NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Civil Action No. 00 C 7603
CUNAT BROS., INC.; McHENRY
STATE BANK LAND TRUST
NO.13019 AND 13020; AND PRAIRIE
TRAILS LIMITED PARTNERSHIP,
The United States, by its attorney, Scott R. Lassar, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, 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.
- The court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
- Prairie Trails Apartments (hereinafter referred to as "Prairie Trails") are located on Leah Lane in Woodstock, Illinois. Prairie Trails consists of four two-story non-elevator buildings with 168 rental units designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991.
- Defendant Cunat Bros., Inc. is an Illinois corporation whose principal place of business is in McHenry, Illinois, which is within the Northern District of Illinois. Defendant Cunat Bros., Inc. was responsible for the development, construction, and rental of residential dwellings at Prairie Trails.
- Defendant McHenry State Bank Land Trust No. 13019 and 13020 is located in McHenry, Illinois, which is within the Northern District of Illinois. Defendant McHenry State Bank Land Trust No. 13019 and 13020 is the titleholder of the Prairie Trails property.
- Defendant Prairie Trails Limited Partnership is the beneficiary of the aforesaid land trust which holds title to the Prairie Trails property.
- The apartments at Prairie Trails are "dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b). All of the 84 ground floor units at Prairie Trails are "covered multifamily dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(7)(A). All of the ground floor units at Prairie Trails 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 ground floor 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 the doors designed to allow passage into and within all premises within such dwellings are sufficiently wide to allow passage by disabled persons in wheelchairs; and (c) all premises within such dwellings contain the following features of adaptive design: (i) an accessible route into and through the dwelling; (ii) light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental controls in accessible locations; (iii) reinforcements in the bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and (iv) usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.
- Defendants, through the actions referred to in paragraph 8, above, have:
- Discriminated in the rental, 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 the 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 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, and 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 Prairie Trails 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 person aggrieved by defendants' discriminatory housing practices for their injuries resulting from defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B);
- Awards punitive damages to each person aggrieved by the defendants' discriminatory housing practices, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B); and
- Assesses a civil penalty against defendants in the maximum amount 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
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
TIMOTHY J. MORAN
Deputy Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
SCOTT R. LASSAR
United States Attorney
Assistant United States Attorney
219 Dearborn Street
Chicago, Illinois 60604
(312)353-1857 > >