Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

NO. CS-97-0452-JLQ

WESTERN WILLIAMS, et al.,
     Defendants.

____________________________


SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT INTRODUCTION

The United States initiated this action on November 14, 1997, pursuant to 10 Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619, as amended, (hereinafter "the Fair Housing Act"), which prohibits discrimination in housing on, among other bases, national origin. The parties have agreed that jurisdiction is conferred under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3614.

The Defendants Western and Colleen Williams own the Park Arms Apartments ("Park Arms"), a 22 unit residential apartment building located in Spokane, Washington, a majority of apartments which were rented to tenants of Russian national origin when the Defendants took over ownership and operation of the property in 1996. Western and Colleen Williams also own and operate Western Property Management, which manages the rental business of the Park Arms. Defendants Tracy Clark and Douglas Johnson are or were employees of Western and Colleen Williams in the business of Western Property Management. The United States' complaint alleges that the Defendants violated the Fair Housing Act by engaging in a series of actions which constitute a pattern or practice of discrimination, and which deny a group of persons rights secured by the Act that raises issues of general public importance, on the basis of national origin. The United States was seeking both compensatory and punitive damages for those Park Arms tenants of Russian national origin who it claims were aggrieved by the discrimination. The United States was also seeking appropriate injunctive relief to ensure that Park Arms is operated in a non-discriminatory manner in the future, and an appropriate civil penalty to Vindicate the public interest. All relief sought by the United States is authorized under the Fair Housing Act.

The Court has granted the Motion to Intervene as Plaintiffs of certain individuals of Russian national origin who were tenants at the Park Arms Apartments at the time of the allegedly unlawful acts of discrimination. The Plaintiff/Intervenors are Anatolly and Svetlaria Nosov, Vladimir Perederiy and Anna Perederiy-Kaniisheva, Yuri and Tatiana Litoshick, Yevgeniy and Valentia Senchenko, Victor Kharchenko and Valentmi and Ludmilla Kovalenko. The Plaintiff-Intervenors complaint alleges that Defendants discriminated against them on the basis of their national origin in violation of the Fair Housing Act. As authorized by the Act, the Plaintiff-Intervenors also sought compensatory and punitive damages suffered as a result of this discrimination.

More specifically, the United States and the Plaintiff-Intervenors allege that Defendants violated subsections 3604(a), (b) and (c) of the Act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of, among other things, national origin.

Defendants expressly deny that any of their acts, policies, patterns or practices are in violation of the Fair Housing Act or any law, ordinance, regulation or order which either mandates fair housing policies and practices or proscribes policies or practices which discriminate against persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status or handicap. By entering into this Settlement Agreement, Defendants do not admit to any allegation of wrongdoing. Defendants further deny they have liability under any laws, ordinances, regulations or orders, relating to this proceeding.

The parties desire to avoid costly and protracted litigation and agree that this dispute should be resolved without the necessity of a trial. Therefore, the parties have agreed to the terms of the Settlement Agreement and its entry by the Court as indicated by the signatures appearing below.

Therefore, it is hereby ORDERED that this matter has been voluntarily resolved through the following terms:

INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
  1. Prohibitions against Discrimination
    1. Defendants, their agents, employees, successors, and all persons in active concert or participation with any of them are permanently enjoined, with respect to the rental of dwellings (1) in Spokane County, from engaging in any housing practices prohibited by 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a),(b),(c) or § 3617.
  2. Mandatory Education and Training
    1. The Defendants shall conduct and complete the following described educational program for all staff and employees of Western Property Management working in Spokane County to inform them of the provisions of this Agreement and the requirements of federal fair housing law. Such program shall include:
      1. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Agreement, furnishing to each employee, staff member and agent with participation in or responsibility for the rental of dwellings in Spokane County a copy of this Settlement Agreement and a copy of the pamphlet, "Fair Housing: It's Your Right", and securing the signature from each employee, staff member and agent acknowledging that each has received, read and understand his/her responsibilities under this Agreement and that he or she agrees to comply with the Agreement, on the form set forth in Attachment A, hereto.
      2. Within one hundred eighty (180) days after the date of entry of this Agreement, the Defendants shall provide for and attend a program of educational training concerning their responsibilities under federal, state, and local fair housing laws, regulations, or ordinances and require all employees and staff working in Spokane County to attend such program. The program shall be conducted by an organization or individual with expertise in the area of fair housing. The Defendants must inform the United States of the anticipated use of any organization for this training and shall provide a copy of the credentials for the proposed organization or individual, at least thirty (30) days prior to such training or educational program. Participating in general fair housing training conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development shall satisfy the training provision in this Agreement. The United States shall inform the Defendants within fifteen (15) business days of receipt of this information of any objection it may have to the proposed training or educational program. Any disputes concerning this matter shall be presented to the Court for resolution after a good faith effort by the parties to come to agreement. Any expenses associated with this program shall be borne by the Defendants. All persons attending such a program shall have their attendance certified in writing by the person conducting the educational program.
      3. For the duration of this Agreement, each new employee, staff member or other agent of the Defendants with participation in or responsibility for the rental of dwellings in Spokane County, shall be given copies of and required to read this Agreement and the pamphlet "Fair Housing: It's Your Right", and sign the statement of acknowledgment appearing at Attachment A, within ten (10) days after the date he or she commences an employment or agency relationship with any Defendant.
  3. Publication of Nondiscriminatory Policies
    1. Within ten (10) days after the date of entry of this Agreement, the Defendants shall take the following steps to notify the public of their nondiscriminatory policies:
      1. Post and pronuinently display a poster that comports with 24 C.F.R. Part 110, in the Spokane County business offices of the Defendants and in any Spokane County office where there is rental activity and/or personal contact with applicants for dwellings at a Spokane County property owned or managed by Western Property Management, including the offices of resident managers.
      2. Include the words "Equal Housig Opportunity" or the fair housing logo in all advertising for dwell migs that Defendants place in newspapers, telephone directories, radio, television, or other media, and on all billboards, signs, pamphlets, brochures, and other promotional literature utilized in Spokane County. The words or logo should be prominently placed and easily legible.
      3. Include the following phrase in the standard rental application and lease used for Western Property Management in Spokane County:

        We are an equal housing opportunity provider. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, handicap or familial status (having children under age 18).

      4. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Agreement, and again one year thereafter, provide written notification to each of the organizations listed in Attachment B, hereto, of the addresses and business telephone number for properties in which the Defendants rent apartments in Spokane County and that the Defendants' policy is to rent apartments subject to uniform, nondiscriminatory standards to all qualified persons without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, handicap, or familial status.
  4. Complaint Process
    1. Defendants have designated Western Williams and/or Joanne Bledsoe of Western Property Management to be responsible for receiving complaints, both oral and written, concerning possible violations of fair housing laws by the Defendants' employees and agents. The Defendants shall inform the United States of any change in designation within thirty (30) days of such change.
    2. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Agreement, the Defendants shall provide written notice to all current tenants in Spokane County of the Defendants' name, address and phone number of the employee or agent of the Defendants designated to receive complaints concerning possible violations of the fair housing law and of the address and telephone number of the regional office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development where complaints of housing discrimination may be filed;
    3. Include the name, address and telephone number of Western Williams and/or Joanne Bledsoe in the standard rental application and lease used by the Defendants in Spokane County stating that they are designated to receive complaints concerning the rental of dwellings, including fair housing complaints; and
    4. Western Williams and/or Joanne Bledsoe shall maintain a record of any complaints of possible violations of fair housing law in Spokane County received for the duration of this Agreement. The record for each complaint shall include: 1) the date of the complaint; 2) the name, address and phone number of the complainant; 3) the name and address of the property owned or managed by the Defendants and any resident manager identified in the complaint; and 4) the resolution of such complaint by the Defendants.
  5. Record Keeping and Reporting
    1. Every six (6) months, starting six months after the date of entry of this Agreement, for the duration of this Agreement, the Defendants shall deliver a report covering the preceding six months period within ten days after the close of the reporting period to counsel for the United States (2) containing the following information:
      1. Copies of all signed statements secured during the reporting period pursuant to Section B(l) of this Agreement;
      2. Copies of all records of complaints maintained pursuant to Section D(l)-(4) of this Agreement;
      3. A list of the names and addresses of all tenants of Russian national origin who reside in any dwellffig owned or managed by the Defendants in Spokane County, Washington. The Defendants shall identify such tenants through a good faith effort by the name and/or primary language of the tenants occupying their dwellings. Defendants are not required to ask tenants to identify their national origin. The Defendants shall also indicate the names, known addresses and phone numbers of any tenants of Russian national origin who have vacated a dwelling owned or managed by the Defendants in Spokane County within the reporting period and provide a copy of any documents related to the end of the leasehold, including notices to vacate, notices of termination of tenancy, check-out lists and return of security deposit correspondence.
      4. Copies of all lease applications submitted by individuals of Russian national origin for the rental of any dwelling owned or managed by the Defendants in Spokane County, Washington. Defendants shall identify these individuals as set forth in the preceding paragraph. Defendants are not required to ask prospective tenants to identify their national origin. Defendants shall also provide information concerning whether the applications of these individuals were accepted or denied and, if accepted, the addresses of the dwelling rented to the individual.
      5. During the term of this Agreement, the Defendants also shall preserve any other records which are the source of, contain, or relate to any of the information pertinent to their obligations under this Agreement, including all rental/sales applications and leases for dwellings owned or operated in Spokane County by the Defendants. Upon reasonable notice to counsel for Defendants, which shall not be less than fifteen (15) business days, representatives of the United States shall be permitted to inspect and copy all such records of the Defendants pertaining to this Agreement.
MONETARY RELIEF AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY
  1. Defendants shall pay a total of eighty-two thousand dollars ($82,000.00) as monetary compensation to the Plaintiff/Intervenors and other allegedly aggrieved persons. Within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the original executed releases of liability, a copy of which is set forth in Attachment C hereto, from counsel for the Plaintiff/Intervenors, Defendants shall issue a check to counsel for the Plaintiff/Intervenors for seventy-three thousand dollars ($73,000.00). Within ten (10) business days of receipt of the original executed releases, as set forth in Attachment C, from Vitally and Anna Gamayunov and Lyubov Bocheva, who the United States has identified as allegedly aggrieved persons, Defendants shall issue a check for three thousand dollars ($3,000.00) to each of these three individuals. These checks can be mailed to the United States Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Washington, c/o Pamela J. DeRusha, Assistant United States Attorney, Post Office Box 1494, Spokane, Washington 99210.
  2. In consideration of the injunctive and monetary relief set forth herein, the Plaintiff/Intervenors shall execute a release, as set forth at Attachment C, within fifteen (15) business days of the Court's entry of this Agreement, which shall then be forwarded to the Defendants. Also within fifteen (15) business days, the United States shall request the three allegedly aggrieved persons identified above to execute a release as set forth as Attachment C and return it to the United States. The United States shall forward such releases to the Defendants upon receipt.
CONTINUING JURISDICTION AND TERM

This Court shall retain jurisdiction over this action for two (2) years from the date of the Court's entry of this Agreement for the purpose of adjudicating any dispute regarding the implementation of this Agreement. This action is dismissed with prejudice pursuant to this Agreement except that the Court may reopen this matter for enforcement purposes during this two (2) year term.

The parties to this Agreement shall try in good faith to resolve informally any disputes arising under this Agreement prior to filmig a motion for resolution with the Court.


IT IS SO ORDERED on this __[18th]__ day of __[June]__, 1999


JUSTIN L. QUACKENBUSH
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

The undersigned hereby agree to the entry of this Agreement by the Court:


For Plaintiff United States: For Defendants Western and Colleen Williams, Western Property Management, Tracy Clark and Douglas Johnson:

BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistant Attorney General
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief
JOSEPH D. RICH
Deputy Chief
MAUREEN T. DULEN
KATHLEEN M. PENNINGTON
Trial Attorneys
United States Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division

Michael M. Parker
Powell & Morris

JAMES P. CONNELLY
United States Attorney

For Defendants Western and Colleen Williams, Western Property Management and Trace Clark:

PAMELA J. DERUSHA
Assistant United States Attorney

ERNEST D. GRECO
Huppin, Ewing, Anderson & Paul

For Plaintiff/Intervenors:

For Defendant Douglas Johnson:

JEFFERY K. FINER
Finer & Pugsley, P.S.

RICHARD FELTMAN
Feltman, Gebhart, Eymann & Jones

1. For the purposes of this Agreement, "dwelling" shall have the same meaning as it does in the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

2. All documents or other communications required by this Agreement to be sent to counsel for the United States shall be addressed as follows: Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice, P.O. Box 65998, Washington, D.C. 20035-5998. Attn: DJ No. 175-81-15.


Document Signed: June 18, 1999. > >

Updated August 6, 2015

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