NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Civil Action No. 00C 2295
THE BIGELOW GROUP, INC
The United States of America alleges:
- This action is brought by the United States to enforce the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (Fair Housing Act), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619.
- This court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
- Summer Wind is a residential dwelling complex located at 1302 Oak Street, North Aurora, Illinois. Summer Wind is comprised of 286 townhomes. All of the units at Summer Wind were designed and constructed after March 13, 1991.
- Defendant Bigelow Group, Inc. (Bigelow) is an Illinois corporation whose principal place of business is located in the Northern District of Illinois. Defendant Bigelow is responsible for the design, development, construction, and sale of residential dwellings at Summer Wind.
- The 286 townhomes are "dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b). There are five ranch style townhome models. Two of the five models, the "Forsyth" and the "Astoria," are "covered multi-family dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(7)(A). The two "covered" ranch style townhomes are scattered amongst the "non-covered" units in clusters of five or more units throughout the complex.
- The "Forsyth" and "Astoria" models are subject to the accessibility requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).
- Defendants have violated 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C) by failing to design and construct these dwellings in such a manner that: (a) the public use and common use portions of such dwellings are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; (b) all doors are sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons who use wheelchairs; and (c) all premises within such dwellings contain: (i) an accessible route into and through the dwelling; and (ii) reinforcements in the bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; (d) the light switches, electrical outlets, and environmental controls are at an accessible height.
- Defendants, through actions referred to in paragraph 7, above, have:
- Discriminated in the sale, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, dwellings to buyers because of handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1); 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 conduct of defendants described above 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 may have been the victims of defendants' discriminatory housing practices are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i) and may have suffered injuries as a result of defendants' conduct described above.
- Defendants' conduct described above was intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of others.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the court enter an order that:
- Declares that defendants' policies and practices, as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act;
- Enjoins 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 dwelling units and public use and common use areas at Summer Wind 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 defendants' unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct; and
- Designing or constructing any covered multi-family dwellings in the future that do not contain the accessibility and adaptability features set forth in 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C);
- Awards such damages as would fully compensate each per-son aggrieved by defendants' discriminatory housing practices for their injuries resulting from defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B);
- Assesses a civil penalty against each defendant as 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.
Bill Lann Lee
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
Joan A. Magagna
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Brian F. Heffernan
Sunny E. Pietrafesa, Attorney
United States Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
Scott R. Lassar
United States Attorney
Joan C. Laser
Assistant United States Attorney
219 S. Dearborn Street
Chicago, Illinois 60604
312-353-1857 > >