Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
JACKSON DIVISION

________________________________________________

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

           Plaintiff,

v.

RALEIGH ANNEX APARTMENTS TC, LP
d/b/a RALEIGH ANNEX APARTMENTS
AND ITS GENERAL PARTNER, CENTURY
PACIFIC EQUITY CORPORATION, CENTURY
PACIFIC MANAGEMENT CORPORATION,
JOAN DAVIDSON, GUDRUN ANDERSON,
AND KAREN "ANGIE" SASSER,

           Defendants.

________________________________________________

CIVIL ACTION NO.

CONSENT DECREE

I.    INTRODUCTION

1. The United States of America filed the Complaint on behalf of Joseph Thomas Goff ("Complainant") pursuant to subsection 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act ("the Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

2. The Complaint alleges that Defendants Raleigh Annex Apartments TC, LP, Century Pacific Management Corporation, Century Pacific Equity Corporation, Joan Davidson, Gudrun Anderson, and Karen "Angie" Sasser discriminated against the Complainant when they refused to rent him a one-bedroom apartment at the Raleigh Annex Apartments ("Subject Property"), located at 730 Raleigh Avenue, Magee, Simpson County, Mississippi. The Subject Property consists of several buildings with 69 single-family apartments.

3. The Complaint alleges that the Defendants discriminated in the rental of, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, a dwelling to Mr. Goff because of his disabilities, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1); and made statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicated a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on disability, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).

4. On or about May 15, 2003, the Complainant filed a timely complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging discrimination based on disability, in violation of the Act. HUD conducted an investigation of the complaint and determined that reasonable cause existed to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred, and it issued a Charge of Discrimination. After the Complainant elected to proceed in federal court, HUD referred the case to the Department of Justice for filing pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o)(1).

5. The Defendants deny the allegations in the United States' Complaint, and the Defendants' agreement to the entry of the Consent Decree does not constitute either an admission or a finding of any wrongdoing on the part of any Defendant named in the United States' Complaint.

6. The parties agree that this Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1345, § 1331, and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

7. The parties agree that, to avoid costly and protracted litigation, the claims against the Defendants should be resolved without further proceedings and an evidentiary hearing. Therefore, as indicated by the signatures below, the parties agree to the entry of this Consent Decree. This Consent Decree constitutes full resolution of the United States' claims that the Defendants discriminated against the Complainant on the basis of disability.

It is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED:

II.    GENERAL INJUNCTION

8. For purposes of this Consent Decree, "Defendants" is defined to mean the Defendants, their officers, employees, agents, successors and assigns, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them. The Defendants are enjoined from:

  1. Discriminating in the rental of, or otherwise making unavailable or denying, a dwelling because of a disability of the renter, of any person residing in or intending to reside in the dwelling after it is rented or made available, or of any person associated with the renter, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1);
  2. Making statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on disability, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c); and
  3. Coercing, intimidating, threatening, or interfering with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his/her having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his/her having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected by the Act, including the Complainant, as well as anyone who participated in HUD's investigation of the administrative complaints that gave rise to this action.

III.    DAMAGES FOR AGGRIEVED PERSON

9. Within ten (10) days of the entry of this Decree, the Defendants shall pay the Complainant sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) in monetary damages. The Defendants shall pay said money by sending to the United States a check for $60,000 payable to Joseph Thomas Goff. Upon receipt of the check, the United States shall send to the Defendants an executed Release of all claims, legal or equitable, that the Complainant might have against the Defendants relating to the claims asserted in this lawsuit and any other action pending with HUD stemming from the above allegations (Appendix A).

IV.   NONDISCRIMINATION AND COMPLAINT POLICIES

10. Within ten (10) days of the entry of this Decree and throughout the term of this Decree, the Defendants, except Defendants Davidson, Anderson and Sasser, shall post and prominently display in the Subject Property rental office and in any other place at the Subject Property in which announcements or vacancies are posted a sign no smaller than 10 inches by 14 inches indicating that all dwellings are available for rental on a nondiscriminatory basis. A poster that comports with 24 C.F.R. Part 110 will satisfy this requirement.

11. Within ten (10) days of the entry of this Decree and throughout the term of this Decree, the Defendants, except Defendants Davidson, Anderson and Sasser, shall ensure that all advertising for the Subject Property, in newspapers, telephone directories, radio, television, the Internet, or other media, and on signs, pamphlets, brochures and other promotional literature, include a fair housing logo, the words "equal housing opportunity provider," and/or the following sentence:

We are an equal opportunity housing provider. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability.

The words or logo should be prominently placed and easily legible.

12. Within ten (10) days of the entry of this Decree, the Defendants, except Defendants Davidson, Anderson and Sasser, shall provide to all employees and tenants of the Subject Property a written notice, conforming with Appendix B, describing the Defendants' policy of nondiscrimination. The Defendants shall also provide this policy to all prospective tenants at the time of application.

13. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Decree, the Defendants, except Defendants Davidson, Anderson and Sasser, shall establish and adopt a written complaint policy. The policy will inform applicants and tenants of the Subject Property how and where to file a complaint with the management of the Subject Property about the practices of the Defendants, their employees, and agents that relate to the nondiscrimination policy or to other rights afforded by the Fair Housing Act. The complaint policy will also inform applicants and tenants of their right to file a fair housing complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

14. The complaint policy shall include, among other things, procedures for:

(a) documenting the complaint in writing, and directives on how the Defendants shall promptly investigate and resolve such complaints; (b) ensuring that a copy of the complaint is provided to the management office within seven (7) days of the complaint being raised; and (c) providing the complaining party or parties a copy of the complaint policy, a copy of this Consent Decree, and the name and contact information for a person in the Defendants' management office who can answer questions about the complaint process.

15. The complaint policy shall be posted and prominently displayed in the Subject Property rental office and in any other place at the Subject Property in which announcements or vacancies are posted.

V.     TRAINING

16. Within ten (10) days of the entry of this Decree, the Defendants shall provide copies of this Decree and the nondiscrimination policy to all of their agents and employees whose duties, in whole or in part, involve the management or rental of units at the Subject Property, and shall secure the signed statement, conforming to Appendix C, from each agent or employee acknowledging that s/he has received and read, and understands the Decree and the nondiscrimination policy, and has had her or his questions about the Decree and the nondiscrimination policy answered. The questions shall be answered by one of the Defendants or the Defendants' management officials, or the Defendants' counsel.

17. Within ninety (90) days of the entry of this Decree, the Defendants and all employees and agents whose duties, in whole or in part, involve the management or rental of units at the Subject Property shall undergo fair housing training. The training shall focus on discrimination because of disability and shall inform these individuals of their obligations under the Decree as well as applicable federal, state and local laws. The training shall be conducted by a qualified third party, approved by the United States and unconnected to the Defendants or their employees, agents or counsel, and any expenses associated with this training shall be borne by the Defendants. Those who attend the training shall be required to sign a certification confirming their attendance conforming to Appendix D.

18. During the term of this Decree, each new employee or agent whose duties, in whole or in part, involve the management or rental of units at the Subject Property shall be given a copy of this Decree and the nondiscrimination policy, and shall be given an opportunity to have any questions about these documents answered by one of the Defendants or the Defendants' management officials, or the Defendants' counsel. Each such new employee or agent shall sign a statement conforming to Appendix C.

VI.     REPORTING AND RECORD-KEEPING REQUIREMENTS

19. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Decree, and thereafter on the anniversary of the entry of this Decree, the Defendants, except Defendants Davidson, Anderson and Sasser, shall submit to the United States a compliance report, (1) except that the final report shall be submitted sixty (60) days prior to the anniversary of this Decree. The compliance report shall include (a) the signed statement of each agent and employee referred to in paragraphs 16 and 18, above; (b) copies of the Defendants' nondiscrimination and complaint policies; and (c) copies of any advertisements, pamphlets, brochures or other promotional literature concerning the Subject Property.

20. Within ten (10) days after the training required by paragraph 17, above, the Defendants, except Defendants Davidson, Anderson and Sasser, shall provide to the United States (a) the name(s), address(es) and telephone number(s) of the trainer(s); (b) copies of the training outlines and any materials distributed by the trainers; and (c) the signed certifications confirming attendance.

21. Within ten (10) days after the establishment of the complaint policy required by Paragraphs 13-15, above, the Defendants, except Defendants Davidson, Anderson and Sasser, shall provide to the United States a copy of the complaint policy. For the duration of this Decree, the Defendants shall notify counsel for the United States, in writing, within fifteen (15) days of receipt of any complaint of housing discrimination against the Defendants or any of the Defendants' agents or employees. Such notification shall include the date of the complaint, a copy of any written complaint or a description of the verbal complaint, and contact information for the complaining party. Within fifteen (15) days of the resolution of any such complaint, the Defendants shall notify counsel for the United States, in writing, providing the details of the resolution.

22. For the duration of this Decree, the Defendants, except Defendants Davidson, Anderson and Sasser, shall preserve all records related to this Decree and any other documents related to the management or rental of units at the Subject Property. Such documents include, but are not limited to, applications, leases, resident assessment materials, tenant files, policies and procedures, and tenant tracker and unit availability logs. Upon reasonable notice to the Defendants, representatives of the United States shall be permitted to inspect and copy any of the Defendants' records or inspect the Subject Property at any and all reasonable times so as to determine compliance with the Consent Decree; provided, however, that the United States shall endeavor to minimize any inconvenience to the Defendants from such inspections.

VII.     DURATION OF DECREE AND TERMINATION OF LEGAL ACTION

23. The Court shall retain jurisdiction for three years after the entry of this Decree to enforce the terms of the Decree, at which time the case shall be dismissed with prejudice. Prior to the expiration of the Decree's term, the United States may move the Court to extend the duration of the Decree for good cause, including on the basis that the Defendants have failed to comply with a provision of the Decree.

24. The parties shall endeavor in good faith to resolve informally any differences regarding the interpretation of and compliance with this Decree prior to bringing such matters to the Court for a resolution. However, in the event of a failure by the Defendants to perform in a timely manner any act required by this Decree or otherwise to act in violation of any provision thereof, the United States 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 attorney's fees that may have been occasioned by the violation or failure to perform.

VIII.   TIME FOR PERFORMANCE

25. Any time limits for performance imposed by this Consent Decree may be extended by the mutual, written agreement of the United States and the Defendants.

IX.     COSTS OF LITIGATION

26. Each party to this Consent Decree shall bear its own costs and attorney's fees associated with this litigation.





IT IS SO ORDERED:

This____day of ________________ , 2005.



_______________________________
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE



The undersigned apply for and consent to the entry of this Decree:



FOR PLAINTIFF THE UNITED STATES:





DUNN LAMPTON
United States Attorney






_________________________
MITZI DEASE PAIGE
Assistant United States Attorney
188 East Capitol Street
Suite 500, One Jackson Pl.
Jackson, MS 39201
(601) 973-2840
Mississippi Bar No. 6014

WAN J. KIM
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division





________________________
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief
MICHAEL S. MAURER
Deputy Chief
BRUCE I. GEAR, Attorney
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. - G St.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Phone: (202) 353-0914
Fax: (202) 514-1116


FOR THE DEFENDANTS RALEIGH ANNEX APARTMENTS TC, LP d/b/a RALEIGH ANNEX APARTMENTS AND ITS GENERAL PARTNER, CENTURY PACIFIC EQUITY CORPORATION, CENTURY PACIFIC MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, JOAN DAVIDSON, GUDRUN ANDERSON, AND KAREN "ANGIE" SASSER:





_______________________________
ANDREW N. ALEXANDER III, ESQ.
Lake Tindall, LLP
127 South Poplar
P.O. Box 918
Greenville, MS 38702-0918
Phone: (662) 378-2121
Fax: (662) 378-2183

APPENDIX A



RELEASE OF CLAIMS BY JOSEPH THOMAS GOFF



In consideration of the parties' agreement to the terms of the Consent Decree entered by the Court in United States v. Raleigh Annex Apartments TC, LP, et al., Civil Action No. ________ (S.D. Miss.), and the Defendants' payment of the sum of sixty thousand dollars ($60,000), I, Joseph Thomas Goff, hereby release the Defendants named in this action, Raleigh Annex Apartments TC, LP, Century Pacific Equity Corporation, Century Pacific Management Corporation, Joan Davidson, Gudrun Anderson, and Karen "Angie" Sasser, as well as their employees, agents, officers and directors from any and all liability for any claims, legal or equitable, I may have against them arising out of the allegations raised, or that could have been raised, in this action or any related action or complaint pending before HUD involving these Defendants. I hereby acknowledge that I have read and understand this release and have executed it voluntarily and with full knowledge of its legal consequences.



___________________________________
JOSEPH THOMAS GOFF
519 Elm Avenue, NW
Magee, Mississippi 39111



Date: ___________________






APPENDIX B

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY



It is the policy of Raleigh Annex Apartments to comply with Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (commonly known as the Fair Housing Act) by ensuring that apartments are available to all persons without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, disability, familial status, or sex. This policy means, among other things, that Raleigh Annex Apartments and all agents or employees of Raleigh Annex Apartments with the responsibility for renting, managing or administering any dwelling units must not discriminate on the basis of disability in any aspect of the rental of dwellings to qualified applicants or tenants. Such agents and employees must refrain from:

  1. Discriminating in the rental of, or otherwise making unavailable or denying, a dwelling because of a disability of the renter, of any person residing in or intending to reside in the dwelling after it is rented or made available, or of any person associated with the renter;
  2. Making statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on disability; and
  3. Coercing, intimidating, threatening, or interfering with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his/her having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his/her having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected by the Act.


Any agent or employee who fails to comply with this nondiscrimination policy shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. Any action taken by an agent or employee that results in the unequal service, treatment or behavior to tenants on the basis of disability may constitute a violation of state and federal fair housing laws. Any tenant who believes that any of the above policies have been violated by any owner, agent or employee may contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777, or the U.S. Department of Justice at 1-800-896-7743 or 202-514-4713.




APPENDIX C



EMPLOYEE ACKNOWLEDGMENT



I acknowledge that on _____________ _____, 200__, I was provided copies of the Consent Decree entered by the Court in United States v. Raleigh Annex Apartments TC, LP, et al., Civil Action No. ________ (S.D. Miss.), and the nondiscrimination policy of Raleigh Annex Apartments. I have read and understand these documents and have had my questions about these documents answered. I understand my legal responsibilities and shall comply with those responsibilities.





___________________________
Signature



____________________________
Print Name



___________________________
Job Title



_______________
Date






APPENDIX D



EMPLOYEE TRAINING CERTIFICATION



I certify that on _____________ ____, 200___, I received training with respect to my responsibilities under the Consent Decree entered by the Court in United States v. Raleigh Annex Apartments TC, LP, et al., Civil Action No. ________ (S.D. Miss.), and the federal Fair Housing Act. I was also instructed as to the rental policies and procedures, including the nondiscrimination and complaint policies, of Raleigh Annex Apartments. I have received copies of and have read the Consent Decree, the nondiscrimination policy, and the complaint policy, and I have had my questions about these documents answered. I understand my legal responsibilities and shall comply with those responsibilities.



___________________________
Signature



___________________________
Print Name



___________________________
Job Title



________________
Date


1. The compliance report and all other documents required under this Consent Decree shall be sent by overnight delivery to the following address: Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, 1800 G Street, N.W., Suite 7062, Washington, DC, 20006, Att: DJ 175-41-204.


Document Entered: December 19, 2005. > >
Updated August 6, 2015

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