In the United States District Court
for the Northern District of Illinois
United States of America,
The United States of America alleges:
1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce 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.
2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
3. River's Edge Condominiums is a five-building complex of privately owneddwellings located, respectively, at 5225, 5255, 5320, 5340 North Lowell Avenue, in Chicago, Illinois, in the Northern District of Illinois. There are approximately 260 dwelling units and each of the five buildings has an elevator. The five buildings were designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991.
4. The five buildings comprising the apartment complex identified in paragraph three above are "dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
5. All of the 260 or more units at the complex are "covered multi-family dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(7)(B), and are therefore subject to the accessibility requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).
6. Defendant Andrian-Ziminides Architects, Ltd., an architectural firm that is licensed to do business in the state of Illinois and whose principal place of business is Chicago, Illinois in the Northern District of Illinois, designed River's Edge Condominiums in Chicago.
7. Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago (Access Living) is a nonprofit Illinois corporation that serves and advocates on behalf of persons with disabilities throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.
8. On or about December 20, 1996, representatives of Access Living visited and measured common areas and representative units at River's Edge Condominiums.
9. On or about January 15, 1997, Access Living 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, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging discrimination in housing on the basis of handicap. In their complaint, Access Living alleged that River's Edge Condominiums was not designed and constructed in accordance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
10. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a), (b) & (f), the Secretary of HUD conducted and completed an investigation of the complaint filed by Access Living, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on information gathered during 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 or about September 28, 2004, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging the defendant with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
11. On or about October 7, 2004, defendant Andrian-Ziminides Architects, Ltd. elected to have the Charge of Discrimination resolved in a civil action filed in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
12. On or about October 7, 2004, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election of Judicial Determination and terminated the administrative proceeding on the complaint filed by Access Living.
13. 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).
14. The defendant has failed to design River's Edge Condominiums so that:
(a) the public use and common use portions are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities;
(b) all doors within the 260 units are sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons with disabilities who use wheelchairs; and
(c) the 260 units contain the following features of adaptive design: (i) an accessible route into and through the dwelling; (ii) reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and (iii) usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual using a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.
15. The defendant, through the actions referred to in the preceding paragraph, has failed to design dwellings in compliance with the accessibility and adaptability features mandated by 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).
16. Access Living is an aggrieved person, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and has suffered damages as a result of the defendant's conduct described above.
17. The discriminatory actions of the defendant were intentional, willful and taken in disregard for the rights of Access Living and others.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an ORDER that:
1. Declares that the policies and practices of defendant alleged herein violate the Fair Housing Act;
2. Enjoins the defendant, its officers, employees, agents, successors and all other persons in active concert or participation with it from:
(a) failing or refusing to bring the dwelling units at River's Edge Condominium into compliance with 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C);
(b) 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
(c) designing covered multi-family 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 damages, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o)(3), to each person aggrieved by the discriminatory housing practices of defendant.
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
| ALBERTO R. GONZALES|
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Document Filed: April 14, 2005 > >