Litigation Updates

Settled: DUNBAR v. NORTH PARK COOPERATIVE

Monday, 20 July 2015

Cooperating Attorney Steve Tomkowiak has informed FHCMD that the federal litigation of DELORES DUNBAR V NORTH PARK COOPERATIVE and P.P.S. OF MICHIGAN has been settled. The plaintiff is an elderly woman who at the age of 73 at the time requested reserved handicap parking closer to her dwelling at North Park Cooperative. 

New Filing: TINSLEY v. SHORELINE EAST CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION

Monday, 20 July 2015

Cooperating Attorneys Matthew Clark and Denise Heberle have informed FHCMD that a federal court action has been filed on behalf Eddie Tinsley, a disabled person against the Shoreline East Condominium Association. The plaintiff claims that the Condo Association has systemically refused to grant his Requests for reasonable accommodations such as a reserved accessible parking spot, use of common areas, and use of the valet service available to other residents. The case is assigned to the Honorable Laurie J. Michaelson.

New Filing: SIMMONS v. GROSSE POINTE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION

Monday, 20 July 2015

FHCMD Cooperating Attorney John M. Lucas has filed a federal court lawsuit on behalf of Joan Simmons, a disabled person against the Grosse Pointe Condominium Association and Vision Property Management Group, LLC located in Harper Woods, Michigan.  Ms. Simmons repeatedly requested that she be provided with a reserved handicap parking spot at her condominium. Her treating physician provided medical verification of her disability and the owner/property manager refused. After reviewing the facts and supporting evidence referred Ms. Simmons to Attorney Lucas. The Honorable Mark A. Goldsmith is the assigned judge in this matter.

Settled: ROBINSON v. ARMSTRONG

Tuesday, 02 December 2014

Lisa Robinson, the mother of bi-racial children, one of whom is with disabilities, was threatened with what appeared to be a racially-motivated eviction by her landlord, who informed her that the African American father of her children was not allowed to visit her and his children, although similarly white residents were not threatened.

Settled: UNITED STATES v. VANDERVENNEN

Tuesday, 02 December 2014

The staff of the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan (FHCWM) in Grand Rapids was crucial in gathering evidence and assisting the United States Department of Justice in the filing of a sexual harassment in United States v. Vandervennen. The case settled for $510,000 to be paid by the defendants to victims of the defendant as well as a $40,000 civil penalty to the federal government. Congratulations to the FHCWM and the DOJ attorneys for obtaining such an outstanding result.

Settled: AUSTIN v. CITIMORTGAGE

Tuesday, 02 December 2014

FHCMD Cooperating Attorney Steve Tomkowiak reports that his action of behalf of Brandi Austin against CitiMortgage, Inc., involving an attempted racially-motivated foreclosure by the defendant, in violation of numerous mandates and federal statutes by refusing to allow Ms. Austin to obtain a modification of her mortgage in violation of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). 

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.

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