Litigation Updates

Settled: LUCAS V. OAKMONT LIVONIA, et al

Monday, 01 December 2014

Lauren Lucas, accepted a settlement of$35,000 as a result from filing a complaint on April 20, 2013 with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) alleging that she was injured by a retaliatory termination of her employment as a result of the fair housing issues she raised relative to policies and practices by the respondents which is a “senior living and independent and enhanced care community.” 

Retraction

Monday, 18 August 2014
RETRACTION:
 
The Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit wishes to apologize for the printing of information regarding Huntington Management v Lauren Lucas in error.  It is our understanding that the matter not been resolved and no finding against Huntington Management has been issue.
 
We are sincerely sorry for the error.

ACCESSABILITY - HUD Settlement with Seattle Apt Complex Developers

Thursday, 26 June 2014

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has reached an agreement with the owner, builder, architect and manager of a Seattle apartment complex, resolving allegations that they discriminated against persons with disabilities by failing to design and construct the 56-unit complex in a way that meets the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.

New Filing: Brooks v. Oakland University

Tuesday, 06 August 2013

LaShae Brooks, a former student at Oakland University, has filed a federal court action against the university alleging familial status. Ms. Brooks matriculated at the university her first year, and later gave birth to her daughter. Upon returning to continue her education, she inquired as to campus housing and was informed that families were not allowed any longer. After filing an administrative complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, during which time the university refused to settle and the matter was referred to FHCMD. Testing evidence confirmed the policy regarding familial status violations and the matter was referred to cooperating attorney Regina Meo. Suit was filed in federal court and the matter is pending before the Hon. Lawrence Zatkoff. 

INTIMIDATION AND COERCION BY STATE GOVERNMENT

Friday, 02 August 2013

INTIMIDATION AND COERCION BY STATE GOVERNMENT - The Fair Housing Centers in Alabama located in Montgomery, Birmingham and Mobile successfully challenged in a federal court action against the Commissioner, Alabama Department of Revenue, who attempted to require mobile home owners seeking decals provide proof of citizenship. The Hon Myron Thompson entered an order enjoining the state from enforcing the statute and the 11 affirmed. Central Alabama Fair Housing Center v McGee, No 2:11 cv 982 ( M.D. Ala.,2011); aff’d 11 the United States Supreme Court in U.S. v .State of Alabama in which the same fair housing centers are co-plaintiffs.

INTIMIDATION AND COERCION –IMMIGRANT STATUS

Friday, 02 August 2013

INTIMIDATION AND COERCION –IMMIGRANT STATUS - A Federal Court Judge in the District of Minnesota ruled that threats to “ have you deported“ and “ INS has keys to your apartment “ by a landlord to a legal immigrant from Ethiopia constitutes national origin and racial discrimination. Tesemma v. Evans, No. 09- 2744, D. Minnesota ( order denying defendant’s motion for summary judgment, August 4, 2011, non-disclosed settlement in 2012). This is the first ruling under the Fair Housing Act that applies to anti-immigration intimidation.

NATIONAL ORIGIN DISCRIMINATION

Friday, 02 August 2013

NATIONAL ORIGIN DISCRIMINATION - In response to a complaint with HUD, a settlement of $175, 00 resolving allegations of discrimination against Hispanic tenants in Nashville, Tennessee was announced on May 10, 2012. Violations of intimidation and harassment, as well as terminated lease agreements and ignoring maintenance requests. The respondent, TriTex Real Estate Advisors,Inc., of Atlanta, also agreed to pay $10,000 to two non-profit organizations –the Tennessee Fair Housing Council and the Tennessee Immigrant and RefugeeRights Coalition, to identify potential claimants.

RACE DISCRIMINATION BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Friday, 02 August 2013

RACE DISCRIMINATION BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT -After several years of litigation and repeated sanctions against the defendant, i.e., St Bernard Parish ( the Louisiana term for county ), the Justice Department agreed to a $2.500.000 settlement. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the officials of the parish attempted to restrict rental housing to African Americans by way of zoning ordinances to prohibit the construction of multifamily housing and further prohibiting existing homeowners from renting single family homes. A similar action has been filed by the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center in 2006 and is still pending, although the court awarded attorney fees in excess of $570,000 to the plaintiffs’ attorneys as well as $54,000 in costs due to their repeated violations. GNOFHAC v. St Bernard Parish, No 06-7185, 2012 U.S. Dist LEXIS 149218 ( E.D. La. October 17,2012). the plaintiffs are represented by Relman, Dane & Colfax.

DISABILITY STATUS – STATE UNIVERSITIES Velzen and Fair Housing Center of West Michigan v. Grand Valley State University

Friday, 02 August 2013

DISABILITY STATUS – STATE UNIVERSITIES Velzen and Fair Housing Center of West Michigan v. Grand Valley State University, No. 1:12 CV 321, (W.D.Mich.2012), involved an emotional support pet for a student with a lengthy history of depression, specifically a guinea pig. The University denied her request for a reasonable accommodation and after investigating the matter, FHCWM in Grand Rapids and the student brought an action against the institution. After prevailing on motion regarding the standing under the Fair Housing Act, and the availability of compensatory and punitive damages the matter settled for $40,000.

DISABILITY STATUS - In an agency-plaintiff case, the Long Island Housing Center filed a Havens complaint against Main Street LI LLC

Friday, 02 August 2013

DISABILITY STATUS - In an agency-plaintiff case, the Long Island Housing Center filed a Havens complaint against Main Street LI LLC, after obtaining extensive testing extensive, which demonstrated steering applicants with disabilities; provided false information regarding available, quoted higher prices as well as refusing requests for reasonable accommodations and modifications. The LIHC obtained a settlement of $136,000, No.2: 11 cv 01210 (E.D. N.Y. Jan. 10, 2012)! In Long v. Merritt Towers Condominium Association, 2013 U.S. Dist LEXIS 31662, (M.D, Fla. Feb 16, 2013), a friend with a disability who had a service animal was not permitted to visit and care for a tenant. $80,000 settlement. The plaintiff was represented by Matthew Dietz of Miami, Florida, who also prevailed in trial on behalf of two blind women who were denied a dwelling. The plaintiffs were awarded $8,000 and the court awarded attorney fees and costs of $186,000 Herrin v Lamachys Village at Indigo Lakes, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19307 (M.D. Fla.,Feb. 16,2012)

SEX DISCRIMINATION: In U.S. v Sorenson, No. 1:11-cv-00511

Friday, 02 August 2013

SEX DISCRIMINATION: In U.S. v Sorenson, No. 1:11-cv-00511 (E.D. Cal.,September 13, 2012) (consent order filed), the Justice Department obtained a settlement of $2,000,000 and a $55,000 civil fine, in a sex harassment case involving 25 victims of the defendant. Also, DOJ obtained a similar settlement in New York in U.S. v. Barnason, No. 10 CIV 3335 ( S.D.N.Y., May 9, 2012). An owner and the offending maintenance man were enjoined from ever participating in the business.

RACE DISCRIMINATION: The Justice Department obtained a settlement of $21,000,000 against SunTrust Mortgage

Friday, 02 August 2013

RACE DISCRIMINATION: The Justice Department obtained a settlement of $21,000,000 against SunTrust Mortgage to settle claims of lending discrimination against African American applicants. No.3:12-cv-397 (E.D. Va. May 12, 2012)(consent order filed).

FAMIIAL STATUS: A federal jury awarded over $1,000,400 in Whyte v. Alston Management Co.

Friday, 02 August 2013

FAMIIAL STATUS: A federal jury awarded over $1,000,400 in Whyte v. Alston Management Co., arising in Pahokee, Florida. The defendants attempted to force families with children from an apartment complex and turn it into homes for convicted sex offenders. The Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches investigated the matter and referred the matter to the law firm of Relman, Dane & Colfax. Of that award, over $600,000 was awarded to 13 family members wrongfully evicted by the defendants and over $46,000 to the local fair housing center.

FHCMD v. Shelby Park Manor

Friday, 02 August 2013

A settlement of $100,000 in the matter of FHCMD v. Shelby Park Manor has been reached, reports Cooperating Attorney John A. Obee. After more than a year of testing, the Shelby Township property showed evidence of differences in treatment on the basis of race and familial status. FHCMD filed an action in Federal Court earlier this year...

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Assists in Reaching Settlement in a Mortgage Discrimination Case

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit (FHCMD) Cooperating Attorney, Steve Tomkowiak, has informed FHCMD that the U.S. Department of Housing...

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The evidence from the housing discrimination complaints filed with FHCMD by home seekers, from the "testing" conducted by the FHCMD, and from the statements provided by many housing providers who support fair housing laws and are willing to step forward to help expose violations of those laws, demonstrates that practices of unlawful housing discrimination continue and the services of FHCMD are needed. Read more