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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States v. Peterson FH-MI-0008
Docket / Court 2:09-cv-10333-JAC-DAS ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On January 29, 2009, the United States Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District for the Eastern District of Michigan, under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3614(a), against a local property owner and his property manager. At issue was the treatment of female tenants in several ... read more >
On January 29, 2009, the United States Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District for the Eastern District of Michigan, under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3614(a), against a local property owner and his property manager. At issue was the treatment of female tenants in several single-family dwellings in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The U.S. alleged that the property manager engaged in a pattern and practice of subjecting current and prospective female tenants to sexual discrimination and harassment, and that the owner knew or should have know of his behavior and took no action to stop it. The complaint (subsequently amended) sought declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief along with civil penalties.

The specific facts alleged were that the property manager demanded sexual favors from female tenants in exchange for rental and for services, subjected them to unwanted verbal sexual advances; entered the apartments of female tenants without permission or notice; granted and denied tangible housing benefits based on sex; and took adverse action against female tenants when they refused or objected to his sexual advances.

A jury found liability in the amount of $115,000 on August 6, 2010. On September 20, the U.S. then sought injunctive relief and penalties, which District Judge Julian Abele Cook granted on March 3, 2011. The Order imposed the maximum allowable $55,000 in civil penalties against the property manager and $27,500 against the owner. Additionally, it imposed a fairly detailed injunction:
  • It imposed a general prohibition against gender discrimination.
  • It required the owners to adopt and distribute written non-discrimination policies, identifying and giving contact information for the owner and any manger, and providing information necessary for filing a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Defendants were required to post EHO signs and to receive and provide EHO for the owners and any current and future employees.
  • It required detailed record-keeping and reporting requirements to allow compliance monitoring.
  • It permanently prohibits the property manager, from ever having "any involvement in the management, rental, or maintenance of any dwelling, as defined by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 802(b)."


The case terminated on May 18, 2011.

Asma Husain - 02/07/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Provide antidiscrimination training
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Defendant-type
Single family housing provider
Discrimination-area
Housing Sales/Rental
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Housing
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
Defendant(s) First Pitch Properties, LLC
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2009 - 2014
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Insurer Must Pay $100.5 Million in Redlining Case
The New York Times
Written: Oct. 27, 1998
By: Joseph B. Treaster
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Nationwide Settles Virginia Redlining Suit
Property Casualty 360
Written: May. 06, 2000
By: Amanda Levin
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Origins of Fair Lending Litigation
Written: Dec. 04, 2008
By: Andrew Nash (Washington University in St. Louis)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:09-cv-10333 (E.D. Mich.) 05/18/2011
FH-MI-0008-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint and Request for Jury Trial 01/29/2009
FH-MI-0008-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint and Request For Jury Trial 12/10/2009
FH-MI-0008-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment for Plaintiff Jury Verdict 08/06/2010 (E.D. Mich.)
FH-MI-0008-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Motion for Civil Penalties and Injunctive Relief 09/20/2010
FH-MI-0008-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant Peterson's Answer to Plaintiff's Motion for Civil Penalties and Injunctive Relief 10/04/2010
FH-MI-0008-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion for Civil Penalties and Injunctive Relief 03/03/2011 (E.D. Mich.)
FH-MI-0008-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Cook, Julian Abele Jr. (E.D. Mich.)
FH-MI-0008-0002 | FH-MI-0008-0003 | FH-MI-0008-0006 | FH-MI-0008-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Berg, Terrence George (Michigan)
FH-MI-0008-0001 | FH-MI-0008-0004
Filip, Mark R. (Illinois)
FH-MI-0008-0004
King, Loretta (District of Columbia)
FH-MI-0008-0004
Levy, Judith Ellen (Michigan)
FH-MI-0008-0001 | FH-MI-0008-0004 | FH-MI-0008-0005 | FH-MI-0008-9000
McAllister, Jennifer E. (District of Columbia)
FH-MI-0008-0004 | FH-MI-0008-0005 | FH-MI-0008-9000
Moran, Timothy (District of Columbia)
FH-MI-0008-0001
Murphy, Donna M. (District of Columbia)
FH-MI-0008-0004
Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)
FH-MI-0008-0001
Ziedas, Tauras N. (Michigan)
FH-MI-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Courtright, Cornelius J. (Michigan)
FH-MI-0008-9000
Ferris, Donald W. Jr. (Michigan)
FH-MI-0008-0006 | FH-MI-0008-9000
Goldstein, David I. (Michigan)
FH-MI-0008-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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