Third Circuit O.K.'s Concurrent State and Federal Enforcement Actions

January 1st 2006 - [ 1.1] A person alleging housing discrimination in violation of the
Fair Housing Act may file a private lawsuit even if he has filed an
administrative complaint with HUD or a state agency, the Third Circuit ruled in November in a case of first impression.

The issue arose in a lawsuit filed in federal district court by
Kimberly and Kenneth Mitchell in which the Mitchells alleged that the owners and operators of two Pittsburgh area apartment complexes
discriminated against them because they were African-American. One of the
buildings was racially mixed; the other complex, the Tuscany, had no
African-American tenants. According to the Mitchells, Pat Cellone, the
operating owner of the complexes, showed them apartments in both buildings, but refused to let them rent an apartment in the Tuscany
because of their race.

The Mitchells filed a HUD complaint against Cellone and property owner
P & R Properties. HUD referred their claim to the Pennsylvania Human
Rights Commission (PHRC), which found probable cause. The Mitchells and the respondents elected to have the claim heard in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, and the PHRC filed a lawsuit on the Mitchells'
behalf. However, after the court denied the Mitchells leave to intervene
as plaintiffs in the state action, they filed a second lawsuit in federal
court and obtained leave to withdraw their state complaint.

The federal district court dismissed the Mitchells' lawsuit, ruling
that it did not have jurisdiction to consider their Fair Housing Act
claim because they had elected to have their case heard in state court.
It also held that a second count, alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. 1982,
was barred by the two-year statute of limitations. [See 16,735 (full
text).] The Mitchells appealed the ruling on their Fair Housing Act claim.

In an opinion written by Circuit Judge Franklin S. Van Antwerpen, a Third Circuit panel reversed the dismissal of the Mitchells' Fair Housing
Act claim and ruled that the district court had jurisdiction. The court said that the Fair Housing Act provides two avenues for its enforcement.
Section 810 of the act authorizes an individual to file a complaint with
HUD, which in turn is required to refer the claim to a certified state
agency for resolution if such an agency exists. Section 813 of the act
authorizes an aggrieved person to file a lawsuit in either state or federal court within the applicable time limits "whether or not a
complaint has been filed under section [810] and without regard to the
status of such complaint. . . ." The panel said that under Section 810,
an aggrieved party may file a private lawsuit while an administrative
complaint is pending unless an administrative hearing on the record had begun. Conversely, a complainant could not pursue administrative proceedings once a federal trial has begun, the court said.

In the Mitchells' case, the court found that the state court proceeding was filed by the PHRC and was part of the administrative enforcement mechanism rather than a private enforcement action. It concluded that
"[t]he Mitchells therefore never exercised their option to bring a private suit in state or federal court under section [813] until they filed the present action. . . ." It held that the district court "was in error when it found it lacked jurisdiction." [Mitchell v. Cellone, No. 04-1063 (3d Cir. 11-1-04)]

Counsel: James Q. Harty of DKW Law Group, Pittsburgh, PA (Mitchells); Robert Durrant, Pittsburgh, PA (Cellone)

Report Finds Decline in Federal Civil Rights Enforcement

[ 1.2] Federal enforcement of civil rights cases dropped sharply between 1991 and 2003 according to a recent report issued by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a research organization associated with Syracuse University which studies the regulatory and enforcement activities of federal agencies.

According to data compiled by TRAC from Justice Department and federal judicial records, the number of defendants charged by federal prosecutors with criminal violations of federal civil rights laws dropped from 159
defendants in fiscal year 1999 to 84 in 2003, the last year for which figures were available. The number of actual criminal cases filed dropped
from 85 in calendar year 1999 to 49 in calendar year 2003. Between 2001
and 2003 the number of civil actions under discrimination laws filed by
the federal government also fell from 740 in calendar year 2001 to 576 in
calendar year 2003, according to TRAC.

The study said that a possible explanation for the drop in the number of prosecutions was that "the American people have become more law abiding in this area." However, the authors noted that the number of complaints of violations received by the Justice Department has remained steady for the last five years at approximately 12,000 per year. The study also noted that during the period from FY 1999 through FY 2003, the number of federal prosecutions in all categories increased by 10 percent.

The TRAC report is available on the Internet at http://trac.syr.edu/tracreports/civilright/106/.

Jewish Homeowners State Harassment Claims Under Fair Housing Act

[ 1.3] Threatening, intimidating, or interfering conduct prohibited by Section 818 of the Fair Housing Act includes discrimination that takes place after protected persons acquire a home and is not limited to actions in connection with the sale or rental of a dwelling, the Seventh Circuit ruled in November.

The issue arose in a lawsuit filed under Sections 804 and 818 of the Fair Housing Act by two Chicago homeowners, who alleged that the local homeowners association, and association officers harassed them because one of them was Jewish.

Robyn and Rick Halprin owned a home in the Prairies Single Families Homes of Dearborn Park subdivision in Chicago. According to the Halprins, Mark Ormond, one of the officers of the Prairies homeowners association, wrote "H-town property," meaning"Hymie Town," on a stone wall on their property. The Halprins alleged that Ormond damaged plants and trees on their property and cut down strings of holiday lights. They also charged that the homeowners association harassed and intimidated them by threatening to impose sanctions if they did not remove signs they had posted in the neighborhood offering a reward for identifying the vandals; by imposing rules curtailing the Halprins' actions; and by spraying their yard with chemicals against their wishes.

A federal district court dismissed the Halprins' lawsuit. The court ruled that the Halprins had not stated claims under Section 804 because Section 804 only applied to conduct in connection with the sale or rental of dwellings. The court also dismissed the Halprins' claims brought under Section 818 because the alleged violation of Section 818 involved the same conduct as the conduct in the claims brought under Section 804 and the court had ruled that the Section 804 claims were meritless. The court also said that even if it considered the Section 818 claim without regard to the Section 804 claims, the acts of which the Halprins complained did not rise to the level of conduct prohibited by the statute. [See 16,623 (full text).]

In an opinion written by Judge Richard Posner, a Seventh Circuit panel reversed the dismissal of the Halprins' Section 818 claim.

The panel said that the fact that the Halprins' had not stated a claim under Section 804 "might seem to doom their claim under section [818] as
well" because Section 818 only prohibits acts that interfere with other
sections of the Fair Housing Act. But the court found that the protections of Section 818 had been expanded beyond acts that occurred in connection with the sale of rental of dwellings by HUD regulation,
24 C.F.R. 100.400(c)(2). This regulation, which applies Section 818 to
"threatening, intimidation or interfering with persons in their enjoyment
of a dwelling because of the race, color, religion, sex, handicap,
familial status, or national origin of such persons . . .," "cuts section
[818] loose from section [804]," the panel said. The court also rejected the district court's conclusion that the alleged conduct was not
"threatening, intimidating or interfering" within the meaning of the statute, noting that the acts at issue were "far from a simple quarrel
between two neighbors or [an] isolated act of harassment . . . ." [Halprin v. Prairie Single Family Homes of Dearborn Park Assoc., No. 02-2975 (7th Cir. 11-4-04)]

Counsel: Thomas Peters, Chicago, IL (Halprin); Kiana Kenney, Chicago, IL (Prairie Single Family Homes)

Court Limits Application of Section 804(b) to Sale or Rental of Housing

[ 1.4] A plaintiff who alleged that two neighbors harassed and intimidated her because of her race did not state a claim under Section
804(b) of the Fair Housing Act, a federal district judge ruled in November.

Tremica King, who is African-American, rented a house in Mission, Kansas. Richard Kinney, who was King's next door neighbor, was the president of the local homeowners' association. Her other next door neighbor, Linda Baker, was also a member of the homeowners' association.

King alleged that after she moved into the house in Mission, Baker and Kinney began to harass and intimidate her. According to King, when she had visitors, Baker and Kinney wrote down the visitors' license plate numbers and reported them to the owner of her house and the local housing authority. King said that Baker and Kinney also kept records of when she left and returned to her house and took pictures of people who visited her. She charged that they listened to her phone conversations when she was sitting on her porch while talking. King moved out of the house after living there for only seven months.

King sued Baker, Kinney, and the homeowners' association. She alleged that Kinney and Baker had intimidated and harassed her in violation of
Section 804(b) of the Fair Housing Act and had conspired to discriminate against her in violation of 42 U.S.C 1985(3). She also alleged that the defendants had violated her privacy in violation of Kansas law. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss King's claims.

Chief United States District Judge John Lungstrum dismissed King's claim brought under Section 804(b). Judge Lungstrum ruled that Section 804(b) applied only to the provision of services in connection with the sale or rental of a dwelling, and King's allegations related to the use of a residence she had already acquired. However, Judge Lungstrum granted
King leave to file an amended complaint alleging violations of Section
818 of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits the intimidation of anyone exercising a property right protected under the Fair Housing Act.

Judge Lungstrum dismissed King's Section 1985 claim because it was premised on the alleged violation of Section 804(b); but he also granted
King leave to reassert the claim in connection with her allegation of a violation of Section 818. Judge Lungstrum ruled that King had stated a claim of invasion of privacy by alleging that the defendants took pictures of her visitors and her and listened to her telephone conversations. [King v. Metcalf 56 Homes Association, No. 04-2192-JWL (D. Kan. 11-8-04)]

Counsel: Mark C. Beam-Ward, Overland Park, KS (King); Douglas Allen, Overland Park, KS (Metcalf)

HUD ALJ Rules Against Complainant in Familial Status Claim

[ 1.5] A HUD Administrative Law Judge ruled in December that a single mother with two children did not establish that the owner of a two-unit apartment building discriminated against her on the basis of familial status when she inquired about renting one of the apartments.

In 1998, Sheila White answered an advertisement for an apartment in a two-unit building in Harvey, Illinois. The person who answered the telephone did not identify herself. White told the person who answered the telephone that she needed the apartment for herself and her two children. According to White, the person said that someone whom she referred to only as "she" could not rent to White because White did not have a husband and "she" needed to pay her mortgage. A few months later, in response to an advertisement, White called the same number and spoke to Gertie Wooten, the owner of the apartment. White told Wooten that she wanted to rent the apartment for herself, her husband, and one child. Wooten invited White to view the apartment.

White filed an administrative complaint with HUD, alleging that Wooten had violated section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act by expressing a preference in renting the unit based on familial status. HUD made a finding of reasonable cause, and a hearing was held. Wooten did not appear at the hearing on White's claim because according to a lawyer who represented Wooten early in the proceedings, Wooten suffered from chronic senile dementia.

Administrative Law Judge Robert Andretta dismissed the complaint against Wooten. Judge Andretta ruled that the evidence did not show that Wooten had stated a preference against renting the property to families with children. He said that the record did not establish that the speaker on the first telephone call was an agent of Wooten. Even if she was, Judge Andretta said, she expressed concern in the telephone conversation only with how White would pay the rent and not about White's familial status. Judge Andretta said that the second time that White called and actually spoke to Wooten, Wooten did not express a preference for a renter without children, but actually "seem[ed] delighted" at the prospect of renting to White, her supposed husband, and her child.

Judge Andretta denied a motion by White to amend the complaint to add a claim under section 818 of the Fair Housing Act alleging illegal interference with her housing rights based on two telephone calls that
Wooten made to White's grandfather after she filed her discrimination complaint. Judge Andretta found that it would be prejudicial to Wooten's rights to allow this claim to be raised so long after White filed her initial complaint. [HUD v. Wooten, No. HUDALJ 05-99-0045-8 (HUD Office of Admin. Law Judges 12-2-04)]

Counsel: Courtney Minor (HUD)

Second Kitchens in Group Homes May Be Reasonable Accommodation for Disabled Residents

[ 1.6] A zoning variance to permit two kitchens in foster care homes for disabled elderly residents could be a reasonable accommodation within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, a federal district ruled in November.

Essling Homes' Plus, a corporation owned by Judith and Bridget Essling, operated foster care facilities for disabled elderly residents in two single family houses in St. Paul, Minnesota. The zoning code permitted houses in the area in which the facilities were located to have only one dwelling unit.

One of the houses had a second kitchen in the basement added by the Esslings before they began to operate the house as a foster care facility in 1998. In 2003, after an inspection of the property, the city zoning administrator instructed them to remove one of the kitchens because the presence of two kitchens made the house a building with two dwelling units. The Esslings appealed the decision to the St. Paul city council, but it upheld the decision of the zoning administrator and zoning board.

In 2004, the Esslings asked to city to issue a zoning variance to permit them to add a kitchen to the ground floor of the second facility. The city denied their request.

The Esslings sued St. Paul under the Fair Housing Act, and the federal and state equal protection clauses. They alleged that the city's refusal to permit them to add second kitchens in the foster care facilities violated the reasonable accommodation provisions of the Fair Housing
Act. They also charged that the city had violated their equal protection rights because the city did not enforce the ordinance at issue against other single family homes with second kitchens.

District Court Judge Michael Davis denied the city's motion for summary judgment on the Esslings' reasonable accommodation claim. He found that Essling had established a prima facie case that the accommodation was
reasonable and necessary. The Esslings had provided affidavits and other evidence that the residents lacked mobility and would benefit from the kitchens because with accessible kitchens on the ground floor "even residents who use wheelchairs or walkers have a measure of independence
and mobility in their daily living and enjoyment of home life." Judge
Davis rejected the city's argument that while the additional kitchens
might be convenient, they were not necessary and were not reasonably
related to the residents' disabilities. He also ruled that the city had not presented sufficient evidence that permitting the kitchens "would
involve any financial or administrative burden, impose any undue hardship upon it, or require any fundamental or substantial modification to its programs."

Judge Davis held additionally that Essling had stated equal protection claims by presenting evidence that the city had not taken enforcement action against approximately 100 other single family homes with second kitchens. [Esslings' Homes Plus, Inc. v. City of St. Paul, No. 04-1115
(MJD/JGL) (D. Minn. 11-12-04)]

Counsel: Joanne Haase, Minneapolis, MN (Essling's Home Plus); Eric Larson, St. Paul City Attorney (St. Paul)

In Brief

[ 1.7] HIV-positive tenant states discrimination claim. A Florida appeals court ruled in November that, an HIV-positive tenant stated a discrimination claim under the Florida Civil Rights Act against a landlord who had asked him to move even though the landlord did not initiate eviction proceedings against him.

Wayne Belletete rented a room in Hollywood, Florida, from Gloria Halford. Belletete shared a bathroom and a common area with two other tenants. After one of the tenants complained to Halford about having to share a bathroom with Belletete, Halford asked Belletete to move. Belletete moved out of the house. He then filed a lawsuit in Florida state court, alleging that Halford had discriminated against him on the basis of disability in violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act and the Florida Fair Housing Act.

A trial court judge entered summary judgment for Halford. The judge ruled that Halford had not violated the Florida Civil Rights Act or the Florida Fair Housing Act because she had not taken any legal action against Belletete to interfere with his tenancy.

In a per curiam decision, the Florida Court of Appeals reversed. The court ruled that the Florida Civil Rights Act authorizes any individual who believes himself to be aggrieved under the provisions of the act to bring a cause of action. Nowhere does the statute state that "any specific conduct, such as eviction, is a prerequisite to bringing a cause of action," the court said.

The appeals court also held that legal action by a landlord is not a
prerequisite to a lawsuit under the Florida Fair Housing Act. However, the court affirmed the summary judgment order dismissing this claim because it found that Belletete had not exhausted his administrative remedies as the statute required. [Belletete v. Halford, No. 4D03-4150 (Fla.App. 11-10-04)]

  Counsel: Edward Holodak, Hollywood, FL (Belletete); Linda Houghtaling,
Miami, FL (Halford)

[ 1.8] Minnesota landlord required to accept tenant's Section 8 voucher. A landlord violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act by refusing to accept Section 8 vouchers from a disabled tenant, a Minnesota court has ruled.

Maria Rodriguez, who is physically and mentally disabled, rented an apartment in the Brookdale Apartments in St. Paul. The Brookdale
Apartments are owned by the Berwald Investment Company and managed by
Charles Rundquist. Rodriguez used section 8 funds for her rent from 1994 to 2001, but in 2001 Rundquist informed Rodriguez that Brookdale would no longer accept Section 8 vouchers, and Rodriguez was forced to move out.
She was homeless for four months.

Rodriguez sued Rundquist and Berwald, under a Minnesota Human Rights Act provision that prohibits discrimination based on "status with regard to public assistance." District Court Judge Gary Bastian entered partial summary judgment on liability in favor of Rodriguez. In July 2004,
District Judge David C. Higgs ordered the defendants to pay Rodriguez damages totaling $5,438.75. [Rodriguez v. Rundquist, No. C6-02-010293
(Minn. 2d Dist. Ct. 7-30-03 (order of partial summary judgment); 7-21-04 (findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order for judgment)]

Counsel: Laura Jelinek, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, St. Paul, MN (Rodriquez); Kenneth Hertz, Columbia Heights, MN (Rundquist)

[ 1.9] Damage award affirmed in negligence case based on reasonable accommodation duty. The California Court of Appeal has affirmed a judgment for damages in a case in which a plaintiff alleged that he suffered physical injuries as a result of his landlord's refusal to make reasonable accommodations for his disability.

Edward Saedi is a paraplegic and must use a wheelchair for mobility. He lived in a California apartment building owned by Fred Kriz and managed
by Shahrzad Khosrovani. Initially, he was assigned two adjoining parking
places to allow him to move his wheelchair to his car, but after Khosrovani became manager he was reassigned to a single parking place that was not accessible to persons with mobility impairments. Saedi fell and injured himself while he was trying to move from his wheelchair to his car when it was parked in the inaccessible parking place.

Saedi sued Kriz and Khosrovani after he was injured. He alleged negligence, the intentional infliction of emotional harm, and the violation of disability discrimination laws. A jury returned a verdict awarding him$250,000 in damages as well as attorneys' fees.

Kriz and Khosrovani appealed the verdict. In an unpublished opinion written by Judge Walter Croskey, an appeals panel affirmed the verdict.
The panel rejected the defendants' contention that the trial court had erred in the admission of evidence and in the instruction of the jury.
[Saedi v. Kriz, No. B167250 (Cal.App., 2d Dist. 11-10-04)]

Counsel: David Geffen (Saedi); Larry N. Willis (Kriz)

Recent Settlements

[ 1.10] The following settlements have been entered.

A New York City cooperative housing development has agreed to pay $130,000 to resolve claims that it refused to permit a brother and sister to purchase an apartment because of their race, national origin, and religion.

The Justice Department sued the Hillman House Corporation on behalf of Cynthia Liu and Robert Liao. Liu and Liao are Chinese-Americans and are not Jewish. Hillman House owns and operates two cooperative housing developments in New York City. According to the complaint. Liu and Liao attempted to purchase a studio apartment in one of the buildings, but the cooperative board refused to approve their application. The board later approved the application for the apartment of a Jewish male whose financial qualifications were inferior to those of Liu and Liao.

Liu and Liao filed a HUD complaint. HUD issued a finding of reasonable cause, and Hillman House elected to have the claim resolved in federal court.

In October, the parties filed a consent decree resolving the claims against Hillman House. Under the terms of the order, Hillman House will pay Liu and Liao $130,000. It also agreed not to discriminate and to post equal housing opportunity notices in its offices and on its application forms. Hillman House denied liability. [US v. Hillman House Corp., No. 02
Civ. 0626 (GEL) (S.D.N.Y. 10-27-04 (consent decree entered))]

Counsel: Elizabeth Wolstein, Ass't U.S. Attorney, New York, NY (U.S.); Mitchell Haddad of Weil, Gotschal & Manges, New York, NY (Hillman House)

The Justice Apartment announced in November that the city of Janesville, Wisconsin has agreed to a consent decree resolving claims that it discriminated on the basis of race and national origin when it denied zoning permission for the construction of a manufactured home community in the city.

In 1998, Cindy and Kenneth Kuhr filed a zoning application for the construction of a 116-lot manufactured home community they wished to build in Janesville. Janesville has about 800 residents. As of the 2000 census, two Janesville residents were Hispanic and none were Bosnian or Eastern European. During city council hearings on the Kuhrs' zoning request, a Janesville resident who was to become a city council member objected to the zoning request because she thought the development would attract Mexicans, Bosnians, and other minorities to the city. The city council denied the Kuhrs' application and they did not build the development.

In November, the Justice Department sued Janesville. A consent decree was filed concurrently with the complaint. Under the terms of the decree, Janesville will pay the Kuhrs $45,000. The city will also pay a $10,000 civil penalty. City workers will participate in fair housing training, and the city will implement a fair housing outreach plan. The city denied liability. [U.S. v. City of Janesville, Iowa, No 6:04-CV-02074-LRR (N.D.Iowa 11-15-04 (consent decree entered))]

Counsel: Keisha Bell, Dept. of Justice, Washington DC (U.S.); Kevin Rogers, Waterloo, IA (Janesville)

The owner of a Chicago apartment building has agreed to pay $40,000 to resolve claims that she discriminated on the basis of familial status.

Susan Brewster wished to sublet an apartment in a building owned by Demetra Vlahakis. Brewster intended to live in the apartment with her teen aged daughter. However, Vlahakis told her, as well as the tenants who wished to sublet the apartment, that she did not want to rent to families with children.

Brewster filed a discrimination complaint with HUD and the Justice Department filed a lawsuit on behalf of her and her daughter.

Vlahakis agreed to settle the claims against her. Under the terms of a consent decree filed in October, Vlahakis will pay Brewster $32,500. She also agreed to pay $7,500 into an account to be used to pay any other persons who have been harmed by her practices. In addition, Vlahakis will participate in fair housing education. [US v. Vlahakis, No. 04C 3211 (N.D.Ill. 10-26-04 (consent order entered))]

Counsel: Avery Johnson, Dept. of Justice, Washington DC (U.S.); Leslie Matlaw, Chicago, IL (Brewster); Anthony Barone, Oak Brook, IL (Vlahakis)

The owner and the manager of a personal care facility in Pennsylvania
have agreed to a $9,000 damage award under the terms of a consent decree resolving claims that they violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to
rent to a person with AIDS.

Douglas Kirkland, who is now deceased, had AIDS. In 2002, he applied to live at the Boyers Personal Care Home in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. Boyers was owned by David Boyers and managed by Sarah Grant. Boyers did not accept Kirkland's application.

Kirkland and the Beaver County AIDS Service Organization filed a HUD complaint, charging that Boyers had discriminated against Kirkland on the basis of disability. The Justice Department sued Boyers and Grant on behalf of Kirkland and the AIDS Service Organization.

The parties agreed to a consent decree resolving the claims. Under the terms of the settlement, Boyers and Grant will pay the estate of Kirkland $7,000 and the AIDS Service Organization $2,000. They will also participate in fair housing training and comply with record keeping requirements set out in the decree. [US v. Boyers, No. 04-CV-1493 (W.D.Pa. 10-12-04 (consent order entered))]

Counsel: Kathleen Pennington, Dept. of Justice, Washington DC (U.S.); Frank Kelker, Rochester, PA (Boyers)

The Justice Department announced in November that a consent decree has been entered in a disability discrimination case it brought against the city of Hanford, California in which it alleged that the city violated the reasonable accommodation provisions of the Fair Housing Act by refusing to allow a group home for seven mentally ill residents to continue to operate in a single family neighborhood. The Justice Department initiated the action after the city sued the owners of the home in state court seeking to have the home closed. The city obtained a judgment against the owners. Four residents requested that they be permitted to continue to live in the home as an accommodation for their disabilities, but the city never responded to their request.

Under the terms of the consent decree, the city agreed to cease its efforts to close the home. It also adopted a municipal ordinance that provides a procedure by which reasonable accommodation requests may be made. The city will pay a total of $55,000 in damages. [US v. City of Hanford, No. CVF-04-6340 AWI SMS (E.D.Cal.)]

Counsel: Nancy Langworthy, Dept. of Justice, Washington DC (U.S.) Michael Noland, Hanford, CA (Hanford)

HUD News

Boston Developer Will Abate Lead Hazards in Seven States and DC

[ 1.12] HUD announced in November that Winn Residential Ltd., a Boston-based real estate company, has agreed to remove lead paint hazards from approximately 10,400 apartments. The apartments are located in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, California, New York, Rhode, Island, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Washington DC. Under the terms of the agreement between HUD and Winn Residential, Winn, which manages more than 235 housing projects, will also pay a $105,000 civil penalty.

Falls Church, Virginia Agrees to Conciliation Agreement Resolving Familial Status Discrimination Allegations

[ 1.13] HUD has entered into a conciliation agreement with the city of Falls Church, Virginia and the developers o f a luxury condominium in Falls Church, resolving claims of familial status discrimination.

HUD initiated an investigation after the developers of the Broadway, a high rise condominium, and the city of Falls Church agreed during negotiations about the rezoning of the property on which the development was to be located that the condominium would make school-impact contributions based on the number of children that actually moved into the building rather than on the number of units in the building. According to HUD, the city reconsidered this arrangement and changed its mind after determining that the arrangement could create the impression that it condoned familial status discrimination. Several months later, the Equal Rights Center filed an administrative complaint against the developers and the city.

Under the terms of the conciliation agreement, Falls Church agree not to assess school impact contributions in the manner initially proposed. The developers will contribute $120,000 to the Equal Rights Congress and the Equal Rights Congress will conduct fair housing training for the respondents. The city and the Equal Rights Congress will also co-host a fair housing conference for northern Virginia.

In This Report

The following cases are published Federal Court Decisions

Wallace v. Chicago Housing Authority [ 16,810] class certification

Home Quest Mortgage v. American Family Mutual Ins. Co. [ 16,811] insurance; Fair Housing Act

DeLong v. Walkup [ 16,812] summary judgment

McGary v. City of Portland [ 16,813] disability

Mitchell v. Cellone [ 16,814] right of action

State Court Decisions

Belletete v. Halford [ 18,388] Florida law

Nazarinia v. Washington Mutual Bank [ 18,389] appeals review

HUD Administrative Decision

HUD v. Senior Nevada Benefits Group [ 25,167] race