FOR THE DISTRICT OF IDAHO
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
CANAL STREET APARTMENTS, JAMES
AULD, LORNA AULD, AULD
INVESTMENT PROPERTIES, ROBERT
STEWART, STEWART MILES &
The United States of America alleges:
- This action is brought by the United States to enforce the provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act), as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619. It is brought on behalf of the Intermountain Fair Housing Act Council pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act ("the Act"), as amended 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), as well as pursuant to Section 814(a) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
- This court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 28 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
- Venue is proper in that the claims alleged herein arose in the District of Idaho.
- Canal Street Apartments ("Canal St. Apts.") are multifamily dwellings located in Boise, Idaho, in the District of Idaho.
- Canal St. Apts. consist of six multifamily buildings with 24 covered ground floor dwelling units, located at 2440, 2450, 2460, 2470, 2480, and 2490 Canal Street, Boise, Idaho.
- Canal St. Apts. was designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991. The 24 ground floor units at Canal St. Apts. are dwellings within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
- Each of the 24 ground floor units at Canal St. Apts. is a "covered multifamily dwelling" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (f) (7) (B) and is subject to the design and construction requirements set forth at 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (f) (3) (C).
- Defendants James Auld, Lorna Auld, and Auld Investment Properties, (hereinafter "Aulds") were at times relevant herein the contractors who were responsible for the construction of Canal St. Apts. Defendants Aulds' principal place of business is in Boise, Idaho.
- Defendants Aulds were the owners of Canal St. Apts. at times relevant to the allegations of this complaint. Defendants Aulds, as noted, have their principal place of business in Boise, Idaho.
- Defendants Robert Stewart and Stewart Miles & Associates, (hereafter "Stewart") is a corporation formed under the laws of the State of Idaho. Defendant Stewart was responsible for the design of the common areas and the dwelling units at Canal St. Apts. Defendant Stewart is an architectural firm whose principal place of business is in Boise, Idaho.
- Plaintiff re-alleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-10 above.
- The Intermountain Fair Housing Council, formerly known as the Idaho Fair Housing Council, is a non-profit organization that promotes fair housing throughout the State of Idaho.
- On or about February 6, 1998, the Intermountain Fair Housing Council filed a timely complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging that Defendants discriminated in housing because of handicap. In its complaint, the Intermountain Fair Housing Council alleged that its purpose of eliminating discrimination had been frustrated and its resources diverted from other activities because Canal St. Apts. was not designed and constructed in accordance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
- The Intermountain Fair Housing Council diverted resources from its other activities to investigate whether Canal St. Apts. was designed and constructed in violation of the Fair Housing Act and to pursue a complaint concerning Canal St. Apts. with HUD.
- Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) & (b), the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development conducted and completed an investigation of the complaint filed by the Intermountain Fair Housing Council, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on information gathered in 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 January 29, 2001, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging Defendants with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act. (1)
- On or about February 13, 2001, Defendants Aulds elected to have the charge resolved in a civil action filed in Federal District Court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
- On February 15, 2001, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election of Judicial Determination and terminated the administrative proceeding on the complaint filed by the IFHC.
- Following this Notice of Election, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
- The Defendants have failed to design and construct Canal St. Apts. so that:
- The public use and common use portions are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including but not limited to: (i) providing an accessible building entrance on an accessible route to any of the covered buildings; (ii) providing an exterior threshold of the door of the rental office ½" or less; (iii) making the three curb cuts on the property to be properly sloped and accessible from the locations of parking spaces directly in front of them; (iv) making existing parking spots for persons with disabilities accessible to persons with disabilities and adequately identified by signage; (v) making door hardware in all public and common areas usable by persons with handicap and not of the ball type; (vi) making the entry door to the laundry room ½" or less; (vii) providing an accessible route to the only sink in the laundry room.
- Ground floor units contain features of adaptive design, including but not limited to the following; (i) doors sufficiently wide to allow passage into and within the unit by persons in wheelchairs; specifically including: doors to the bedrooms; doors to the bathrooms; doors to the walk-in closets; doors to the patio; (ii) threshold at the exterior primary entrance low enough to allow entry by persons in wheelchairs; (iii) bathroom floor space sufficiently clear for an individual in a wheelchair to enter and close the door; (iv) providing reinforcement in the walls at the tub and water closet to permit the later installation of grab bars.
- The Defendants, through the actions referred to in the preceding paragraph, have:
- Discriminated in the rental, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, dwellings to persons because of handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1);
- Discriminated against persons in the terms, conditions or privileges of rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connections with a dwelling, because of handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(2); 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 Intermountain Fair Housing Council is an aggrieved person, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and has suffered damages as a result of the Defendants' conduct described above.
- The discriminatory actions of Defendants were intentional, willful and taken in disregard for the rights of the Idaho Fair Housing Council and others.
- Plaintiff re-alleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-12, and 19-22, above.
- The conduct of the Defendants described in paragraph 19 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 have been the victims of the Defendants' discriminatory housing practices are aggrieved persons as defined by 42 U.S.C. § 3602 (i) and may have suffered injuries as a result of the Defendants' conduct described above.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the court enter an order that:
- Declares that the Defendants' policies and practices, as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act;
- Enjoins the Defendants, their officers, employees, agents, successors and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from:
- Failing or refusing to bring the 24 ground-floor units and public use and common use areas at Canal St. Apts. 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 the Defendants' unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct; and
- 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);
- Awards such damages as would fully compensate each person aggrieved by the Defendants' discriminatory housing practices, including the Intermountain Fair Housing Council, for injuries resulting from the Defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612 (o) (3), 3613 (c) (1), and 42 U.S.C. § 3614 (d) (1) (B);
- Awards punitive damages to each person aggrieved by the Defendants' discriminatory housing practices, including the Intermountain Fair Housing Council, because of the intentional and willful nature of the Defendants' conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612 (o) (3), 3613 (c) (1), and 42 U.S.C. § 3614 (d)(1) (B);
- Assesses a civil penalty against each defendant in an 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.
Dated this ___ day of March, 2001.
|JOHN ASHCROFT |
BETTY A. RICHARDSON
United States Attorney
WILLIAM R. YEOMANS
Assistant Attorney General
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
D. Marc Haws, ISB # 2483
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Wells Fargo Center
877 W. Main Street, Ste. 201
Boise, ID 83702
Timothy J. Moran
Thomas J. Keary
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
1. The Charge of Discrimination was originally filed on January 19, 2001. On January 26, 2001, the Charge was withdrawn by the Charging Party for technical reasons related to service of process. The defects related to service of process were cured and the Charge was refiled on January 29, 2001.
Document Filed: January 29, 2001 > >