Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK



UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

           Plaintiff,

v.

BRUCE TANSKI; BRUCE TANSKI
CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT
COMPANY, L.L.C.; CLIFTON
COURT APARTMENTS L.L.C.;
MOUNTAIN LEDGE, L.P.;
MOUNTAIN LEDGE
DEVELOPMENT CORP.;
MOUNTAIN LEDGE, L.L.C.;
MICHAEL DENNIS;
HOWARD F. JACOBSON;
YATES SCOTT LANSING,

           Defendants.

Civil Action No. 04-CV-714

NAM/RFT
___________________________________


SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT



The United States of America alleges:

1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce 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. It is brought on behalf of Gloria Lynn Minet pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), and pursuant to Section 814(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).

2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o) and 3614(a).

3. Venue is proper because the claims alleged herein arose in the Northern District of New York, and concern or otherwise relate to real property located in the Northern District of New York.

4. Defendant Bruce Tanski is an officer, principal, employee, or agent of Bruce Tanski Construction and Development Company, is a citizen of New York, and resides in Clifton Park, New York.

5. Defendant Bruce Tanski Construction and Development Company, L.L.C. is incorporated under the laws of New York, and has its principal place of business in Clifton Park, New York.

6. Defendant Bruce Tanski Construction and Development Company, L.L.C. is engaged in the development, construction, and operation of rental apartment complexes in New York.

7. Defendant Bruce Tanski Construction and Development Company, L.L.C., provided design or construction services in connection with the design or construction of a number of apartment complexes, including, but not necessarily limited to, the following:

Name of Development Location
McGregor Village Wilton, New York
Clifton Court North Halfmoon, New York
Carol Jean Estates Halfmoon, New York
Cranberry Estates Halfmoon, New York
Andrea Court Halfmoon, New York
Pine Ridge II Halfmoon, New York
Halfmoon Court Halfmoon, New York

8. Defendant Bruce Tanski provided design or construction services in connection with the design or construction of McGregor Village.

9. Defendant Bruce Tanski is involved in the management or operation of the apartment complexes listed in paragraph 11, below.

10. Defendant Clifton Court Apartments L.L.C. is incorporated under the laws of New York, and has its principal place of business in Clifton Park, New York.

11. Defendant Clifton Court Apartments L.L.C. is involved in the ownership, management, or operation of the following apartment complexes: (1) Clifton Court North, (2) Carol Jean Estates, (3) Halfmoon Court, (4) Cranberry Estates, (5) Pine Ridge II, and (6) Andrea Court. In its capacity as an owner of these complexes, Clifton Court Apartments L.L.C., with respect to Count II, below, is a party necessary to this lawsuit in whose absence complete relief cannot be afforded to the United States.

12. Defendant Mountain Ledge, L.P. is a limited partnership organized under the laws of New York, and has its principal place of business in Saratoga Springs, New York.

13. Defendant Mountain Ledge, L.P. owned McGregor Village at the time of the design or construction of McGregor Village.

14. Defendant Mountain Ledge, L.P. continues to own McGregor Village.

15. Defendant Mountain Ledge Development Corp. is a corporation organized under the laws of New York, and has its principal place of business in Saratoga Springs, New York.

16. Defendant Mountain Ledge Development Corp. is the general partner of Defendant Mountain Ledge L.P.

17. Defendant Michael Dennis is the sole shareholder and president of Mountain Ledge Development Corp., is a citizen of New York, and resides in Saratoga Springs, New York.

18. Defendant Mountain Ledge, L.L.C. is incorporated under the laws of New York, and has its principal place of business in Saratoga Springs, New York.

19. Defendant Mountain Ledge, L.L.C., on information and belief, had an ownership interest in McGregor Village at the time McGregor Village was designed or constructed.

20. Defendant Michael Dennis participated in the design or construction of McGregor Village.

21. Defendant Michael Dennis has participated in the management of McGregor Village.

22. Defendant Howard F. Jacobson is a professional engineer and a citizen of New York who resides in Guilderland, New York.

23. Defendant Howard F. Jacobson provided architectural or engineering services in connection with the design or construction of McGregor Village.

24. Defendant Yates Scott Lansing is an engineer and a citizen of New York who resides in Malta, New York.

25. Defendant Yates Scott Lansing provided architectural or engineering services in connection with the design or construction of McGregor Village.

COUNT I

26. Plaintiff re-alleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-25, above.

27. McGregor Village Apartments ("McGregor Village") is a multifamily apartment complex located in Wilton, New York.

28. McGregor Village consists of 27 two-story buildings. None of the 27 buildings has an elevator. McGregor Village has a total of 212 units, 106 of which are located on the ground floor.

29. McGregor Village was designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991. Each of McGregor Village's 212 units is a "dwelling" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

30. McGregor Village's 106 ground-floor units are "covered multifamily dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(7)(B), and are subject to the design and construction requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

31. Gloria Lynn Minet is an individual with a disability who currently resides at the McGregor Village Apartments in Wilton, New York.

32. Gloria Lynn Minet became a resident of McGregor Village on or about August 1, 1999, and continues to reside at McGregor Village.

33. On or about February 19, 2002, Ms. Minet filed a complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging discrimination in housing on the basis of handicap. In her complaint, Ms. Minet alleged that McGregor Village was neither designed nor constructed in accordance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act, and that McGregor Village failed to make appropriate reasonable accommodations.

34. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a), (b) & (f), the Secretary of HUD conducted and completed an investigation of the complaint filed by Ms. Minet, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on information gathered during 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 or about April 28, 2004, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging the defendants with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

35. On or about May 21, 2004, Michael Dennis and Mountain Ledge, L.P. 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).

36. On or about May 24, 2002, HUD's Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election of Judicial Determination and terminated the administrative proceeding on the complaint filed by Ms. Minet.

37. Following this Notice of Election, the Secretary of HUD authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

38. Defendants Bruce Tanski; Bruce Tanski Construction and Development Company; Mountain Ledge L.P.; Mountain Ledge L.L.C.; Mountain Ledge Development Corp.; Michael Dennis; Howard F. Jacobson; and Yates Scott Lansing have failed to design or construct McGregor Village so that:

(a) the public use and common use portions are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities;

(b) all doors within the ground-floor units are sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons with disabilities who use wheelchairs; and

(c) the ground-floor units contain the following features of adaptive design: (i) an accessible route into and through the dwelling; (ii) electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations; (iii) reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and (iv) usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual using a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.

39. Defendants Bruce Tanski; Bruce Tanski Construction and Development Company; Mountain Ledge L.P.; Mountain Ledge L.L.C.; Mountain Ledge Development Corp.; Michael Dennis; Howard F. Jacobson; and Yates Scott Lansing, through the actions referred to in the preceding paragraph, have:

(a) Discriminated in the rental of, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, dwellings to renters because of handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1);

(b) Discriminated against persons 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 handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(2); and

(c) Failed to design or construct dwellings in compliance with the accessibility and adaptability features mandated by 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

40. Defendants Mountain Ledge, L.P., Mountain Ledge, L.L.C., Mountain Ledge Development Corp., Michael Dennis, Bruce Tanski Construction and Development Company L.L.C., and Bruce Tanski had notice, before the design or construction of McGregor Village was completed, that McGregor Village was not designed or constructed in compliance with federal accessibility requirements.

41. Defendants Mountain Ledge, L.P.; Mountain Ledge, L.L.C.; Mountain Ledge Development Corp.; Michael Dennis; Bruce Tanski Construction and Development Company L.L.C.; Clifton Court Apartments L.L.C.; and Bruce Tanski, in failing to make reasonable accommodations in their rules, policies, practices, and services, have discriminated in the rental, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, dwellings to renters because of handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1) and (f)(3)(B).

42. Ms. Minet is aggrieved person, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and has suffered damages as a result of the defendants' conduct described above.

43. The discriminatory actions of the defendants named in paragraph 41, above, were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of Ms. Minet.

COUNT II

44. Plaintiff re-alleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-43, above.

45. Each of the apartment complexes specified in paragraph 7 above (hereinafter referred to as "the subject complexes") contains residential apartments units that are "dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

46. The ground-floor units at each subject complex designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, are "covered multi-family dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(7)(B), and are subject to the design and construction requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

47. Defendants Bruce Tanski; Bruce Tanski Construction and Development Company; Mountain Ledge L.P.; Mountain Ledge L.L.C.; Mountain Ledge Development Corp.; Michael Dennis; Howard F. Jacobson; and Yates Scott Lansing have failed to design or construct the covered dwelling units and common use and public use areas in the subject complexes and others in such a manner that:

(a) the public use and common use portions are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities;

(b) all doors within the ground-floor units are sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons with disabilities who use wheelchairs; and

(c) the ground-floor units contain the following features of adaptive design: (i) an accessible route into and through the dwelling; (ii) electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations; (iii) reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and (iv) usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual using a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.

48. Defendants Bruce Tanski; Bruce Tanski Construction and Development Company; Mountain Ledge L.P.; Mountain Ledge L.L.C.; Mountain Ledge Development Corp.; Michael Dennis; Howard F. Jacobson; and Yates Scott Lansing, through the actions described above, have:

(a) Discriminated in the rental of, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, dwellings to renters because of handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1);

(b) Discriminated against persons 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 handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(2); and

(c) Failed to design or construct dwellings in compliance with the accessibility and adaptability features mandated by 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C).

49. The conduct of defendants Bruce Tanski; Bruce Tanski Construction and Development Company; Mountain Ledge L.P.; Mountain Ledge L.L.C.; Mountain Ledge Development Corp.; Michael Dennis; Howard F. Jacobson; and Yates Scott Lansing described above constitutes:

(a) A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act,

42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619; or

(b) 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.

50. In addition to Ms. Minet, there may be other victims of the defendants' discriminatory actions and practices who are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i). These persons may have suffered actual injury and damages as a result of the above actions and practices.

51. The discriminatory actions of the defendants named in paragraph 49, above, were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of Ms. Minet and the other victims of this discrimination.

COUNT III

52. Plaintiff re-alleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-51, above.

53. Defendant Clifton Court Apartments L.L.C. does not rent second-floor apartments at the complexes listed in paragraph 11, above, to families with more than one child.

54. Defendant Bruce Tanski does not rent second-floor apartments at the complexes listed in paragraph 11, above, to families with more than one child.

55. Defendants Bruce Tanski and Clifton Court Apartments L.L.C., through the actions described above, have:

(a) Discriminated in the rental of, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, dwellings to renters because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a); and

(b) Discriminated in the terms, conditions, or privileges of the rental of a dwelling to renters because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b).

56. The conduct of Bruce Tanski and Clifton Court Apartments described above constitutes:

(a) A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619; or

(b) 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.

57. The discriminatory actions of the defendants were 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 defendants' policies and practices, as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act;

2. Enjoins the defendants, except Clifton Court Apartments L.L.C., their officers, employees, agents, successors and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from:

(a) Failing or refusing to bring the ground-floor units and public and common use areas at the subject complexes and others into compliance with 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C);

(b) Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, the victims of the defendants' unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct;

(c) Designing or constructing covered multifamily dwellings in the future that do not contain the accessibility and adaptability features required by 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C); and

(d) Failing or refusing to make reasonable accommodations as required by 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(B);

3. Enjoins Defendants Bruce Tanski and Clifton Court Apartments L.L.C. from continuing to discriminate on the basis of familial status against any person in any aspect of the rental of dwellings, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(A);

4. Awards monetary damages, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3), 3613(c)(1), and 3614(d)(1)(B), to all persons harmed by the defendants' discriminatory practices, including Ms. Minet; and

5. Assesses a civil penalty against each defendant in an amount authorized by 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C), to vindicate the public interest.

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

The United States requests a jury trial of all issues triable thereby.



Dated: ____________, 2006

ALBERTO R. GONZALES
Attorney General





GLENN T. SUDDABY
United States Attorney



________________________
By: PAULA CONAN
Asst. U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 7198
100 South Clinton Street
Syracuse, NY 13261
Tel.: (315) 448-0913



_______________________
WAN J. KIM
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division



________________________
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief, Housing and
Civil Enforcement Section



_________________________
MICHAEL S. MAURER
Deputy Chief
SEAN R. KEVENEY
Trial Attorney
Civil Rights Division
United States Department of
Justice
Housing and Civil Enforcement
Section- G Street
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Tel.: (202) 514-4838
Document Filed: January 20, 2006 > >
Updated August 6, 2015

Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?
Yes No