Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents



CASE NO.02-61630-CIV-MARRA/SELTZER

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

      Plaintiff

and EDWARD W. DRESNER,

      Plaintiff-Intervenor

vs.

ENVOY APARTMENTS ASSOCIATION, INC.,

      Defendant.


CONSENT ORDER

Plaintiff, United States of America, initiated this action on November 19, 2002, on behalf of the complainant Edward W. Dresner, pursuant to Section 812 of the Fair Housing Act, as amended 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o). The complaint alleges that Defendant, Envoy Apartments Association, Inc., discriminated against Dresner by denying his application to purchase Unit 302 at Envoy Apartments and otherwise making the unit unavailable to him for purchase, and discriminated against him in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale of a dwelling, on the basis of Dresner's disability, in violation of Sections 804(f)(1)(A) and 804(f)(2)(A), respectively, of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(f)(1)(A) and 3604(f)(2)(A).

Thereafter, on May 9, 2003, Edward W. Dresner, through private counsel, filed a Motion to Intervene and Complaint, which was granted by this Court on May 29, 2003.

Edward W. Dresner is handicapped within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3602(h)(1).

The Envoy Apartments Association, Inc. is the governing body for Envoy Apartments, a 29-unit condominium building located at 455 Golden Isle Drive, Hallandale, Florida. All unit owners are members of the Association, which is run by an elected Board of Directors. The Board of Directors has authority to approve or disapprove a contract to purchase a unit.

INTRODUCTION

After conducting an investigation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that on or about January 8, 2002, Dresner offered to purchase Unit 302 at the Envoy Apartments. On or about January 21, 2002, Dresner and his agent met with several members of the Board of Directors for a presale screening. Dresner completed and submitted information on several different application forms provided by the Board. On the face of each document, Dresner disclosed that he is "Disabled." On January 24, 2002, the Board contracted with a different applicant screening company, Renters Reference of Florida, Inc., to conduct an investigation of Dresner's application. Subsequently, on February 20, 2002, the Board sent Dresner a "Notice of Non-Qualification" stating that he was not qualified for residency or ownership.

On February 22, 2002, Dresner filed a complaint with HUD alleging that he had been discriminated against on the basis of his disability. HUD conducted an investigation and on September 26, 2002, the Secretary of HUD issued a Determination of Reasonable Cause and Charge of Discrimination, charging Defendant with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Thereafter, the Association elected to have this matter determined in federal court, and the United States filed this action.

The Parties have agreed to the entry of this Consent Order to amicably resolve all claims of Dresner and the United States of America against the Defendant and to avoid further expenses and the uncertainties of litigation.

JURISDICTION, SCOPE AND TERM OF CONSENT ORDER
  1. The parties have consented to the entry of this Order. To this end, the Parties stipulate and the Court finds that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
    1. This Consent Order is effective immediately upon its entry by the Court.
    2. The Court shall retain jurisdiction over this action and over Defendant to ensure compliance with its terms for a period of three years after the entry of this Order.
    NON-ADMISSION OF LIABILITY
  2. By entering into this Consent Order, the Defendant Envoy Apartments Association, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as the "Defendant Association") does not admit to any violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et STYLE="text-decoration: underline">seq. This Consent Order shall not constitute evidence, or an admission, or an adjudication with respect to any allegation of the Complaint or any fact or conclusion of law with respect to any matter alleged in or arising out of the complaint or any alleged wrongdoings on the part of the Defendant.
    GENERAL INJUNCTION
  3. The Defendant Association, its Board of Directors, officers, agents, employees, successors and all persons in active concert or participation with them are enjoined, with respect to the ownership approval process for dwelling units at the Envoy Apartments, from:
    1. Discriminating in the sale, or otherwise making unavailable or denying, a dwelling to any buyer because of a handicap of that buyer, a person residing in or intending to reside in that dwelling after it is sold or made available, or any person associated with that buyer;
    2. Discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale of a dwelling because of a handicap of that person, a person residing in or intending to reside in that dwelling after it is sold or made available, or any person associated with that person.

    COMPENSATION

  4. Edward W. Dresner shall be paid $90,000.00, as more particularly prescribed below, in full satisfaction of all claims asserted in this case or otherwise arising out of his claim for housing discrimination against Defendant Envoy Apartment Association, Inc., including attorney's fees and costs.
  5. Within fifteen (15) days of the entry of this Consent Order, Defendant Envoy Apartment Association, Inc. shall pay an initial lump sum payment to Dresner in the amount of $80,000.00. Thereafter, Defendant Envoy Apartment Association, Inc. shall pay the $10,000.00 balance to Dresner in twelve (12) monthly installments as follows: Eleven (11) consecutive installments in the amount of $833.34, paid on a monthly basis beginning no later than 30 days from the date of entry of this Consent Order, and one (1) final installment, in the amount of $833.26, paid the next month thereafter.
  6. Upon receiving payment in full, Dresner shall provide Defendant Envoy Apartments Association, Inc. with a written release of all claims, legal or equitable, that he might have against Defendant relating to the claims asserted in this lawsuit.
    APPROVAL STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES FOR UNIT SALES
  7. To the extent that Defendant conducts background investigations of applicants, it shall do so in a uniform and non-discriminatory manner.

    EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF BOARD OF DIRECTORS

  8. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Consent Order, Defendant shall provide a copy of this Order to each member of the Board of Directors of Envoy Apartments Association, Inc., and secure a signed statement from each such person acknowledging that he or she has received and read the Consent Order, and had an opportunity to have questions about the Order answered. This statement shall be substantially in the form of Appendix A.
  9. During the term of this Consent Order, each new member of the Board of Directors of Envoy Apartments Association, Inc. shall be given a copy of this Order within thirty (30) days after the date he or she becomes a board member, and be required to sign the statement acknowledging that he or she has received and read the Order, and had an opportunity to have questions about the Order answered. This statement shall be substantially in the form of Appendix A.
  10. The members of the Board of Directors shall also ensure that they have a copy of, are familiar with, and personally review, the brochure entitled, "Fair Housing Equal Opportunity for All" or "Fair Housing: It's Your Right," published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, available at HUD offices and at http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/FHLaws/FairHousingJan2002.pdf or http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/FHLaws/yourrights.cfm.
  11. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Consent Order, the Defendant shall provide a copy of this Consent Order to all unit owners and members of the Association.

    RECORD KEEPING AND REPORTING

  12. Defendant agrees to retain all applications and screening records received or created by the Defendant, its Board of Directors, agents and/or employees.
  13. During the term of this Consent Order, Defendant shall advise the undersigned counsel for the United States in writing within thirty (30) days of the receipt of any administrative or other fair housing complaint filed against the Defendant, its Board of Directors, agents and/or employees. The notice shall include the full details of the complaint, including any action taken by Defendant, and the complainant's name, address, and telephone number, and shall be accompanied by all pertinent documents. The Defendant shall also advise counsel for the United States, in writing, within thirty (30) days of the resolution of any such complaint.
    ADMINISTRATION
  14. This Consent Order shall remain in effect for three years. The Court shall retain jurisdiction for the duration of this Consent Order to enforce the terms of this Order, after which time the case shall be dismissed with prejudice.
  15. The parties to this Consent Order shall endeavor in good faith to resolve informally any differences regarding interpretation of and compliance with this Order prior to bringing such matters to the Court for resolution. However, if after fifteen (15) days notice to the Defendant, the Defendant fails to perform any act required by this Consent Order or otherwise to act in violation of any provision thereof, the United States may move this Court to impose any remedy authorized by law or equity.

ORDERED this _____ day of _______________________, 2004.

______________________________________
KENNETH A. MARRA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

Copies furnished:

Veronica Harrell-James, AUSA
Lawrence Friedman, Esq.
Jessica Forbes, Esq.
Mark Perlman, Esq.

The terms of this Consent Order have been agreed to by the parties, as indicated by the signatures of counsel below, as well as by Edward Dresner, and the duly authorized representative of the Defendant, Envoy Apartments Association, Inc., and the parties request the entry of this Consent Order:

FOR THE UNITED STATES

MARCOS DANIEL JIMENEZ
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

By: ______________________________
Veronica Harrell-James
Assistant U.S. Attorney

99 N.E. 4th Street, 3rd Floor
Miami, Florida 33132
Fla. Bar No.: 644791
Tel. No.: (305) 961-9327
Fax No.: (305) 530-7139

FOR PLAINTIFF-INTERVENOR

EDWARD DRESNER:

By: _______________________________
Lawrence B. Friedman, Esq.
The Friedman Law Firm
Sanctuary Centre-Suite 102-E
4800 North Federal Highway
Boca Raton, Florida 33431
Fla. Bar No.: 026773
Tel. No.: (561) 394-8235
Fax No.: (561) 394-8316

________________________________________
Edward W. Dresner
Plaintiff-Intervenor

FOR DEFENDANT

ENVOY APARTMENTS ASSOCIATION, Inc
WAGENFELD LEVINE

By: ________________________________________
Jessica Forbes
9350 S. Dixie Highway, PH-II
Miami, Florida 33156
Fla. Bar No.: 0078689
Tel. No.: (305) 670-0030
Fax No.: (305) 670-9672

________________________________________
Mark Perlman, Esq.
1820 E. Hallandale Beach Boulevard
Hallandale Beach, Florida 33009
Fla. Bar No.: 256714
Tel. No.: (954) 456-1333
Fax No.: (954) 454-5081

APPENDIX A
BOARD MEMBER ACKNOWLEDGMENT

On _______________________, 200__, I was provided training by _______________________ with respect to my responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act in accordance with the Consent Order entered by the federal district court in United States v. Envoy Apartments Association, Inc., Case No. 02-61630-Civ-Marra. I have read the Consent Order and understand my legal responsibilities under the Order and I will comply with those responsibilities. I further understand that the Court may impose sanctions against me if I violate a provision of the Consent Order.

_________________________________
(Signature)

_________________________________
(Print Name)

_________________________________
(Date)


Document Entered: March 19, 2004 > >
Updated August 6, 2015

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