Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

JOHN ASHCROFT
Attorney General
R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA
Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
By: MICHAEL S. MAURER, Deputy Chief
HARVEY L. HANDLEY, Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Northwestern Building, 7th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20530
(202) 514-4756

CHRISTOPHER J. CHRISTIE
United States Attorney
By: SUSAN CASSELL
Assistant United States Attorney
970 Broad Street, Suite 700
Newark, New Jersey 07102
(973) 645-2700



IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY

____________________________________

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

           Plaintiff,

v.

MEM PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
CORP; BAYVIEW CONDOMINIUM
ASS'N, INC.; JOHN HEATON; and
MARTIN LADERMAN

           Defendant.

Hon.

COMPLAINT

Case No.

____________________________________

The United States of America alleges as follows:

NATURE OF ACTION

1. This is a civil action brought by the United States on behalf of Debra Herrick to enforce the provisions of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. (the "Fair Housing Act").

JURISDICTION & VENUE

2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

3. Venue is proper in this judicial district under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), in that the events giving rise to this action occurred in this judicial district.

PARTIES

4. Upon information and belief, defendant MEM Property Management Corp. ("MEM") is a corporation engaged in the management of real property in New Jersey.

5. Among the properties managed by MEM is the Bayview Condominium (the "Bayview"), a residential condominium complex located at 330 Shore Drive, Highlands, Monmouth County, New Jersey, within this district. The Bayview is governed by defendant Bayview Condominium, Inc. ("BCI"), a non-profit corporation established pursuant to the laws of New Jersey. Defendant MEM provides management services for the Bayview pursuant to a contract with defendant BCI.

6. Defendant John Heaton is President of the Board of Trustees of the defendant BCI. Mr. Heaton is a resident of New Jersey.

7. Defendant Martin Laderman is employed by defendant MEM to provide management services at the Bayside. Mr. Laderman's regular place of business is in New Jersey.

8. Complainant Debra Herrick is a female who has been the owner and resident of a unit at the Bayview since the summer of 2003. Ms. Herrick has medical conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome and asthma, as a result of which she is handicapped or disabled within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §3602(h).

9. The unit owned and occupied by Ms. Heaton is a "dwelling" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

10. The plumbing in the unit at the Bayview owned and occupied by Ms. Herrick is designed to allow for the ready installation of a clothes washer and dryer.

11. As a result of her disability, Ms. Herrick is unable to carry objects of the weight of an ordinary load of laundry without undue pain in the arms and hands. To avoid carrying laundry to and from her apartment to the common laundry rooms located on the ground floors of the buildings of the Bayside, Ms. Herrick wishes to purchase and install a washer and dryer in her unit.

12. During the summer of 2003, Ms. Herrick repeatedly asked permission from Mr. Heaton and Mr. Laderman to install a washer and dryer in her unit. On at least one occasion, Ms. Herrick explicitly stated to Mr. Laderman that she was requesting permission to install the washer and dryer as an accommodation for her disability. On that occasion, Mr. Laderman gave her oral permission to do so, but subsequently withdrew that permission. Since that time, defendants have consistently refused to permit Ms. Herrick to install a washer and dryer in her unit, and she has not done so.

13. On or about December 23, 2003, Ms. Herrick timely filed a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"), pursuant to the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging discrimination on the basis of disability.

14. As required by the Fair Housing Act, 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 exists to believe that illegal discriminatory housing practices had occurred. Therefore, on or about September 20, 2004, the Secretary issued a Determination of Reasonable Cause and Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2), charging defendants with engaging in discriminatory practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(f)(3)(B).

15. On October 15, 2004, defendants elected to have the claims asserted in HUD's Charge of Discrimination resolved in a federal civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).

16. On October 15, 2004, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election and terminated the administrative proceeding on the complaint filed by Ms. Herrick.

17. Following this Notice of Election, the Secretary of HUD authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

FAIR HOUSING ACT CLAIM

18. By the actions and statements described in the foregoing paragraphs, defendants have failed and refused to make a reasonable accommodation to Ms. Herrick's disability, which accommodation was necessary to afford her an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.

42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(B).

19. Ms. Herrick is an "aggrieved person" as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and suffered injuries as a result of defendants' discriminatory conduct.

20. Defendants' actions and statements described in the preceding paragraphs were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the fair housing rights of Ms. Herrick.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, the United States prays for relief as follows:

a. A declaration that defendants' conduct as set forth above violates the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.

b. An injunction against the defendants and their agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them, from discriminating on the basis of disability in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.

c. An award of monetary damages to Ms. Herrick, 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.

Dated: November 15, 2004



CHRISTOPHER J. CHRISTIE
United States Attorney
JOHN ASHCROFT
Attorney General

______________________
By: SUSAN CASSELL
Assistant United States Attorney

______________________
R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division ______________________
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division ______________________
MICHAEL S. MAURER
Deputy Chief
HARVEY L. HANDLEY
Attorney
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Northwestern Building, 7th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20530
Phone: (202) 514-4756
Fax: (202) 514-1116

Document Filed: November 15, 2004 > >
Updated August 6, 2015

Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?
Yes No