MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
DAVID DAMRON, Defendant.
The United States initiated this action pursuant to Section 814 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3614, alleging that the Defendant has engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of race in the rental of dwellings at Bruner Trailer Park, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 3601, et seq. Bruner Trailer Park is located in Montgomery, Alabama, and is owned by Defendant David Damron.
The Defendant admits that his actions in running the Bruner Trailer Park violate the Fair Housing Act. More specifically, were this case to proceed to trial, the Defendant admits that United States would present evidence as follows, which supports a finding by the Court that the Defendant has engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of race, in violation of Section 804 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3604:
- Defendant Damron inquired into whether potential white tenants had any African-American friends who might visit them at Bruner Trailer Park;
- Defendant Damron conditioned tenancy to prospective white tenants upon representations that the prospective tenants would not have any African-American visitors;
- Defendant Damron evicted and otherwise harassed white tenants who had African-American visitors;
- Defendant Damron instructed at least one agent responsible for screening applicants not to rent to African-Americans and to tell any African-Americans who inquired about available trailers that the landlord had just rented the last trailer;
- Defendant Damron made statements indicating a preference not to rent to African-Americans; and
- In a fair housing test conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Defendant Damron:
- told the African-American FBI agent that he had just rented the last available trailer while informing the white FBI agent that two trailers were available for rent;
- attempted to direct the African-American FBI agent to another trailer park occupied predominantly by African-Americans;
- stated to the white FBI agent that Bruner Trailer Park is a safe neighborhood because no African-Americans lived there; and
- stated that he would not allow African-Americans to move into the trailer park.
The United States and Defendant desire to avoid costly and protracted litigation and have voluntarily agreed, as indicated by the signatures below, to resolve the United States' claims against the Defendant without the necessity of an evidentiary hearing. After reviewing the terms of this Consent Order, the Court concludes that the entry of this Consent Order comports with the Fair Housing Act and federal law and is appropriate under all the circumstances. Defendant Damron and the United States fully anticipate that the provisions of the Order shall ensure that Defendant Damron shall not engage in any future violations of the Fair Housing Act. However, Defendant Damron and the United States agree that in the event that Defendant Damron engages in any future violation(s) of the Fair Housing Act, such violation(s) shall constitute a "subsequent violation" pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d).
Therefore, it is ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED as follows:
- Scope of Order
- All provisions of this Consent Order, unless stated otherwise, shall apply to the rental dwellings owned by Defendant Damron as listed in Attachment A as well as all other rental dwellings acquired by Defendant Damron, or for which Defendant Damron exercises managerial control, during the term of this Consent Order.
- Unless otherwise stated, this Consent Order is in effect for three years from the date of entry of the Order.
- This Consent Order shall not terminate with respect to any one or more of the rental dwellings in the event that the rental dwelling is sold or ownership is transferred to any member of Defendant Damron's family.
- This Consent Order shall terminate with respect to any one or more of the rental dwellings in the event that the rental dwelling is sold for value to a bona fide purchaser which is unaffiliated in any way with Defendant Damron, provided that at least twenty (20) days before any such sale, Defendant Damron notifies the United States in writing of the transfer and provide written certification that (1) neither he or any member of his family maintains any managerial, ownership, or other interest in the rental dwelling; and (2) the sale is for value to a bona fide purchaser which is unaffiliated in any way with Defendant Damron.
- Injunctive Relief
Defendant, his agents, employees, successors, and all persons in active concert or participation with any of them are permanently enjoined, with respect to the sale, rental, or listing of dwellings(1) from:
- Refusing to show, rent, or sell a dwelling unit, refusing or failing to provide or offer information about a dwelling unit, or otherwise making unavailable or denying a dwelling unit to any person because of race or color;
- Discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions or privileges of the listing, rental, or sale of a dwelling unit, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race or color;
- Misrepresenting to any person because of race or color that any dwelling unit is not available for inspection, sale, or rental when such dwelling unit is, in fact, so available;
- Steering or referring persons to properties located in different areas because of race or color; and
- Coercing, intimidating, threatening or interfering with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his having aided or encouraged any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected by the Act.
- Policies and Procedures
- The Defendant has adopted and shall implement no later than the date of entry of this Order objective, uniform, and non-discriminatory procedures governing the information to be given persons inquiring about the availability of dwellings and, if applicable, standards and procedures for the processing of applications and the approval of applicants for the rental of dwelling units. A copy of these standards and procedures is appended hereto as Attachment B. These standards and procedures shall be prominently displayed in the rental office of Bruner Trailer Park and a copy of these standards and procedures shall be made available upon request to any person inquiring about the availability of dwellings.
- The Defendant shall, with respect to dwellings listed, rented, or sold at Bruner Trailer Park:
- Maintain and provide to all persons inquiring about the availability of dwellings an accurate list of all dwellings known to be available for rental or sale as set out in Paragraph VI;
- Inform prospective applicants who inquire about renting or buying dwellings of all available dwellings; and
- Permit all prospective applicants the opportunity to complete a written rental application (if applicable).
- Mandatory Education and Training
- Within 45 days after the date of entry of this Order, the Defendant and any of his agents or employees with responsibility for the listing, sale, or rental of dwelling units shall attend a program of educational training concerning their responsibilities under federal, state, and local fair housing laws, regulations, or ordinances conducted by the Central Alabama Fair Housing Center. The reasonable expenses associated with this program shall be borne by the Defendant.
- At least 15 prior to this fair housing training, Defendant Damron shall send a letter to each of the owners of rental dwellings at Bruner Trailer Park inviting them to attend this fair housing training session.
- All persons attending the program described in Paragraph III A shall have their attendance certified in writing by the person conducting the educational program. In conjunction with such program Defendant shall: (1) provide a copy of this Consent Order and inform each person of the duties of Defendant and his employees and agents pursuant to the Order; and (2) obtain the signed statement appearing at Attachment C from each employee and agent indicating that he or she has received, read, and understands this Consent Order and Defendant's policy of nondiscrimination and further understands that violation of this Order may result in sanctions against them by the Court.
- For the duration of this Order, each new employee or agent of the Defendant with listing, rental, or sales responsibilities shall be given a copy of and required to read this Consent Order, and sign the statement appearing at Attachment C, within 10 days after the date he or she commences an employment or agency relationship with any owner thereof.
- Notification to Public of Nondiscriminatory Policies
Within 10 days after the date of entry of this Consent Order, Defendant Damron shall take the following steps to notify the public of his nondiscriminatory policies:
- Pursuant to 24 C.F.R. Part 110, post and prominently display in the rental office of Bruner Trailer Park a Fair Housing Poster;
- Include the words "Equal Housing Opportunity" or the fair housing logo in all advertising conducted by Defendant and on all pamphlets, brochures and other promotional literature. The words or logo should be prominently placed and easily legible; and
- Include the following phrase in the standard rental application and lease used for each of the rental dwellings, using letters of equal size to those of the text in the body of the document:
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).
- Record Keeping and Monitoring
- With respect to the listing, rental, or sale of rental dwellings, Defendant Damron shall:
- Maintain an updated Availability List which includes the address or trailer number of each dwelling known to be available for rental or sale, the number of bedrooms in each such unit, the monthly rent or sale price for each such unit;
- Maintain an Application Log, if applicable, for all written applications for tenancy submitted to and/or processed by Defendant setting forth the name, address, and race of applicants as well as the reasons(s) why each application for tenancy was accepted, denied, or otherwise disposed of;
- Maintain a Repair Request Log, which includes the date each request was made, a description of the request, trailer number, name and race of person making request, date repair was made, and person who made repairs. If repair cannot be made, please explain the reason for denying the requested repair; and
- Maintain a Turnover Log which includes the trailer number, name of tenant(s), race, dates of tenancy, and reasons for moving.
- Six months after the date of entry of this Order, and once per year thereafter for a period of three (3) years, the Defendant shall deliver to counsel for the United States a report covering the preceding year containing the following information:
- Copies of all signed statements secured pursuant to Paragraphs IV B and C of this Order;
- Copies of the Availability Lists, Rental Application Logs, Repair Request Logs, an Termination Logs maintained pursuant to Paragraph VI of this Consent Order; and
- Copies of any advertisements published in a newspaper or any other medium during the reporting period.
These reports shall be due 10 days after the close of the reporting period. The first report submitted pursuant to this Paragraph shall also include a photograph of Defendant's office showing the fair housing sign required by Paragraph V of this Order.
- During the term of this Order, the Defendant shall preserve all records which are the source of, contain, or relate to any of the information pertinent to his obligations under this Order. Upon reasonable notice to counsel for Defendant, representatives of the United States shall be permitted to inspect and copy all such records of the Defendant at any and all reasonable times.
- During the term of this Order, the Defendant shall advise counsel for the United States in writing within 15 days of receipt of any written complaint against the Defendant, or against any of his employees or agents, regarding equal opportunity in housing. The Defendant shall provide a copy of the complaint with the notice. The notice shall include the full details of the complaint, including the complainant's name, address, and telephone number. The Defendant shall also promptly provide the United States all information it may request concerning any such complaint and its actual or attempted resolution.
- With respect to the listing, rental, or sale of rental dwellings, Defendant Damron shall:
- Compensation of Aggrieved Persons
- Within 15 days after entry of this Order, Defendant Damron shall deposit the sum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) into an escrow account for the purpose of compensating any persons who the United States has identified to have been the victims of the Defendant's alleged discriminatory housing practices. Within 20 days after receiving written notification of the United States compensation determinations as described in Paragraph VII F, Defendant shall deliver to Counsel for the United States checks to the aggrieved persons payable as directed in the written notification.
- In addition, the Defendant shall make available a total of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) in rental credits over the term of the Consent Order for the purpose of compensating any persons who the United States has identified to have been the victims of the Defendant's alleged discriminatory housing practices. Defendant shall make ten thousand dollars ($10,000) in rental credits available during the first 12 months after the United States has identified victims pursuant to Paragraph VII F below. Defendant shall make an additional five thousand dollars ($5,000) in rental credits available in the second year of the Consent Order, and a final five thousand dollars ($5,000) in rental credits during the final year of the Consent Order.
- The Defendant shall permit representatives of the United States to review any records in the possession or control of the Defendant, his employees, agents, or representatives which the United States believes to be useful in identifying persons who may be entitled to relief under this Order.
- The United States shall notify Counsel for Defendant in writing of the name and address of the aggrieved person(s) it has identified and the amount from the compensation fund or the amount of rental credits the United States believes each is entitled.(2)
- The United States agrees to consider, in good faith, objections by the Defendant, through Counsel, as to the identity of aggrieved persons prior to making a final determination as to the identity of such individuals and amounts received. Defendant shall have up to 20 days after identification of aggrieved persons to notify the United States of any such objections.
- Within 20 days of receipt of Defendant's objections, the United States shall notify Defendant in writing of its compensation determinations. For aggrieved persons who are entitled to rental credits, the United States shall notify both the Defendant and the aggrieved persons in writing specifying the number of months that each tenant is entitled to rental credits. Such credits shall commence at the beginning of the month following receipt of this written notice.
- In consideration of the monetary payments or rental credits, each of the persons identified by the United States as aggrieved will, prior to the receipt of such funds or credits, execute a release substantially equivalent to that set forth in Attachment D appended hereto signifying that the amounts they are to receive constitute full settlement of any claims they may have against the Defendant relating to the subject matter of this lawsuit.
- Court Jurisdiction
This action is dismissed with prejudice, except that the Court shall retain jurisdiction for the duration of the Consent Order to enforce the terms of the Consent Order. The provisions of this Consent Order shall terminate ninety (90) days after the last report required by Section VI is due or received. The United States may move the Court to extend the duration of the Order, if it determines that Defendant Damron has violated one or more terms of the Order or if the interests of justice otherwise require an extension of the terms of the Order. The burden shall be on the United States to prove that an extension is necessary.
- Remedies for Non-Performance
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, in the event of a failure by the Defendant, whether willful or otherwise, to perform in a timely manner any act required by this Consent Order or otherwise fail to act in accordance with any provision thereof, the United States may move this Court to impose any remedy authorized by law or equity, including, but not limited to, an order requiring performance of such act or deeming such act to have been performed, and an award of any damages, costs, and attorneys' fees which may have been occasioned by the
Defendant's violation or failure to perform. The Court shall retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of this Order.
- Time for Performance
Any time limits for performance imposed by this Consent Order may be extended by mutual agreement of the parties, which agreement shall not be unreasonably withheld.
ORDERED this ____________ day of _________________________, l999. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
The undersigned apply for and consent to the entry of this Order:
For the United States:
BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistnat Attorny General
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
JOSEPH D. RICH
JON M. SEWARD
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035
United States Attorney
Middle District of Alabama
For the Defendant:
RICHARD K. KEITH, Esq.
Keith & Hamm
235 South McDonough St.
Montgomery, Ala. 36104
Attorney for Defendant
The blow-listed dwellings located at Bruner Trailer Park are owned by Defendant Damron and are "rental dwellings" subject to the terms of this Consent Order. Any dwellings acquired by Defendant Damron, or for which Defendant Damron exercises managerial control, during the duration of this Consent Order are rental dwellings subject to the terms of this Consent Order.
- 12 Bruner Drive
- 13 Bruner Drive
- 19 Bruner Drive
- 20 Bruner Drive
- 21 Bruner Drive
- 25 Bruner Drive
- 33 Bruner Drive
- 36 Bruner Drive
- 42 Bruner Drive
- 46 Bruner Drive
- 49 Bruner Drive
- 51 Bruner Drive
- 53 Bruner Drive
- 58 Bruner Drive
- 59 Bruner Drive
- 61 Bruner Drive
- 101 Bruner Drive
- 112 Bruner Drive
Bruner Trailer Park is an equal housing opportunity and its owner David Damron does not discriminate against anyone in any aspect of the rental of trailers because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, handicap, or familial status (having children under the age of 18 years). Further, Bruner Trailer Park, through its owner David Damron, complies with all federal, state and local laws. Accordingly, prospective applicants inquiring about available units will be informed of all available units.
On _________________________, 1999 , I was instructed by ______________________________________ with respect to my responsibilities under Bruner Trailer Park's policies and procedures and the Order entered by the federal district court in United States v. David Damron, C.A. No. (M.D. Ala.). I have received a copy of and have read that Order. I understand my legal responsibilities under this Order and those policies and procedures, and I will comply with those responsibilities. I further understand that the Court may impose sanctions on me if I violate a provision of this Order and that my employer may also discipline me if I violate a provision of that Order. __________________________________________
I, ___________________, hereby acknowledge that in consideration of $_______ as well as the covenants and agreements made and reflected in the Consent Order entered in United States v. David Damron, C.A. No. (M.D. Ala), the receipt of all of which is hereby acknowledged, I hereby release and discharge all claims, including attorneys fees, that I may have against David Damron arising out of, or related in any way to, the aforesaid litigation.
I further understand that this Release shall be binding upon my heirs, successors, and any and all persons acting in concert with me. I further understand that I am releasing not only the claims which were raised in the aforementioned lawsuit, but all claims, of any kind, nature or description whatsoever, whether they be in contract, tort, or in the litigation referenced above, for any actions or events that have occurred or that may have accrued up to and including the date of this Release.
I also acknowledge that I have had the opportunity to review the terms of this Release and with an attorney of my choosing, and to the extent that I have not obtained that legal advice, I voluntarily and knowingly waive my right to do so. By my signature affixed hereto, I acknowledge that I have read and fully understood the terms of this Release, and am in agreement therewith.
County of _____________________
State of Alabama
SUBSCRIBED and sworn to before
me this ________ day of _________________, 1999.
My Commission expires:
1. For the purposes of this Order, "dwelling" shall have the same meaning as it does in the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
2. The funds distributed to aggrieved persons are intended to compensate them for emotional distress and other injuries. For those persons receiving public benefits, such funds shall only be available for supplemental personal needs--expenses other than food, clothing residence upkeep, medical costs, or maintenance needs--and are not intended to supplant entitlement to public funds, e.g., Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid. > >