Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA
Assistant Attorney General
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM, Chief
TIMOTHY J. MORAN, Deputy Chief
MICHALYN STEELE, Attorney
Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Northwestern Building, 7th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20530
Phone: (202) 353-9331
Fax: (202) 514-1116

THOMAS E. MOSS, ISB No. 1058
United States Attorney
NICHOLAS J. WOYCHICK, ISB No. 3912
Assistant United States Attorney
MK Plaza, Plaza IV
800 Park Blvd., Suite 600
Boise, ID 83712-9903
Phone: (208) 334-1211
Fax: (208) 334-1413

Attorneys for Plaintiff
United States of America



IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF IDAHO



UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

           Plaintiff,

Case No.:

COMPLAINT

BRUCE W. HALL d/b/a ASPEN
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT; and
KENNETH HOPKIN,

           Defendants.

____________________________________

The United States of America alleges as follows:

1. This action is brought by the United States on behalf of Robyn White, Jamie Lewis, Scott Lewis, and Bryce White (hereinafter "Complainants") to enforce Sections 804(a) and 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3631.

2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

3. Venue is proper in the District Court of Idaho under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), in that the events or omissions giving rise to this action occurred in this district.

4. At all times relevant to this complaint, Defendant Bruce W. Hall, has resided in Menan, Idaho, and has engaged in the management of residential rental properties. Defendant Hall does business under the name of Aspen Property Management.

5. At all times relevant to this complaint, Defendant Bruce W. Hall, d/b/a Aspen Property Management, has been the rental agent and/or property manager for the subject property pursuant to a contractual agreement between Defendant Kenneth Hopkin and Defendant Bruce W. Hall, d/b/a Aspen Property Management for management of the subject property.

6. At all times relevant to this complaint, Defendant Kenneth Hopkin, a resident of Idaho Falls, Idaho, has been the owner of the subject property, a four-bedroom, two-bath single- family house and yard located at 1674 Juniper Street, Idaho Falls, Idaho. Defendant Hopkin owns and/or manages multiple single-family and multi-family residential rental properties in the State of Idaho.

7. The single-family house at 1674 Juniper Street, Idaho Falls, Idaho, is a dwelling within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

8. At all times relevant to this complaint, Complainant Robyn White has been a single mother with three minor children, Jamie Lewis, Scott Lewis, and Bryce White, ages 16, 14, and 8 respectively.

9. On or about August 11, 2003, Complainant Robyn White responded to a newspaper advertisement offering the property at 1674 Juniper Street for rent. Defendant Bruce W. Hall showed Ms. White, her children Jamie Lewis and Bryce White, and her friend Ms. Brandie Phelps, the subject property and another single-family dwelling being offered for rent. Ms. White selected the subject property as the most suitable and desirable for her family. That same day, Ms. White sought to enter into a lease with Defendants for rental of the property by completing an application for rental, which she submitted to Defendant Hall. Defendant Hall told Ms. White that her application looked good, but that he wanted to review more applications before making a decision.

10. Ms. White had several telephone conversations with Defendant Hall on August 13, 2003 and August 14, 2003 regarding the status of her application. Defendant Hall continued to delay his decision saying he needed to speak with the owner, Defendant Hopkin. On August 14, 2003, Ms. White asked why Defendant Hall refused to rent the property to her. Defendant Hall replied that he and the owner wanted to rent to a "family." He explained that by a "family" he meant a "husband, wife, and kids."

11. Ms. White subsequently contacted the Intermountain Fair Housing Council ("IFHC"), a non-profit fair housing organization in Boise, Idaho, to complain about Mr. Hall's conduct. On or about August 19, 2003, Ms. Carrie House, an IFHC employee, contacted Defendant Hall concerning Ms. White's allegations. Defendant Hall confirmed to the IFHC employee that he had declined to rent the house to Ms. White and her children. Defendant Hall told the IFHC employee that the owner wanted a "full-fledged family" with a "husband, wife, [and] kids" in the home because they are the most responsible renters. He stated that as a single mother, Ms. White could have rented one of the apartments he managed, but not a single-family dwelling. Defendant Hall later told a HUD Investigator that the reason he did not want to rent the house to Ms. White is that he had had a negative experience with a single mother and her children who failed to care for their yard or perform other upkeep and maintenance on another rental house he managed.

12. The subject property remained available for rent after Ms. White's application was denied, and was again advertised in the local newspaper. On or about September 3, 2003, Defendants rented the subject property to a single man.

13. On September 8, 2003, Complainant Robyn White filed a timely complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") on behalf of herself and her minor children, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging that Defendants had discriminated against Complainants on the basis of, inter alia, sex in connection with the rental of the subject property at 1674 Juniper Street, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

14. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD conducted an investigation of the complaint, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on the information gathered in this investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause existed to believe that Defendants committed illegal discriminatory housing practices in connection with the subject property. Therefore, on May 11, 2004, the Secretary issued a Determination of Reasonable Cause and Charge of Discrimination, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging that the Defendants had engaged in discriminatory practices, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

15. On June 7, 2004, Defendant Bruce W. Hall timely elected to have the charge resolved in a federal civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).

16. The Secretary subsequently authorized the Attorney General to file this action on behalf of the Complainants, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(o).

17. By the actions and statements set forth above in ¶¶ 9-12, Defendants have:

  1. Refused to rent, refused to negotiate for the rental of, or otherwise made unavailable or denied a dwelling to a person because of sex, in violation of Section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
  2. Made statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling indicating a preference, limitation or discrimination based on sex, and an intention to make such 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).

18. The Complainants are aggrieved persons under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i). The Complainants have suffered injury and damages as a result of the Defendants' unlawful conduct described above.

19. The Defendants' discriminatory actions and statements as set forth above were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of others.

WHEREFORE, the United States prays for relief as follows:

1. A declaration that the conduct of Defendants as set forth above violates the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3631;

2. An injunction against Defendants, their agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from:

  1. discriminating on the basis of sex in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3631;
  2. failing or refusing to notify the public that dwellings owned or operated by the Defendants are available to all persons on a nondiscriminatory basis; and
  3. failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, Ms. White and her three minor children, to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct;

3. An award of monetary damages to Ms. White and her three minor children pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c).

The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.

Dated: ________________, 2004

JOHN ASHCROFT
Attorney General


THOMAS E. MOSS
United States Attorney _______________________
NICHOLAS WOYCHICK
Assistant United States Attorney
United States Attorney's Office
MK Plaza, Plaza IV
800 Park Blvd., Suite 600
Boise, ID 83712-9903
Phone: (208) 334-1211
Fax: (208) 334-1413
_______________________
R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division _______________________
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief, Housing and
Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division _______________________
TIMOTHY J. MORAN
Deputy Chief
MICHALYN STEELE
Attorney
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Northwestern Building, 7th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20530
Phone: (202) 353-9331
Fax: (202) 514-1116
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Updated August 6, 2015

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