FOR EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Case No: 4-01-CV-00785 (GH)
The United States of America alleges:
- This action is brought by the United States on behalf of Constance Schroeder and Robert Jason Schroeder pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§3601 et seq.
- This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1345 and 42 U.S.C. §3612(o)
- Venue is proper in the judicial district of the Eastern District of Arkansas under 28 U.S.C. §1391(b) and 42 U.S.C. §3612(o), in that the events or omissions giving rise to this action occurred in this district.
- Defendant Earcle Ibbotson is the owner of a rental trailer home located at 819½ Tabor Avenue, Sherwood, Arksansas.
- The subject property is a "dwelling" within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act. 42 U.S.C. §3602(b).
- In August 2000, Constance Schroeder filed a timely complaint, subsequently amended, with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3610(a) alleging, inter alia, that the Defendant had discriminated against her by making statements indicating a preference, limitation or discrimination based on race or color, in violation of Section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3604(c).
- Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD conducted an investigation of the complaint, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based upon the information gathered in this investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause existed to believe that illegal discriminatory housing practices had occurred. Therefore, on October 25, 2001, HUD issued a Determination of Reasonable Cause, and on October 25, 2001, HUD issued a Charge of Discrimination, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3610(g)(2)(A), charging Defendant with engaging in discriminatory practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
- On or about October 26, 2001 Defendant Earcle Ibbotson elected to have the Charge resolved in a civil action in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a) and (o).
- Following this election, the Secretary of HUD authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3612(o).
- Constance Schroeder and her son, Robert Jason Schroeder, both of whom are white, had rented the subject property located at 819 ½ Tabor Avenue from Defendant from June 1999 until approximately August 2000.
- Beginning in or about May 2000, the Defendant began to question Ms. Schroeder and her son about the presence of James Rogers in the trailer home.
- James Rogers, who is African American, was Jason Schroeder's caseworker from United Cerebral Palsy.
- On various occasions in or about May and June 2000, Defendant told both Constance Schroeder and Robert Jason Schroeder that he did not want African American individuals on his property. Defendant repeatedly used the word "nigger" when referring James Rogers and African Americans in general.
- In or around June 2000 Defendant informed the Schroeders that they would have to move if they continued to have African American visitors on his property.
- On or about June 19, 2000, Defendant served the Schroeders with a handwritten notice stating, inter alia, "I just don't w[a]nt a black person in the house with the doors closed . . . ."
- As a result of Defendant's actions described above, the Schroeders moved out of Defendant's property in or around August 2000.
- By these actions, Defendant has:
- Made statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race or color in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(c); and
- Coerced, intimidated, threatened, or interfered with persons in the exercise or enjoyment of any right granted or protected by Section 803, 804, 805, or 806 of the Fair Housing Act, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3617.
- Constance Schroeder and Robert Jason Schroeder are aggrieved persons as defined in the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3602(i).
- Constance Schroeder and Robert Jason Schroeder have suffered damages as a result of the Defendant's conduct as described herein.
- Defendants' conduct and actions described herein were intentional, willful, and/or taken in disregard of the rights of Constance Schroeder and Robert Jason Schroeder.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an Order that:
- Declares that the actions of the Defendant as set forth above violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3601 et seq., specifically 42 U.S.C. §§3604(c) and 3617;
- Declares that the actions of the Defendant were intentional, willful, and/or taken in disregard for the rights of others;
- Enjoins the Defendant, any agents, employees, and successors he may have, and all other persons in active concert or participation with him, from
- Making any statement with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicates a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race or color in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(c);
- Coercing, intimidating, threatening or interfering with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of any right granted or protected by Section 803, 804, 805, or 806 of the Fair Housing Act, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3617;
- Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, the individuals aggrieved by Defendant's unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct; and
- Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to prevent the recurrence of any discriminatory conduct in the future and to eliminate, to the extent practicable, the effects of the Defendant's unlawful housing practices.
- Awards Constance Schroeder and Robert Jason Schroeder such damages as would fully compensate them for the injuries caused by the defendant's discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3612(o)(3); and
- Awards punitive damages to Constance Schroeder and Robert Jason Schroeder pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3612(o)(3).
|JOHN ASHCROFT |
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
MICHAEL D. JOHNSON
RALPH F. BOYD, JR.
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
RICHARD M. PENCE, JR.
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Office of the U.S. Attorney
425 West Capitol
Little Rock, Arkansas 77201
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
JEANINE M. WORDEN
ELISE S. SHORE
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
10th & Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Tel: (202) 514-4701
Document Filed: November 19, 2001. > >