanted verbal sexual advances; unwanted sexual touching; and entering the apartments of female tenants without permission or notice.
12. Defendant Dawn Fischer is liable for the above-described discriminatory conduct of her agent and co-owner, Thomas Fischer, which conduct occurred within the scope of his joint ownership, employment and/or agency.
13. The conduct of Defendants described above constitutes:
- A denial of housing or making housing unavailable because of sex, in violation of Section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
- Discrimination in the terms, conditions, or privileges of the rental of dwellings, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of sex, in violation of Section 804(b) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b);
- The making of statements with respect to the rental of dwellings that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on sex, in violation of Section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c); and
- Coercion, intimidation, threats, or interference with persons in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of their having exercised or enjoyed, their rights under Section 804 of the Fair Housing Act, in violation of Section 818 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3617.
14.The conduct of Defendants described above constitutes:
- A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.; and
- A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq., which denial raises an issue of general public importance.
15. Female tenants, prospective tenants, and persons associated with them have been injured by Defendants' discriminatory conduct. Such persons are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and have suffered damages as a result of Defendants' conduct.
16. Defendants' conduct was intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of others.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an ORDER that:
1. Declares that Defendants' discriminatory practices violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 to 3619.;
2. Enjoins Defendants, their agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them from:
- Discriminating on account of sex against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling;
- 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
- Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, the victims of Defendants' past unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct;
3. Awards monetary damages to each identifiable victim of Defendants' discriminatory housing practices for injuries caused by Defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B); and
4. Assesses civil penalties against Defendants in order to vindicate the public interest, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C).
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
THOMAS B. HEFFELFINGER
Respectfully submitted,ALBERTO R. GONZALES
s/Bradley J. Schlozman/Wan Kim
s/Steven H. Rosenbaum
s/Lori K. Wagner
TIMOTHY J. MORAN
LORI K. WAGNER
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.- G St.
Washington, DC 20530
Tel.: (202) 305-3107
Fax: (202) 514-1116
Document Filed: August 12, 2005 > >