Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
(JACKSONVILLE DIVISION)


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

CASE NO. 3:00-CV-659-J-HTS

THOMAS E. NAIL,
     Defendant.

_____________________________

CONSENT ORDER

On June 16, 2000, the United States commenced this action on behalf of Carole L. Hernandez and Gilbert R. Wright against Defendant Thomas E. Nail. Ms. Hernandez is a former resident of a rental property located at 3966 Civic Lane in Kingsley Lake, Florida, and Mr. Wright was a frequent guest at her home when she resided at that location. Defendant Nail was, at the time of Ms. Hernandez's residency there, the manager of 3966 Civic Lane.

The Complaint was brought pursuant to the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), after the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (hereinafter, "HUD") conducted an investigation, attempted conciliation without success, determined that reasonable cause existed to believe that a discriminatory housing practice had occurred, and issued charges of discrimination against Defendant. Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Wright elected to have the matter resolved in a federal civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).

The Complaint alleges that Defendant Nail discriminated against Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Wright on the basis of race, and intimidated, threatened, and interfered with them in the exercise of, and on account of their having exercised, their federally-protected fair housing rights. Defendant Nail admits to the substance of the Complaint. Further, Defendant Nail admits that were this case to proceed to trial, the United States' evidence would establish the following, which would support a finding by the Court that Defendant Nail violated prohibitions found in the Fair Housing Act against discrimination and harassment on the basis of race in violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a), 3604(b), 3604(c) and 3617:

Ms. Hernandez is Caucasian, and Mr. Wright is African-American. Throughout Ms. Hernandez's tenancy at 3966 Civic Lane, Defendant Nail directed racial epithets and hostile and derogatory racial statements at Ms. Hernandez. At least one of these statements was made in the presence of Mr. Wright. Defendant Nail's statements expressed hostility towards and a preference against African-Americans associating with Caucasians, and discrimination against African-Americans and interracial relationships. In addition to making hostile racial statements, Defendant Nail raised Ms. Hernandez's rent due to the race of Mr. Wright. Finally, Defendant Nail took actions calculated to frighten Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Wright in and around Ms. Hernandez's home. In fear for the safety of herself and Mr. Wright as a result of Defendant Nail's statements and conduct, Ms. Hernandez was forced to move from 3966 Civic Lane.

The United States and Defendant Nail agree that, to conserve time and expense, the controversy should be resolved without further litigation. Therefore, they have waived any evidentiary hearing and the entry of findings of fact and conclusions of law and have voluntarily agreed to the entry of this Consent Order, as indicated by the signatures appearing below.

Accordingly, it is ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED that:

  1. PROHIBITORY INJUNCTION

Defendant Nail, his employees, partners, agents, successors and assigns, and all those acting in concert or participation with him in the ownership, operation, or management of housing, are hereby enjoined from:

  1. Refusing to rent, or otherwise making unavailable, any dwelling to any person because of the race of such person or his or her guest(s), family, or friend(s);

  2. Discriminating in the terms, conditions, or privileges of rental of any dwelling, because of the race of any renter or any applicant for rent, or the guest(s), family, or friend(s) of any such renter or applicant;

  3. Making statements that indicate a preference, hostility, or discrimination on the basis of race or interracial relationship (including, for example, derogatory racial terms or epithets), to any renter or applicant for rent or the guest(s), family, or friend(s) of any such renter or applicant;

  4. Retaliating against or interfering with any person or entity, including without limitation Carole L. Hernandez and Gilbert R. Wright, on account of the exercise of any right under the Fair Housing Act; and

  5. Otherwise taking any action in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.
  1. AFFIRMATIVE RELIEF

  1. Advertising of Residential Rental Property
    1. During the term of this Order, if any residential rental property owned by Defendant Nail in whole or in part becomes available for rent, Defendant Nail shall advertise that vacancy in a newspaper of general circulation in the Starke, Florida area. Defendant Nail shall be solely responsible for any costs associated with such advertising.
    2. During the term of this Order, Defendant Nail shall ensure that the words "Equal Housing Opportunity" are included in all advertising and on all billboards, signs, pamphlets, brochures and other promotional documents for any residential rental property owned by him in whole or in part. The words "Equal Housing Opportunity" shall be prominently placed and easily legible.
    3. During the term of this Order, Defendant Nail shall provide the United States with photocopies or photographs of "all advertising for any residential rental property owned by him in whole or in part. Such photocopies or photographs shall be of a quality such that the words "Equal Housing Opportunity" shall be legible.

  2. Management of Residential Rental Property
    1. Upon entry of this Order, Defendant Nail shall immediately cease and resign from performing any management duties with respect to any residential rental property, whether owned by him and/or by others. At no time during the term of this Order shall Defendant Nail personally perform any management duties with respect to any residential rental property.
    2. Within twenty (20) days after the entry of this Order, Defendant Nail shall appoint a Rental Manager to serve as the manager of any and all residential rental properties owned by him in whole or in part. During the term of this Order, if a Rental Manager resigns or otherwise ceases to act as manager for any residential properties owned by Defendant Nail in whole or in part, or if a Rental Manager fails to comply with any aspect of this Consent Order, Defendant Nail shall promptly appoint a new Rental Manager who will comply with all terms of this Order. Defendant Nail may also replace any Rental Manager at will, provided that the new Rental Manager complies with all aspects of this Order.
    3. Defendant Nail shall be solely responsible for any costs associated with any Rental Manager(s).
    4. Within ten (10) days of a Rental Manager's appointment, Defendant Nail shall provide that Rental Manager with a copy of this Order.
    5. Within ten (10) days of appointment of any Rental Manager and again within ten (10) days of the commencement of any tenancy by a new tenant at a residential rental property owned in whole or in part by Defendant Nail, Defendant Nail shall provide the United States and any such tenant with written notice of the name, address, and telephone number of each Rental Manager, substantially in the form annexed hereto as Exhibit A. The notice shall include the following statement:

      We are an equal housing opportunity provider. We will not discriminate or harass tenants or their guests, families, or friends on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, handicap or familial status (having children under age 18). If you believe you have been discriminated against or harassed in violation of this policy, you may file a complaint with the United States Department of Justice at the following address: Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, DJ# 175-17M-439, Post Office Box 65998, Washington, D.C. 20035-5998.

      Defendant Nail shall be responsible for ensuring that the notice is signed by both Defendant Nail and the Rental Manager.

  3. Admonishment by the Court

    At the same time or within thirty (30) days after the Court enters this Order, it shall, in open Court, with Defendant present (and Ms. Hernandez, Mr. Wright and United States counsel present if they so desire) make a statement on the record admonishing Defendant for violating the Fair Housing Act. The Court will orally make clear to Defendant how serious such violations are and how carefully Defendant must avoid any such violation in the future.

  1. RELIEF FOR AGGRIEVED PERSONS
  1. Prior to entry of this Order, Defendant Nail has delivered a signed, written apology to Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Wright, for his statements, his actions, and the injuries he caused each of them. A copy of this apology is annexed hereto as Exhibit B.
  2. Within ten (10) days after the entry of this Order (but not earlier than sixty (60) days from February 8, 2001), Defendant Nail shall make the following monetary disbursements, by certified check:
    1. Ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) payable to "Carole L. Hernandez"; and
    2. Ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) payable to "Gilbert R. Wright."

    All disbursements shall be sent by certified mail to the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, DJ# 175-17M-439, Post Office Box 65998, Washington, D.C. 20035-5998.

  3. In consideration of the aforementioned payments to Carole L. Hernandez of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), Ms. Hernandez shall execute a release, substantially in the form annexed hereto as Exhibit C. In consideration of the aforementioned payment to Gilbert R. Wright of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), Mr. Wright shall execute a release, substantially in the form annexed hereto as Exhibit C.
  4. Upon receipt of both the monies referenced in ¶ III-2 above and the releases referenced in ¶ III-3 above, the United States shall forward the monies referenced in ¶ III-2 above to Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Wright, respectively, and shall forward the releases referenced in ¶ III-3 to Defendant Nail.
  1. RECORDKEEPING
  1. During the term of this Order, Defendant Nail shall advise the United States by written notice within fifteen (15) days of receipt of any written or oral complaint, regarding equal opportunity in housing, against him, his employees, partners, agents, successors or assigns, or anyone acting in concert or participation with him, and a description of the resolution of such complaint. If the complaint is written, Defendant shall provide a copy of it with the notice to the United States; if the complaint is oral, he shall include a written summary of it with the notice. The notice shall include the full details of the complaint, including the complainant's name, address, and telephone number. Defendant Nail shall also promptly provide the United States all information it may request concerning any such complaint and its actual or attempted resolution.
  2. During the term of this Order, Defendant Nail shall keep a record of the name, address, telephone number, race or color, start date of rental, and (where applicable) ending date of rental, of each renter of any residential rental property owned by him in whole or in part. If the race or color of a person is unclear, Defendant Nail shall record the information to the extent possible based on his good-faith observation and belief.
  3. During the term of this Order, if any residential rental property owned by Defendant Nail in whole or in part becomes available for rent, Defendant Nail shall keep a record of the name, telephone number, race or color, and whether such inquiry is by telephone and/or in person, of all persons who inquire about renting the property. If the race or color of a person is unclear, Defendant Nail shall record the information to the extent possible based on his good-faith observation and belief.
  4. Within thirty (30) days after the entry of this Order, and annually thereafter until the expiration of this Order, Defendant Nail shall report to the United States the information he has recorded under ¶¶ IV-2 and IV-3 above.
  1. NOTICE PROVISION

Whenever pursuant to this Order any document, statement, communication, or check, is to be furnished to the United States or Defendant, the document, statement, communication, or check shall be sent to:

if to the United States, to:

U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing & Civil Enforcement Section
ATTN: DJ 175-17M-439
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, DC 20035-5998
fax: (202) 514-1116

if to Defendant Nail:

Charles Daniel Sikes, Esq.
407 West Georgia St.
Starke, Florida 32091
fax: (904) 964-9400

  1. DISMISSAL AND ENFORCEMENT
  1. This Order shall remain in effect until January 1, 2006.
  2. The claims for monetary relief asserted in this action are dismissed with prejudice upon payment of the funds described in Section III of this Order. The claims for injunctive and affirmative action relief asserted in this action are dismissed without prejudice, so that this Court shall retain jurisdiction of this action for the purpose of enforcing the ongoing injunction and affirmative relief provisions of Sections I and II of this Order. If no motion to enforce this Order is filed with the Court on or before January 1, 2006, this action shall be dismissed with prejudice in its entirety.
  3. The United States and Defendant Nail shall endeavor in good faith to resolve informally any differences regarding the interpretation of and compliance with this Order prior to bringing such matters to the Court for resolution. Where the United States has contacted Defendant or his counsel in writing in an attempt to resolve informally any differences, and the Defendant or his counsel has not responded within twenty (20) days of mailing, the United States has satisfied its good faith obligations. In the event of a violation by Defendant of this Order, 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 an act or payment of a fine, an award of damages, and an award of any costs and reasonable attorneys' fees that have been occasioned by the violation or failure to perform.

SO ORDERED this ___ day of ____________, 2001:

The Honorable Howard T. Snyder,
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

Agreed to by the parties as indicated by the signatures appearing on the next page:


For Defendant Nail: For Plaintiff united States:

THOMAS E. NAIL
3966 Civic Lane
Starke, Florida 32091
 
CHARLES DANIEL SIKES
407 West Georgia St.
Starke, Florida 32091
(904) 964-2020

JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief
ISABELLE M. THABAULT
Deputy Chief
LAUREN E. WILLIS
Trial Attorney
Housing & Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
(202) 307-3025

EXHIBIT A

NOTICE

Name(s) of Tenant(s): ______________________

Address: _______________________

Date: __________

Dear Tenant(s):

This notice is to inform you that we are an equal housing opportunity provider. We will not discriminate or harass tenants or their guests, families, or friends on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, handicap or familial status (having children under age 18). If you believe you have been discriminated against or harassed in violation of this policy, you may file a complaint with the United States Department of Justice at the following address:

Civil Rights Division
Housing & Civil Enforcement Section
ATTN: DJ# 175-17M-439
Post Office Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998.

This notice is also to inform you that the following is serving as the Rental Manager for your home:

Name of Rental Manager: _________________________

Address: _________________________

Telephone: _________________________

Please contact the Rental Manager if you need anything in connection with your tenancy, and please send all rent payments to the Rental Manager. When paying your rent by check, you can continue to make the check payable to Thomas E. Nail. Please do not contact Thomas E. Nail regarding your tenancy. Thank you for your cooperation.

Sincerely,

__________________________
Thomas E. Nail's signature

Rental Manager's signature
__________________________


EXHIBIT C

RELEASE OF CLAIMS

In consideration for the covenants and agreements made and reflected in the Consent Order entered by the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida in the litigation styled United States v. Thomas E. Nail, Case No. 3:00-CV-659-J-HTS, and in consideration of payment required to be made to the undersigned under said Order, I, on behalf of my heirs, executors, administrators, successors, assigns, employees and agents, hereby release and forever discharge any and all claims set forth in the Complaint in this action that I may have against Thomas E. Nail or any of his heirs, executors, administrators, successors, assigns, employees, or agents, for his actions and statements related to those claims through the date of said Consent Order.

Signed this ____ day of ____________, 2001,

________________________
signature

________________________
printed name


Document Signed: March 13, 2001. > >

Updated August 6, 2015

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