Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
FORT SMITH DIVISION

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

OAK MANOR APARTMENTS,
BIG D ENTERPRISES, INC.,
DR. EDWIN G. DOOLEY, AND
CAROL RAGAN,
     Defendants.

__________________________________

COMPLAINT

The United States of America alleges:

  1. 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, et seq. It is brought on behalf of Cynthia L. Parks 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).
  2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o) and 3614(a).
  3. Defendant Oak Manor Apartments is located at 201 North 39th Street, Fort Smith, Arkansas.
  4. Defendant Big D Enterprises, Inc., manages Oak Manor apartments.
  5. Defendant Dr. Edwin G. Dooley is a resident of the Western District of Arkansas. Defendant Dr. Edwin G. Dooley is the President of Big D Enterprises, Inc. and is the owner of Oak Manor Apartments.
  6. Defendant Carol Ragan is the former resident manager of the apartments located at 201 North 39th Street, Fort Smith, Arkansas, known as the Oak Manor Apartments.
  7. The apartment units located in the Oak Manor Apartment complex, located at 201 North 39th Street, Fort Smith, Arkansas, are dwellings within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
COUNT I
  1. Plaintiff realleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-7 above.
  2. Cynthia L. Parks is a white female who is separated from her husband, who is African American. Cynthia L. Parks is the custodial parent of two minor children, one of whom is biracial (Black/White).
  3. On or about November 1, 1994, Ms. Parks filed a timely complaint alleging discrimination in housing on the basis of race with the United States Department of Housing and Urban ("HUD") pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a). In her complaint, Ms. Parks alleged, inter alia, that on or about October 20, 1994, the defendants engaged in unlawful discrimination on the basis of race or color by refusing to rent her an apartment unit in the Oak Manor Apartments.
  4. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) conducted and completed an investigation of Cynthia L. Parks' complaint, 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 January 23, 1997, 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.
  5. On or about February 14, 1997, Defendants Oak Manor Apartments, Big D Enterprises, Inc., and Dr. Edwin G. Dooley 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).
  6. Following this election, the Secretary of HUD authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
  7. On or about October 19, 1994, Cynthia L. Parks submitted an application to rent an apartment unit at the Oak Manor Apartments for her and her two minor children. On or about October 20, 1994, defendants refused to rent the unit to Ms. Parks because of the race of Ms. Parks' biracial child.

    Defendants further made statements indicating that they had refused to rent the unit to Ms. Parks because of the race of Ms. Parks' biracial child.

  8. Defendants, through the actions referred to in paragraph 14 above, have:
    1. refused to rent or negotiate for, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, a dwelling to a person because of race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
    2. discriminated against a person 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 race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b); and
    3. made, printed, or published, or caused to be made, printed, or published statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race or color, or an intention to make such preference, limitation, or discrimination, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c);
  9. Cynthia Parks 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.
  10. The discriminatory actions of the defendants described above were intentional, willful and taken in disregard of the rights of Cynthia Parks and her minor children.
COUNT II
  1. Plaintiff realleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-7 and 14.
  2. Defendants and/or their agents have made statements in addition to those alleged in paragraph 14 above indicating a preference not to rent apartment units at Oak Manor Apartments and at another complex owned by defendant Dooley and managed by defendant Big D Enterprises, to persons who are African American. Defendants have also refused to rent apartment units to persons who are African American and have made apartment units available to white persons on terms more favorable than those on which they have made such units available to African American persons.
  3. By the conduct set forth in paragraphs 14 and 19 above, defendants have discriminated against persons on the basis of race in the rental of dwellings in violation of Sections 804(a),(b) and (c) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a)-(c).
  4. The conduct of defendants described in paragraphs 14 and 19 constitutes:
    1. A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights secured by Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.; or
    2. A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq., which denial raises an issue of general public importance.
  5. In addition to Cynthia L. Parks, there are other victims of the defendants' discriminatory actions and practices who are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i). These victims have suffered actual injury and damages as a result of the defendants' actions and practices.
  6. The discriminatory actions of defendants have been intentional, willful and taken in disregard for the rights of the victims of this discrimination.

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

  1. Declares that the discriminatory housing practices of defendants as set forth above violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.;
  2. Enjoins the defendants, their agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them from:
    1. Discriminating on account of race against any person in any aspect of the lease or rental of a dwelling; and
    2. Failing or refusing to notify the public that all dwellings made available for rental by defendants are available to persons on an equal opportunity basis.
  3. Awards such actual damages as would fully compensate Ms. Parks for the injuries occasioned by defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o)(3) and 42 U.S.C. § 3613(c)(1);
  4. Awards punitive damages to Ms. Parks, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o)(3) and 42 U.S.C. § 3613(c)(1);
  5. Awards such actual damages as would fully compensate each other identifiable person aggrieved by defendants' discriminatory housing practices for the injury suffered as a result of these discriminatory practices, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B);
  6. Awards punitive damages to each other identifiable person aggrieved by defendants' discriminatory housing practices, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B); and
  7. Assesses a civil penalty against defendants in order to vindicate the public interest, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.§ 3614(d)(1)(C).

The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.

JANET RENO
Attorney General

ISABELLE KATZ PINZLER
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

PAUL F. HANCOCK
Chief
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section

P. K. HOLMES, III
United States Attorney

DEBORAH J. GROOM
Assistant United States Attorney
Bar # 80054
P. O. Box 1524
Fort Smith, AR 72902
(501) 783-5125

BARBARA KAMMERMAN
SETH ROSENTHAL
Attorneys
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
(202) 514-4713 > >

Updated August 6, 2015

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