On September 20, 2010, the United States filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3612(o) against the owners of a single family home, their real estate agent and his employer, and a real estate brokerage firm. ...
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On September 20, 2010, the United States filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3612(o) against the owners of a single family home, their real estate agent and his employer, and a real estate brokerage firm. The plaintiff filed the action on behalf of an African-American family (and their real estate agent) to whom the defendants refused to sell their home on the basis of their race. The plaintiff sought injunctive, declaratory and monetary relief, and civil penalties.
The plaintiff alleged that when the owner first engaged the services of a real estate agent, he told the agent that he would prefer not to sell to a black family, but that for the right price, he didn't care who bought it. The agent found the family, negotiated with their agent and, on behalf of the owners, agreed to a price and drafted a sales contract. The owners discovered the family was black and refused to sign the sales contract, saying they had changed their minds about moving, had trouble finding a new home, trouble finding a suitable school, and other reasons the family found pretextual.
On January 28, 2010, the family filed a charge with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. After an investigation, HUD found reasonable cause to believe that the owners had violated the Fair Housing Act. The owners then offered the home to the family, but at a much higher price. The family refused and the lawsuit was filed.
On November 09, 2011, the Court (Judge Der-Yeghiayan) approved a three-year Partial Final Consent Order agreed to by the Plaintiff, the real estate agent, his employer, and the brokerage firm (the "Settling Defendants"). The Consent Decree did not include the homeowners, the claims against whom were still to be litigated. The Consent Decree 1) enjoined the settling defendants from refusing to sell or negotiate on the basis of race or color, and 2) ordered Defendants to pay $30,000 in compensatory damages. It also required training and education for new agents, notice of non-discrimination policies and other injunctive relief.
On July 27, 2012, a second final partial consent decree was approved by the judge between the plaintiff and the owners. This 3-year decree required the owners to agree to non-discriminatory practices, to permit compliance testing and monitoring, and to pay $6,000 to the family's realtor.Denise Heberle - 08/02/2012