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Case Name National Fair Housing Alliance v. HHHunt Corporation FH-VA-0004
Docket / Court 7:11-cv-00131-JCT ( W.D. Va. )
State/Territory Virginia
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Attorney Organization Relman, Dane & Colfax
Case Summary
On March 17, 2011, the National Fair Housing Alliance and Paralyzed Veterans of America filed this suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq., against Virginia-based real estate development company HHHunt ... read more >
On March 17, 2011, the National Fair Housing Alliance and Paralyzed Veterans of America filed this suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq., against Virginia-based real estate development company HHHunt Corporation, and a multitude of affiliated designers, builders, managers, and owners of nine apartment complexes throughout the Southeast.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs, represented by Relman, Dane & Colfax, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, and damages, claiming that the defendants discriminated against people with disabilities, in violation of the FHA. Specifically, the FHA requires that certain apartment complexes built for first occupancy after March 13, 1991 be designed and constructed with accessible and adaptable features for people with disabilities. The plaintiffs alleged, however, that since at least 2002 the defendants engaged in a continuous pattern or practice of discrimination by designing and building multifamily dwellings without these required features, thereby denying people with disabilities the use of these facilities.

On April 5, 2012, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, adding as defendant J. Davis Architects, which the plaintiffs alleged was the design architect on at least one of the subject properties. The amended complaint also named as defendants several property managers, and the plaintiffs asked the court to enjoin these managers from refusing to permit surveys and retrofits of the subject properties.

On October 26, 2012, the District Court (Judge James C. Turk) entered a stipulated judgment, evincing the terms of a settlement agreement between the plaintiffs and all the defendants except J. Davis Architects. Under the agreement, HHHunt agreed to permit accessibility surveys by a third party inspector of the nine subject properties and to retrofit inaccessible features within one to three years. Specifically, HHHunt agreed to change entry doors with high thresholds, remove large steps that block routes to entry doors, correct hazardously steep sidewalk slopes, provide adequate accessible parking, and ensure that kitchens and bathrooms have sufficient maneuvering space for wheelchair users. HHHunt also committed to pay an undisclosed sum for the plaintiffs' costs and attorneys' fees. The District Court retained jurisdiction to designate a Magistrate Judge or another person to resolve disputes between the parties.

Following the settlement, the only remaining claims in the lawsuit were those against J. Davis Architects. The plaintiffs contended that J. Davis drafted architectural plans for at least one of the subject properties that contained design elements that violated that FHA. After some disagreement, the parties ultimately stipulated that J. Davis had a connection to two of the subject properties.

J. Davis next moved for partial summary judgment, arguing that one of the plaintiffs' claims was barred by the statute of limitations. The District Court (Judge Turk) denied the motion on January 29, 2013, finding that the plaintiffs had sufficiently alleged that the claim was timely, because the challenged conduct was not an isolated occurrence, but rather part of a pattern or practice that amounted to a continuing violation of the FHA. Nat'l Fair Hous. Alliance, Inc. v. HHHunt Corp., 919 F. Supp. 2d 712 (W.D. Va. 2013).

Nearly one year passed with little court activity. On January 14, 2014, the District Court entered an order dismissing the action with prejudice, upon motion of the plaintiffs and J. Davis. The joint motion contained no additional terms, and it is unclear if it was predicated on a private settlement agreement.

While the District Court presently considers this entire matter closed, it presumably still has limited jurisdiction to resolve disputes arising under the October 2012 settlement agreement until October 26, 2015.

Megan Richardson - 11/13/2014
Robert Lake - 07/03/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Reporting
Defendant-type
Multi-family housing provider
Disability
Mobility impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to public accommodations - privately owned
Housing
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
Defendant(s) HH Hunt Corporation
J. Davis Architects, PLLC
Plaintiff Description The National Fair Housing Alliance and Paralyzed Veterans of America - two nonprofit organizations
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Relman, Dane & Colfax
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration 2012 - 2015
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)
7:11−cv−00131 (W.D. Va.) 01/15/2014
FH-VA-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [Jury Demand] 03/15/2011
FH-VA-0004-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint 04/04/2012
FH-VA-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Consent Motion to Amend Complaint and Add a Party Defendant 04/09/2012 (W.D. Va.)
FH-VA-0004-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Judgment [Settlement Agreement] 10/25/2012
FH-VA-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Judgment 10/26/2012
FH-VA-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion 01/29/2013 (919 F.Supp.2d 712) (W.D. Va.)
FH-VA-0004-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Protective Order 11/12/2013 (W.D. Va.)
FH-VA-0004-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Dismissal with Prejudice 01/14/2014 (W.D. Va.)
FH-VA-0004-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Turk, James Clinton (W.D. Va.)
FH-VA-0004-0002 | FH-VA-0004-0003 | FH-VA-0004-0005 | FH-VA-0004-0006 | FH-VA-0004-0007 | FH-VA-0004-0008 | FH-VA-0004-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allen, Michael Gerhart (District of Columbia)
FH-VA-0004-0001 | FH-VA-0004-0004 | FH-VA-0004-9000
Dane, Stephen M. (District of Columbia)
FH-VA-0004-0001 | FH-VA-0004-0004
Keary, Thomas J. (District of Columbia)
FH-VA-0004-0001 | FH-VA-0004-0004 | FH-VA-0004-9000
Pagnucco, Carrie (District of Columbia)
FH-VA-0004-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Balus, Allison Dana (Nebraska)
FH-VA-0004-9000
Moore, Scott P. (Nebraska)
FH-VA-0004-9000
Stevens, Christopher W. (Virginia)
FH-VA-0004-9000
Wilkins, Ryan Douglas (Nebraska)
FH-VA-0004-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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