Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

JANET CHAMPAGNE and FLOYD
CHAMPAGNE,
     Defendant.

_______________________________________

COMPLAINT

The United States of America alleges:

  1. This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1345 and 42 U.S.C. §3612(o).
  2. This action is brought by the United States of America on behalf of Eleanor Crocker pursuant to §812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3612(o).
  3. The defendants, Janet Champagne and Floyd Champagne, own and reside in one of two units in a duplex residence located at 641 Mehle Avenue, Arabi, St. Bernard County, in the Eastern District of Louisiana.
  4. The duplex residence owned by the defendants is a dwelling within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §3602(b).
  5. On or about June 30, 1999, Eleanor Crocker filed a housing discrimination complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (hereinafter referred to as "HUD"), pursuant to §810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3610(a). In her complaint, as subsequently amended, Ms. Crocker alleged that defendants, who had rented her the unit adjacent to the defendants' unit, made statements indicating a preference or discrimination because of race, interfered with her enjoyment of her dwelling, and intimidated her and coerced her into moving because they did not want African-Americans in their home.
  6. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C.§§3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD (hereinafter referred to as "Secretary") conducted an investigation of Ms. Crocker's 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 the discriminatory housing practices alleged by Ms. Crocker had occurred.
  7. On January 24, 2001, 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 engaged in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as amended.
  8. On February 13, 2001, Eleanor Crocker elected to have the charge resolved in a federal civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3612(o) and, subsequently, the Secretary authorized the Attorney General to file this action on behalf of Ms. Crocker, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3612(o)(1).
  9. After Eleanor Crocker rented an apartment from the defendants in October 1998, she had the assistance of two African-American men from her church to assist her in moving into her apartment adjacent to the unit occupied by the defendants. When Ms. Crocker subsequently advised the defendants that she intended to invite these African-American friends to her home for dinner, Janet Champagne told her, "I don't want any Niggers in my house," or words to that effect. Ms. Champagne subsequently began to harass Ms. Crocker by making similar statements indicating that Ms. Crocker should not have African-Americans in her apartment, by entering her apartment uninvited, by interfering with an African-American repairman who was making a service call in her apartment, and, with Mr. Champagne, by evicting her in December, 1998.
  10. The actions of the defendants described in paragraph 9 constitute making statements indicating a racial preference, limitation, or discrimination with respect to the rental of a dwelling in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(c). Mr. and Mrs. Champagne also coerced, intimidated, threatened, or interfered with Eleanor Crocker in the exercise or enjoyment of her right to equal opportunity in housing in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3617.
  11. As a result of defendants' discriminatory conduct, Eleanor Crocker has suffered injuries and damages.
  12. The discriminatory actions of the defendants were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of Eleanor Crocker.

WHEREFORE, the United States of America prays that this Court enter an ORDER that:

  1. Declares that the discriminatory housing practices of the defendants, as set forth above, violated the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§3601-3619;
  2. Enjoins defendants, their agents and employees, if any, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from discriminating on the basis of race against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling; and
  3. Awards such damages as will fully compensate Eleanor Crocker for injuries caused by defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3612(o)(3) and 42 U.S.C. §3613(c); and
  4. Awards punitive damages to Eleanor Crocker pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§3614(d)(1)(B) and 42 U.S.C. §§3613(c).

The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require together with the costs and disbursements of this action.


  JOHN D. ASHCROFT
Attorney General
EDDIE J. JORDAN, JR.
United States Attorney
WILLIAM R. YEOMANS
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
ENEID A. FRANCIS
Civil Chief, Office of the U.S. Attorney
Hale Boggs Federal Bldg.
501 Magazine St. #210
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 680-3060
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
  JEANINE M. WORDEN
Deputy Chief
MICHAE L. BARRETT
Attorney
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
202-514-2447 - Telephone
202-514-1116 - Facsimile

Document Filed: April 16, 2001. > >

Updated August 6, 2015

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