Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

           Plaintiff,

v.

Civil Action No. 04-1455

WEST CREEK, L.L.C.; QUEENSBURY
VILLAGE, INC.; LINDER & COMPANY, INC.;
BETHANY BAY HOME OWNERS
ASSOCIATION, INC.; PETTINARO
CONSTRUCTION CO., INC.;
ARCHITECTURE PLUS, P.A.; LANDMARK
ENGINEERING, INC.; HILLCREST
ASSOCIATES, INC; HOWARD L.
ROBERTSON, INC.; LAND TECH, L.L.C.;

           Defendants.

__________________________________________

COMPLAINT

The United States of America alleges:

1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce the Fair Housing Act, as amended ("FHA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619.

Jurisdiction and Venue

2. This court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345, and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).

3. Venue is proper because most defendants reside, and a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claims alleged in this action arose, in the District of Delaware.

The Properties

4. The Rockwood Apartments is located at 100 Cindy Drive, Newark, Delaware 19702.

5. The West Creek Village Apartments is located at 100 West Creek Village Drive, Elkton, Maryland 21921.

6. The Bethany Bay Resort Community is a condominium community located in Sussex County near Bethany Beach, Delaware.

Defendants

7. Defendant West Creek, L.L.C. is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business at 234 N. James Street, Newport, Delaware 19804. Defendant West Creek, L.L.C. is the real estate development company that owns West Creek Village Apartments, which is still under construction, and that owned it during the time of its design, and in that capacity is responsible for the design and/or construction of West Creek Village Apartments.

8. Defendant Queensbury Village, Inc. is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business at 234 N. James Street, Newport, Delaware 19804. Defendant Queensbury Village, Inc. is the real estate development company that owns Rockwood Apartments, which is still under construction, and that owned it during the time of its design, and in that capacity is responsible for the design and/or construction of Rockwood Apartments.

9. Defendant Linder & Company, Inc. is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business at 234 N. James Street, Newport, Delaware 19804. Defendant Linder & Company, Inc. is the real estate development company that owned Bethany Bay Resort Community during the time of its design and/or construction and in that capacity is responsible for the design and/or construction of Bethany Bay Resort Community. It continues to have an ownership interest in that property.

10. Defendant Pettinaro Construction Company, Inc., is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business at 234 N. James Street, Newport, Delaware 19804. Defendant Pettinaro Construction Company, Inc. is the general contractor for the Rockwood Apartments, West Creek Village Apartments, and Bethany Bay Resort Community and in that capacity is responsible for the design and/or construction of these three properties.

11. Defendant Architecture Plus, P.A. has its principal place of business at 234 N. James Street, Newport, Delaware 19804. Defendant Architecture Plus, P.A. is the architectural firm for the Rockwood Apartments, West Creek Village Apartments, and Bethany Bay Resort Community and in that capacity is responsible for the design and/or construction of these three properties.

12. Defendant Landmark Engineering, Inc. is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business at 100 West Commons Boulevard, Suite 301, New Castle, Delaware, 19720. Defendant Landmark Engineering, Inc. is the civil engineering firm for the Rockwood Apartments and in that capacity is responsible for the design and/or construction of Rockwood Apartments.

13. Defendant Howard L. Robertson, Inc. is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business at 801 Brandywine Boulevard, Wilmington, Delaware, 19809. Defendant Howard L. Robertson, Inc. performed civil engineering work at West Creek Village Apartments and Bethany Bay Resort Community and in that capacity is responsible for the design and/or construction of West Creek Village Apartments and Bethany Bay Resort Community.

14. Defendant Hillcrest Associates, Inc. is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business at Flint Hill Road, Landenberg, Pennsylvania 19350. Defendant Hillcrest Associates, Inc. is the civil engineering firm for West Creek Village Apartments and in that capacity is responsible for the design and/or construction of West Creek Village Apartments.

15. Defendant Land Tech, L.L.C. is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business at 118 Atlantic Avenue, Ocean View, Delaware 19970. Defendant Land Tech, L.L.C. is the civil engineering firm for Bethany Bay Resort Community and in that capacity is responsible for the design and/or construction of Bethany Bay Resort Community.

16. Defendant Bethany Bay Home Owners Association, Inc. represents the home owners at Bethany Bay Resort Community, including those who own ground-floor condominiums. It is a corporation and has its principal place of business in Delaware. The Bethany Bay Home Owners Association, Inc. has been included as a Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(a) defendant in this action solely because it is a necessary party for relief.

Violations of the Fair Housing Act, as amended

17. The allegations of Paragraphs 1 through 16 are hereby incorporated by reference.

18. The apartment complexes described in paragraphs 4 and 5, and the condominium community described in paragraph 6, were designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991.

19. The apartment complexes described in paragraphs 4 and 5, and the condominium community described in paragraph 6, are "dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

They contain ground-floor units that are "covered multifamily dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(7)(A). These ground-floor units are subject to the accessibility requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

20. Defendants have violated 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C) by failing to design and/or construct one or more covered multi-family dwellings, including those described in paragraphs 4, 5, and 6, so that, inter alia,:

  1. the public use and common use portions are readily accessible to and usable

    by individuals with disabilities;

  2. all doors within the ground floor units are sufficiently wide to allow passage

    by persons with disabilities who use wheelchairs;

  3. the ground floor units contain the following features of adaptive design:

(i) an accessible route into and through the dwelling; (ii) electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations; (iii) reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and (iv) usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual using a wheelchair can maneuver about the space;

21. The defendants, through the actions referred to in the preceding paragraph, have:

  1. Discriminated in the rental of, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, dwellings to renters because of handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1);
  2. 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).

22. Defendants' conduct 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.

23. Defendants' conduct constitutes 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.

24. Defendants' conduct described above has harmed other persons, including individuals with disabilities and persons associated with them, who are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 2602(i).

25. The defendants' conduct described above was intentional, willful, and/or taken in disregard for the rights of others.

Prayer for Relief

WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an order that:

1. Declares that Defendants' policies, practices, and conduct, as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act;

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

  1. Failing or refusing to bring the ground floor units and public use and common use areas at the apartment complexes described in paragraphs 4 and 5 into compliance with 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C);
  2. Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, persons harmed by Defendants' unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct;
  3. 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);

3. Awards appropriate monetary relief to each person harmed by Defendants' discriminatory policies, practices, or conduct pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B); and

4. 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
Attorney General


_________________________
COLM F. CONNOLLY
United States Attorney
For the District of Delaware ______________________________
Patricia C. Hannigan
Assistant United States Attorney
Delaware Bar I.D. No. 2145
1007 Orange Street, Suite 700
P. O. Box 2046
Wilmington, DE 19899-2046
(302) 573-6277
R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA
General
Civil Rights Division
_____________________________
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief, Housing and Civil
Enforcement Section ______________________________
NICOLE PORTER
Deputy Chief ____________________________________
Susan Buckingham Reilly
Trial Attorney
Civil Rights Division
Housing & Civil Enforcement Section-G St.
950 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20035
(202) 307-2230

___________________
Date


Document Filed: November 18, 2004 > >
Updated August 6, 2015

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