FOR THE DISTRICT OF WYOMING
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
LARRY BARONE; and
The United States of America alleges:
- This action is brought by the United States on behalf of Wendy A. Sheridan and her minor child Dalton James Spence, pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
- This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
- Wendy A. Sheridan and minor child Dalton James Spence are residents of the State of Wyoming.
- At all times relevant to this complaint, Defendants Larry Barone and Lucy Barone owned the residential rental property located at 1018 East 24th Street, Cheyenne, Wyoming ("the subject property"). Defendants reside in the District of Wyoming.
- Defendant Lucy Barone is the mother of Defendant Larry Barone.
- The subject property is a dwelling within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
- On or about March 15, 1998, Defendants published an advertisement in The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle for the rental of a one-bedroom house.
- Wendy A. Sheridan contacted Defendants regarding renting the subject property and made an appointment to see the property.
- On or about March 19, 1998, Defendant Larry Barone showed the subject property to Wendy A. Sheridan and to Dalton James Spence, who was at that time three years old.
- On or about March 20, 1998, Wendy A. Sheridan contacted Defendant Lucy Barone to tell her that she would like to rent the property.
- Defendant Lucy Barone, after confirming that Ms. Sheridan had a child, said that the property had already been rented.
- On or about March 21, 1998, Tricia Turk, Ms. Sheridan's sister, contacted Defendants to inquire about renting the subject property. Defendant Lucy Barone asked Ms. Turk whether she had children. When Ms. Turk responded that she did not, Defendant Lucy Barone said that the property was still available.
- Shortly thereafter, Defendant Larry Barone showed William Spence the subject property. Mr. Spence told Defendant Larry Barone that he was looking for a rental for two people: himself and his wife. Defendant Larry Barone told Mr. Spence that the subject property was still available.
- On or about March 24, 1998, Defendants leased the subject property to Jason Alexander, who had no children.
- On or about August 25, 1998, Wendy A. Sheridan filed a timely complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a). On or about July 15, 1999, Ms. Sheridan amended her complaint. As amended, the complaint alleges that Defendants Larry Barone and Lucy Barone discriminated in housing because of familial status. In this complaint, Ms. Sheridan alleged that on or about March 20, 1998, Defendants engaged in unlawful housing discrimination against her and her minor child Dalton James Spence because of familial status.
- 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 Ms. Sheridan, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final analysis and investigative report. 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 September 29, 2000, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging Defendants with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
- On or about October 20, 2000, Defendants Larry Barone and Lucy Barone elected to have the Charge resolved in a civil action filed in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
- On October 20, 2000, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election of Judicial Determination and terminated the administrative proceeding on the complaint filed by Ms. Sheridan.
- On October 24, 2000, following this Election of Judicial Determination, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
- Defendants, through the actions described above, have:
- refused to rent or to negotiate for the rental of, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, a dwelling because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a); and
- represented, because of familial status, that a dwelling was not available when such dwelling was in fact available, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(d).
- Wendy A. Sheridan and her son Dalton James Spence are aggrieved persons, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and have suffered damages as a result of the Defendants' discriminatory conduct described above.
- Defendants' discriminatory actions were intentional, willful and taken in disregard for the rights of Wendy A. Sheridan and Dalton James Spence.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that this court enter an ORDER that:
- Declares that the discriminatory housing practices of Defendants as set forth above violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619;
- Enjoins the Defendants, their agents, employees, successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them from discriminating because of familial status against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling;
- Awards such damages as would fully compensate Wendy A. Sheridan and Dalton James Spence for injuries caused by Defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c)(1); and
- Awards punitive damages to Wendy A. Sheridan and Dalton James Spence pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c)(1).
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
BILL LANN LEE
Assistnant Atorney General
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
ISABELLE M. THABAULT
DEBORAH A. GITIN
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, DC 20035-5998
Tel: (202) 305-2020
Fax: (202) 514-1116
DAVID D. FREUDENTHAL
United States Attorney
Assistant United States Attorney
2120 Capitol Ave., Rm. 4002
Cheyenne, WY 82001
Tel: (307) 772-2124
Fax: (307) 772-2907 > >