FOR THE DISTRICT OF IDAHO
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
HALLMARK HOMES, INC.,
ARCHITECTS WEST, P.A., and
KEVIN W. JESTER,
The United States of America alleges:
- This action is brought by the United States to enforce the provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act), as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619. It is brought on behalf of the Intermountain Fair Housing Council pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act ("the Act"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), as well as pursuant to Section 814(a) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
- This court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 28 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
- Venue is proper in that the claims alleged herein arose in the District of Idaho.
- The Creekside Meadows Apartments ("Creekside Meadows") are multifamily dwellings located in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, in the District of Idaho.
- Creekside Meadows were designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991. Each apartment at the Creekside Meadows is a dwelling within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
- Creekside Meadows consist of seven buildings located at 2200-2366 North 15th Street in Coeur d'Alene. Each building consists of four dwelling units, with two single story dwelling units and two multistory units. Therefore, there are a total of twenty-eight dwelling units, fourteen multistory units and fourteen ground floor units.
- Each of the fourteen ground units at Creekside Meadows is a "covered multifamily dwelling" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(7)(A) and is subject to the design and construction requirements set forth at 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).
- Defendant Kevin W. Jester resides in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
- Defendant Hallmark Homes has its principal place of business in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
- Defendant Architects West has its principal place of business in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
- Defendant Hallmark Homes was the contractor for Creekside Meadows and the project owner at the time the complex was designed and constructed.
- Defendant Architects West is an Idaho corporation and professional association. Architects West designed the dwelling units and common areas at Creekside Meadows.
- Defendant Kevin W. Jester is a Director of Defendant Architects West and the architect who designed the dwelling units at Creekside Meadows.
- Plaintiff re-alleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-13 above.
- The Intermountain Fair Housing Council, formerly known as the Idaho Fair Housing Council, is a non-profit organization that promotes fair housing throughout the State of Idaho.
- On or about March 24, 1999, the Intermountain Fair Housing Council filed a timely complaint with the United States 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), alleging that Defendants discriminated in housing because of handicap. In its complaint, the Intermountain Fair Housing Council alleged that its purpose of eliminating discrimination had been frustrated and its resources diverted from other activities because Creekside Meadows was not designed and constructed in accordance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
- The Intermountain Fair Housing Council diverted resources from its other activities to investigate whether Creekside Meadows was designed and constructed in violation of the Fair Housing Act and to pursue a complaint concerning Creekside Meadows with HUD.
- Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) & (b), the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development conducted and completed an investigation of the complaint filed by the Intermountain Fair Housing Council, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on information gathered in the investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause exists to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred . Accordingly, on June 25, 2001, 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 July 23, 2001, defendants elected to have the Charge resolved in a civil action filed in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
- On July 24, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election of Judicial Determination and terminated the administrative proceeding on the complaint filed by the IFHC.
- Following this Notice of Election, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
- The defendants have designed and constructed Creekside Meadows in such a manner that:
- the public use and common use portions are not readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities because of the following violations: (i) there are two to four steps on the route to the entrances of twelve of the fourteen covered units; (ii) exterior, primary entry doors to all ground floor units have round knob hardware; and (iii) there are no designated, accessible parking spaces in the visitor/unassigned parking area;
- doorways to the bedrooms and the master bathrooms within the fourteen covered units are not sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons with disabilities who use wheelchairs; and
- the fourteen covered units have the following deficiencies of adaptive design: (i) the entrance doorways are inaccessible in that there is a 3/4 inch, unbeveled threshold at the primary entrance door to each covered unit; (ii) the thermostats are mounted too high at 61 inches above the finished floor; (iii) the bathroom walls lack reinforcements to allow later installation of grab bars; and (iv) the bathrooms are not usable by persons with disabilities because the clear floor space at the lavatory in the hall bathroom is not centered at the centerline of the basin, and the lavatory is located in a vanity cabinet that is non-removable.
- The defendants, through the actions referred to in the preceding paragraph, have:
- Discriminated in the rental, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, dwellings to renters because of handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1);
- Discriminated against persons in the terms, conditions or privileges of rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection with a dwelling, because of handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(2); and
- Failed to design and construct dwellings in compliance with the accessibility and adaptability features mandated by 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).
- The Intermountain Fair Housing Council is an aggrieved person, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and has suffered damages as a result of the Defendants' conduct described above.
- The discriminatory actions of Defendants were intentional, willful and taken in disregard for the rights of the Intermountain Fair Housing Council and others.
- Plaintiff re-alleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-13, and 15-25, above.
- The conduct of the defendants described in paragraph 22 constitutes:
- A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619; and
- A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619, which denial raises an issue of general public importance.
- Persons who have been the victims of the defendants' discriminatory housing practices are aggrieved persons as defined by 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i) and may have suffered injuries as a result of the defendants' conduct described above.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the court enter an order that:
- Declares that the defendants' policies and practices, as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act;
- Enjoins the defendants, their officers, employees, agents, successors and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from:
- Failing or refusing to bring the fourteen ground-floor units and public use and common use areas at Creekside into compliance with 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C);
- Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, the victims of the defendants' unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct; and
- Designing or constructing covered multifamily dwellings in the future that do not contain the accessibility and adaptability features required by 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C);
- Awards such damages as would fully compensate each person aggrieved by the defendants' discriminatory housing practices, including the Intermountain Fair Housing Council, for injuries resulting from the defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3), 3613(c)(1),and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B);
- Awards punitive damages to each person aggrieved by the defendants' discriminatory housing practices, including the Intermountain Fair Housing Council, because of the intentional and willful nature of the defendants' conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3), 3613(c)(1), and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B);
- Assesses a civil penalty against each defendant in an amount authorized by 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C), in order to vindicate the public interest.
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
|JOHN ASHCROFT |
THOMAS E. MOSS
Interm United States Attorney
RALPH F. BOYD, JR
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
NICHOLAS J. WOYCHICK
Assistant United States Attorney
First Interstate Center
877 W. Main Street
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
TIMOTHY J. MORAN
RIGEL C. OLIVERI
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
Document Filed: August 22, 2001. > >