Our Litigation Log

The Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan’s Litigation Log

It is understood that in all “settled” cases reported on this site, the defendant, unless otherwise noted, denies the allegations of discrimination made by the plaintiff, and the parties have agreed to resolve the case prior to a trial on the merits. Cases are listed by date of intake.

Total disclosed settlements:

$1,694,002

Total Conciliation’s (FHC/HUD/MDCR) and
estimate of non-disclosed settlements:

$433,465

TOTAL SETTLEMENTS 12/20/2016:

$2,127,467


#W07-14, Abrams v Adams, Ypsilanti. Court: Federal, Settlement: $20,000

Picture 1 of 21

#W07-14, Abrams v Adams, Ypsilanti. Court: Federal, Settlement: $20,000


#W16-71
Cox v East Bay and Hastings Mutual 
Fenton

Denise Cox and her mother accepted $40,000 to settle their case against Hastings Mutual Insurance Company and East Bay Mobile Home Community.  Citing insurance company breed restrictions, the property refused to allow her to keep her emotional support animal, a pit bull called Kylie. Ms. Cox lived on the property with Kylie for two years without incident. To prevent an eviction from their mobile home, Ms. Cox was forced to be separated from her dog.  The suit was filed on September 9, 2016 by FHC Cooperating Attorney Steve Tomkowiak. Ms. Cox and her mother sued the mobile home community, East Bay, as well as the property’s insurance company. The case was assigned to the Honorable Victoria A. Roberts.

On October 17, 2016, the dog was allowed to return home. The settlement agreement also included changes in policies by both East Bay Manufactured Home Community and Hasting Mutual Insurance Company. Hasting Mutual agreed to modify its underwriting rules relating to its animal policies and accommodation requests, and undertake staff training regarding assistance animals. East Bay agreed to modify its community rules and regulations with respect to Emotional Service Animal requests.

HUD guidelines require owners and insurers to evaluate each emotional service animal on a case by case basis.

Court: Federal
Settlement: $40,000 + change in policies 

 


#W15-10
Lakin v Fontaine Gardens Apartments
Saginaw

Chelsae Lakin accepted an undisclosed amount to settle her fair housing case. The suit was filed October 14, 2015 by FHC Cooperating Attorneys Stephen M. Dane and Jia Cobb from Relman, Dane & Colfax with assistance from local Cooperating Attorney Thomas Daniels of Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels. FHC testing supports rental agent Chelsae Lakin’s claim that her employers Sakti and Papri Pramanik instructed her to discriminate against families with a child. Ms. Lakin contacted the FHC on her first day of work. The case was assigned to the Honorable Thomas L. Ludington.

Court: Federal
Settlement: non-disclosed 

 


#W14-36
Scott v Swan Creek
Ypsilanti Township

Paula Scott accepted a non-disclosed amount to settle her race discrimination claim against Swan Creek Mobile Home Community in Ypsilanti Township. Ms. Scott contacted the Fair Housing Center to report that she received an eviction notice after her 17 year old daughter was the victim of an assault by the mother of another resident in the mobile home park.  The Scott family is African American and the other family is white. The agent for the Swan Creek took a statement from the white family, but never spoke with the Scott’s.

On September 26, 2014, a jury convicted Amanda Cadreau of assault and battery against Zakara Scott.  LSSCM and FHC Cooperating Attorney, Steve Tomkowiak, assisted in halting the eviction. Mr. Tomkowiak agreed to continue with the civil rights portion of the case and, on December 2014, filed suit on behalf of the Scott family against Swan Creek in U.S. Federal District Court. The case was assigned to the Honorable Bernard A. Friedman. The case settled on July 21, 2015 following a settlement conference before Magistrate-Judge Michael J. Hluchaniuk.

Court: Federal
Settlement: non-disclosed 

 


#W14-33
Cusumano v Heartland Meadows
Hartland

Phillip Cusumano, who uses a wheelchair and has a visual impairment, contacted the Fair Housing Center to report blocked sidewalks in his mobile home community. FHC staff wrote a letter to the property manager asking them to keep cars from parking on the sidewalks. When the owner failed to enforce their own parking rules, the Cusumano’s decided to sue. The case was filed in 2014 by FHC Cooperating Attorney Steve Tomkowiak.  The case settled for an undisclosed amount on August 25, 2016. The case was assigned to the Honorable Matthew F. Leitman.

Court: Federal
Settlement: non-disclosed 

 



#W13-19
FHC v Parkside East et. al
East Lansing

The FHC initiated a housing discrimination lawsuit against several multi-family apartment properties in Michigan owned, operated, and/or managed by Sudi Hopper. Testing showed evidence of discrimination against families with children. The properties include Parkside Apartments in East Lansing, Holt Manor Apartments in Holt, and Kelly Manor Apartments in Owosso. FHC testers posing as a single parent with a young child were told that children were not allowed to live in one-bedroom apartments. Testers without children who inquired about the availability of one-bedroom units for themselves and a spouse were asked to confirm that they did not have children, told that apartments were available, provided additional information about the units, and invited to view the apartments.  This survey testing was initialed by a call from a woman who did not have standing to pursue a familial status claim.

FHC Cooperating Attorneys Jia Cobb and Stephen M. Dane of Relman, Dane & Colfax, along with local counsel Thomas Daniels and Matthew Daniels of Pear, Sperling, Eggan & Daniels, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Fair Housing Center. The case, filed in U.S. Federal District Court on May 7, 2015, was assigned to the Honorable Sean F. Cox. The case was settled on October 8, 2015.

The Fair Housing Center also asked the U.S. Department of Justice to look into the allegations of discrimination at the properties. The DOJ took action based on the FHC’s testing and filed a lawsuit on November 19, 2015. The case settled on August 30, 2016. According to a separate press release by the Department of Justice, “under the consent decree, which still must be approved by the court, the defendants would create a settlement fund of $20,000 to compensate victims of their discriminatory practices. The defendants also would pay $5,000 in civil penalties to the U.S. Government.

Court: Federal
Settlement: $20,000
DOJ Consent Decree: $20,000 settlement fund for victims + $5000 in civil 
penalties

 


#W13-06
Pippens v Trkula
Monroe

#W13-06 Pippens v Trkula was settled on November 14, 2013. Cicily Pippens accepted $20,000 to settle her familial status complaint against Mildred Trkula. FHC testing supported Cicily Pippens’ claim of discrimination. Ms. Trkula must attend fair housing training and a lien is placed on her properties until the settlement is paid in full. FHC Cooperating Attorney Steve Tomkowiak filed the case in U.S. Federal District Court on behalf of Ms. Pippens. The case was assigned to Judge Victoria Roberts.

Court: Federal
Settlement: $20,000

 


#W11-69
Hargraves v Spiridakos
Okemos

Hargraves v Spiridakos was filed in U.S. Federal District Court in February, 2012. Plaintiff Matthew Hargraves contacted the FHC after a property owner in Okemos, Michigan refused to allow him to rent a house because he has four children. FHC testing supported his claim of discrimination based on familial status. FHC Cooperating Attorney Jonathan Weber filed on behalf of Mr. Hargraves. The case was assigned to Judge Robert Holmes Bell. This is the first FHC-Southeast-aided fair housing suit to come from Ingham County. FHC staff and volunteer testers were deposed prior to the $10,500 settlement. A portion of the settlement will pay for fair housing training for the owners.

Court: Federal
Settlement: $10,500

 


#W11-32

Ball v Wenger
Northfield Township

Peg Ball has a disability, uses a wheelchair, and makes use of a trained service dog called Deniro. She contacted the FHC to report a Livingston County property owner who said he would, under no circumstances, take a tenant with a dog. FHC advised Ms. Ball to write a letter to the owner explaining that Deniro was a service animal and not a pet. FHC testing supports the claim of disability discrimination by confirming the no service animal policy. FHC Cooperating Attorney Jonathan G. Weber filed the case in U.S. Federal District Court on behalf of Ms. Ball. The case was assigned to Judge George Carem Steeh.

Court: Federal
Settlement: $5,250

 


#W09-96

Kraehnke v Shamrock
Monroe

Cassandra Kraehnke contacted the FHC to report that her family was denied the rental of a mobile home in Monroe because she had one child and was pregnant with a second. Ms. Kraehnke said the agent told her that the property had a “one child policy” and thus her family could not live there because she was expecting a second child. FHC testing supported their claim. FHC Cooperating Attorney Michael Gatti filed the case on behalf of the Kraehnkes. The case was assigned to Federal Judge David M. Lawson.

Court: Federal
Settlement: Non-disclosed

 


#W08-40

FHC v Ivanhoe House Apartments
Ann Arbor

After several years of testing Ivanhoe Apartments for possible violations of fair housing law, the FHC filed suit against the owner and resident manager of the housing complex. To investigate allegations of race discrimination the FHC sent African-American and white test teams to Ivanhoe Apartments. Testing evidence supported the claims of race discrimination. The FHC Board voted to act a plaintiff. (The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Havens v Coleman recognizes the right of fair housing organizations to sue for damages under the Federal Fair Housing Act.)

Cooperating Attorneys D. Scott Chang and Stephen M. Dane from the law firm of Relman & Dane, and Stephen R. Tomkowiak filed the case on behalf of the Fair Housing Center. Judith Levy and Holly Lincoln from the Department of Justice represented the U.S. The case was assigned to Federal Judge Sean F. Cox.

Court: Federal
Settlement: $82,500 ($35,000 for victims/ $7,500 in civil penalties)

 


#W08-28

Hatch v Flying Dutchman
Ann Arbor Township

FHC Cooperating Attorney Jonathan G. Weber filed suit on behalf of the Hatch family in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The suit, filed on February 15, 2010, was assigned to Judge Arthur J. Tarnow. Testing by the Fair Housing Center supports a claim of discrimination based on race. Four of the five members of the family are African-American.

Court: Federal Settlement: non-disclosed


 


#W07-101

Simpson v Arbor Apartments
Ann Arbor

Dawn Simpson told the FHC that an agent from Arbor Apartments said that she and her toddler son could not share a one bedroom apartment. Testing, and advertising on their web site supported a claim discrimination based on familial status. FHC Cooperating Attorneys Jonathan Weber filed suit on behalf of Ms. Simpson in U.S. Federal District Court, the case is assigned to George Caram Steeh.

Court: Federal Status: $15,000



#W07-29, #W07-36

U.S. v Peterson et al.
Ypsilanti

Initially, two women contacted the Fair Housing Center to report allegations of sexual harassment by property manager Glen Johnson in Ypsilanti Township. In each case, the women reported being offered housing, but were pushed to trade sexual favors for repairs or keys to the property. FHC staff and Liz Elkiss, a law student from the University of Michigan, did research to find other possible victims.

FHC contacted the U.S. Department of Justice and met with Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Levy to discuss the case. The Department of Justice used their resources to
find additional victims. The owner of the rental homes is Washtenaw County
Commissioner Ronnie Peterson.

The case was tried in front of Judge Julian Abele Cook Jr. After about five days of testimony, the jury awarded a total of $115,000 to six victims. On March 4, 2011, the U.S. Federal District Court entered a post-trial order for additional injunctive relief and civil penalties totaling $82,500. (The order requires Johnson to pay a $55,000 civil penalty, the maximum civil penalty for a first violation of the Fair Housing Act, and orders
Peterson to pay a $27,500 penalty.)

Court: Federal
Jury Award (litigated by DOJ): $115,000
Civil Penalties: $82,500

 


#W07-14

Abrams v Adams
Ypsilanti

Mitch Abrams and his wife Sue Dible contacted the FHC with discrimination complaint after they tried to rent an apartment in Ypsilanti with their two young sons. Testing and statements made to FHC staff supported their claim of discrimination based on familial status. FHC Cooperating Attorney Jonathan Weber filed suit on behalf of the Abrams-Dible family in U.S. Federal District Court, the case was assigned to Judge Victoria Roberts.

Court: Federal Settlement: $20,000


 


#W07-11

Salinsky v Courthouse Square
Ann Arbor

As a reasonable accommodation of his disability, Warren Salinsky asked Courthouse Square to move him to the 10th floor where there are no smokers. The managers said no, but a letter from FHC changed their minds. Mr. Salinsky was told that the only open unit (Unit A) had serious repair problems and Courthouse Square said they had no idea how long the renovations would take. Months went by and then Mr. Salinsky, whose disability effects breathing, heard about another 10th floor apartment (Unit B). Concerned that Courthouse Square might misrepresent the availability of unit B (a unit without repair problems), FHC staff (identifying themselves as such), accompanied Mr. Salinsky to the office to inquire about “any other unit on the 10th floor.” The rental agent repeated that only Unit A was open, and in the midst of renovation. On the same day, FHC sent a tester to find housing for her grandmother. The same agent showed our tester Unit B saying her grandmother could move in ASAP. Cooperating Attorney Steve Tomkowiak agreed to take the case to stop Courthouse Square from renting Unit B to anyone else. A few days later Warren Salinsky moved into Unit B and the case was filed in federal court.

Court: Federal Status: Dismissed


 


#W06-47

Fjellman v Forest Hills Cooperative
Ann Arbor

Forest Hills Cooperative started eviction proceeding against Gwen Fjellman based the behavior of her disabled child. Legal Services of South Central Michigan requested that Forest Hills drop the eviction plan as a reasonable accommodation of the child’s disability. When the request for reasonable accommodation was refused, FHC Cooperating Attorney Gayle Rosen immediately filed a fair housing case in Federal Court. The case was assigned to Judge David M. Lawson.

Court: Federal Status: Non-disclosed



#W06-21 & 21b

Lowrey v Uptown & FHC v Uptown
Canton

Mike Lowrey contacted the Fair Housing Center because his “barrier free” apartment had some accessibility problems. During our investigation we discovered that only four first floor units in the complex were made accessible. According to the Fair Housing Act, all multi-family housing built for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, must adhere to seven design requirements regarding wheelchair accessibility for ground floor units. We also found problems with the side walks, lack of access to the mailbox and other common areas of the property. Over the summer Mr. Lowrey attempted to sit by the pool while his guests swam. He was forced to sit outside the pool area because the only ramp leads to a locked Club House. FHC Cooperating Attorney J. Mark Finnegan filed the case in Federal Court on behalf of Mr. Lowrey in July 2006. FHC Board of directors voted to intervene in the case. Cooperating Attorney Steve Dane of Relman & Dane represents the FHC. Both cases were assigned to Judge Nancy Edmonds.

Court: Federal Status: $227,500 Lowrey/ $49,000 FHC


 


#W05-65

FHC v Town & Country
Pittsfield Township

In 2001, Felton Luckett, an African-American man, told the FHC that he was accepted and later denied tenancy at Town & Country Apartments on Carpenter Road. Undercover testing supported Mr. Luckett’s race discrimination claim and Cooperating Attorney Stephen R. Tomkowiak helped settle the case for $5,000. After the case settled, Attorney Tomkowiak wrote to the owner strongly encouraging staff training in fair housing law. In 2005, another Town & Country complainant came to us alleging race discrimination, again FHC testing supported the claim. Because the complainant did not wish to take legal or administrative action, the FHC Board of Directors voted to act as plaintiffs. Stephen R. Tomkowiak filed the case in U.S. Federal District Court. Cooperating Attorney Edward Voci joined the case for trial. The case was assigned to Judge Avern Cohn. The jury believed that the Town & Country agent gave false and unequal information to the African-American testers, but did not agree that race was the reason.

Court: Federal Status: Jury found the defendant not guilty


 


#W05-15

Holland et al v Camelot
Ypsilanti Township

Nikia Holland, an African-American woman, and her white friends Suzanne and Eric Trader accepted $47,500 to settle a race discrimination case against the owners of Camelot Apartment in Ypsilanti Township. In 2005, Ms. Holland and her friend contacted the FHC to complain about the manager. Their complaints led to a court action filed in United States District Court before Federal Judge Bernard A. Friedman, Case Number 07-10543. Their complaint alleged: the use of racial epithets, harassing white tenants to stay away from African-American friends and tenants, and failing to make repairs in Ms. Holland’s apartment. Testing evidence supported their claims of race discrimination against Camelot Apartments. The case was litigated by FHC Cooperating Attorney Jonathan G. Weber.

Court: Federal Settlement: $47,500



 

#W04-96

Beswick v Arbors at Lakeside
Jackson

Kathleen Beswick and Robert Wahlberg have disabilities. They asked for a reserved parking space as a reasonable accommodation. FHC staff asked for the accommodation in writing with a deadline of late November 2004. Despite promises from the manager, no sign was provided. FHC Cooperating Attorneys Rose & Weber filed the case in Federal Court on behalf of Ms. Beswick and Mr. Wahlberg in April 2005.

Court: Federal Settlement: $22,500



#W04-88 (reversed opinion on 5/21/2009)

Keck v Kensington Court
Ann Arbor

Alfreda and Devon Keck filed a racial discrimination suit against Kensington Court Hotel, located at 610 Hilton Boulevard in Ann Arbor, MI. The African-American couple went to Kensington Court to book their wedding reception and hotel rooms for October 2005. When the Keck’s attempted to book the facilities and rooms they were refused on multiple occasions, stating that the events manager would call them to set things up. After two weeks of stopping by the hotel and trying to make arrangements to no avail, Mr. and Mrs. Keck turned to the FHC for help. FHC testing supported their claim of race discrimination. FHC Cooperating Attorney Stephen M. Dane of Relman & Dane filed the case in U.S. Federal District Court on March 12, 2007. The case was assigned to the Honorable Robert H. Cleland. [The case was sent back to Judge Cleland for trial after the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the order granting the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.]

Court: Federal Settlement: non-disclosed


 


#W04-57

Tyus v Fairway Trails
Ypsilanti Township

After living in Fairway Trails Apartments for three months Harry Tyus asked if, instead of the first week of the month, he could pay his rent after his Social Security disability check arrived. He liked the location and convenience of the apartment but not the monthly $50 late fee on his rent. FHC staff requested for accommodation on behalf of Mr. Tyus. Instead of an accommodation, Mr. Tyus received an eviction notice. Legal Services attorney Henry Wolfe responded to the eviction with fair housing counter claims. In fall 2004 Washtenaw County Judge John B. Collins ordered the complex to accommodate Mr. Tyus’ request. The complex in turn refused to renew his lease, forcing him to move. FHC-Southeast worked with Mr. Tyus to file a HUD complaint. When Fairway Trails was contacted by HUD they initially offered Mr. Tyus $300 to settle the claim. HUD gave Mr. Tyus the option of taking his case to the Department of Justice. On May 8, 2006 Judith Levy, Assistant US Attorney in Detroit, filed suit claiming retaliation against Mr. Tyus. FHC cooperating attorney J. Mark Finnegan represented Mr. Tyus. The case was assigned to Judge John C. O’Meara of the US Federal District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.

Court: Federal Settlement: $50,000

 


 


#W04-14

Frye v Parkway Meadows
Ann Arbor

Carol Frye has a disability. When she could no longer manage without a wheelchair, she made a written request to Keystone Management for a ramp to the entrance of her apartment. She also requested an accessible shower. In a letter denying her request, the regional property manger states “Our contractor advised us that a ramp would not be possible as there is not enough room to install one to ADA code”. FHC staff asked architect David Esau to look at Ms. Frye’s front steps. Within 24 hours Mr. Esau had drawings of a ramp and suggestions on how to install a shower unit. FHC staff made a second request for reasonable accommodation in writing along with Mr. Esau’s design. No ramp was provided. FHC Cooperating Attorney J. Mark Finnegan of Heberle & Finnegan filed the case on behalf of Ms. Frye. The case was assigned to Judge John Feikens.

Court: Federal Settlement: $112,000


 


#W03-115

Brown v University Management
Ypsilanti

Leslie Brown contacted the FHC with a complaint of discrimination based on race. Ms. Brown is African-American. FHC testing supported her claim. FHC Cooperating Attorneys Jonathan Rose and Jonathan Weber filed the case on behalf of Ms. Brown. The case was assigned to Judge Denise Page Hood.

Court: Federal Result: Dismissed


 


#W03-102

Russman v Merrit
Ann Arbor

Pregnant with her first child, Pamela Russman told the FHC she was denied the right to look at an apartment because she was expecting a baby. Testing supported her claim of discrimination based on familial status. Filed by FHC Cooperating Attorney Denise M. Heberle of Heberle & Finnegan, the case was assigned to Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff.

Court: Federal Settlement: $7,500


 


#W02-83

Bevins v Mick Apartments
Milan (Monroe County)

Christina Bevins was eight months pregnant with her first child when she contacted the FHC. She told FHC staff that the owners of Mick Apartments in Milan offered her an apartment and later turned her down because a baby would be living in the unit. Testing, and a taped phone message, supported this claim. FHC Cooperating Attorneys Jonathan Weber and Jonathan Rose filed suit on behalf of Ms. Bevins in U.S. Federal District Court, the case was assigned to Judge Gerald E. Rosen.

Court: Federal Settlement: $30,000


 


#W02-85

Dukes v Carpenter Place
Pittsfield Township

Marie Dukes, who uses a walker, asked Carpenter Place Apartments for a reserved parking space closer to the front entrance of the building. When they refused, Mrs. Dukes contacted the Fair Housing Center. FHC staff wrote a letter to Carpenter Place asking for the parking space as a reasonable accommodation of Mrs. Dukes’ disability. When the deadline for action passed, Mrs. Dukes was referred FHC Cooperating Attorney, J. Mark Finnegan for litigation. Mr. Finnegan filed suit on behalf of Mrs. Dukes in Federal Court, the case was assigned to Judge Patrick J. Duggan. Mrs. Dukes told FHC staff that the complex provides an inadequate amount of handicapped parking. When Mrs. Dukes couldn’t find a space and parked where she could manage, Carpenter Place immediately towed her car. Shortly after the litigation was filed, Mrs. Dukes received a reserved parking space and agreed to settle the case for $3,500. “I think it’s wonderful, it is so much better,” said Mrs. Duke about her new parking space.

Court: Federal Settlement: $3,500 + reserved parking space



#W02-39

Caldwell v Bailey
Adrian (Lenawee County)

Samadai Caldwell, the mother of two, contacted the FHC to report an apartment owner who didn’t want to rent to anyone with children under four years old. Ms. Caldwell’s daughter was two at the time. Testing of the owner supported Ms. Caldwell’s claim of discrimination based on familial status. FHC Cooperating Attorney Steven Tomkowiak filed suit on behalf of Ms. Caldwell in U.S. Federal District Court, the case was assigned to Judge Arthur J. Tarnow.

Court: Federal Settlement: $7,500

 


#W02-38

Salowitz v Weatherstone & Ann Arbor Realty
Pittsfield Township

Edward Salowitz filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against Ann Arbor Realty and the Weatherstone Condominium Association. Earlier this year the Condo Association began fining Mr. Salowitz, who has Multiple Sclerosis, for parking in the handicapped parking space nearest his unit. Mr. Salowitz had used this parking space since 1993. Mr. Salowitz asked Ann Arbor Realty and the Association permission to use this parking space as a reasonable accommodation of his disability. When they refused, Mr. Salowitz contacted the FHC for assistance. When the fines continued, FHC referred Mr. Salowitz to Cooperating Attorney, Steve Tomkowiak for litigation. Mr. Tomkowiak filed suit on behalf of Edward Salowitz and his wife Susan in U.S. Federal District Court, the case was assigned to Judge John Corbett O’Meara. In the end the case settled for $7,500 and a complete re-grading of the front yard and road outside the Salowitz’s building. The cost of the construction work has not been calculated by the FHC.

Court: Federal Settlement: $7,500+ complete re-grading


 


#W01-44

Mackey v Parkhill Apartments
Ypsilanti

When Rashawnda and Marcus Mackey, an African-American couple, were denied a unit at Parkhill Apartments, Ms. Mackey was suspicious. She contacted the FHC to report the denial. FHC Coordinator of Investigations Mary Bejian sent teams of African American and white testers to the Ypsilanti apartment complex. Testing supported Ms. Mackey’s claim of race discrimination. The Mackey’s decided on litigation and chose FHC Cooperating Attorney Steve Tomkowiak. Mr. Tomkowiak filed suit on behalf the Mackey’s in U.S. Federal District Court, the case was assigned to Judge Denise Page Hood. In 1997 FHC assisted Pamela Thomas with a suit against Parkhill. Her familial status case settled for $7,500.

Court: Federal Settlement: $11,500



#W01-31

Ann Arbor CIL/The Ability Center v PTL
Monroe

The Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living and The Ability Center of Greater Toledo settled their disability discrimination lawsuit against Coral Ridge Apartments in Monroe, Michigan. The suit alleged violations of the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1989. Both plaintiffs are non-profit disability advocacy groups. The Ann Arbor CIL has an office in Monroe. According to the Fair Housing Act, all multi-family housing built for first occupancy after March 13, 1991 must adhere to seven design requirements regarding wheelchair accessibility for ground floor units. The only access to the common areas of the buildings at Coral Ridge apartments were staircases with five or six steps. The groups were represented by Stephen M. Dane and Dusty R. Tinsley of Cooper & Walinski.

Court: Federal Settlement: $26,000


 


#W01-12

Robeson v The Meadows
Ypsilanti Township

Su-Juan Robeson accepted a $2,500 mediation award to settle her disability complaint against The Meadows. Ms. Robeson, who is disabled, needed a railing along the three steps up to her front door and a parking space near her unit. A letter requesting reasonable accommodation was sent by FHC staff. The Meadows responded by erecting a rickety, splintering railing and denying her request for a handicapped parking space. Cooperating Attorney Eric M. Spector filed suit on behalf of Ms. Roberson in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, the case was assigned to Judge Melinda Morris. The lawsuit claims violations of the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act.

Court: State Settlement: $2,500



#W01-07

Luckett v Town & Country
Pittsfield Township

Felton Luckett, an African-American man, told the FHC that he applied for an apartment at Town & Country Apartments on Carpenter Road. Not only had he applied, he had been accepted and signed a lease to begin January 1, 2001. When he called Town & Country to arrange moving in he was told the unit had been rented to someone else and that he would have to wait until February. When he called in early February, the manager told him that he had to wait for his unit to be re-carpeted. Later Mr. Luckett was told that they decided not rent to him. Undercover testing supported Mr. Luckett’s race discrimination claim. The case was filed in U.S. Federal District Court. The case was assigned to Judge Paul D. Borman.

Court: Federal Settlement: $5,000


 


#W00-131

Moody and Stowe v Frey
Ann Arbor

Two men, Shannon Moody and Robert Stowe, accepted $20,000 to settle their sex discrimination suit against Roland and Joan Frey of Ann Arbor. According to the suit, Roland and Joan Frey refused to rent their Potter Street apartment to two men. Moody and Stowe contacted the Fair Housing Center to report the incident. Male and female testers were used to support the claim of discrimination based on gender. Stowe and Moody initially asked FHC staff to resolve the case without litigation. The Frey’s, through their attorney, offered the men $100.00 to settle the case. Filed in Federal District Court, by Fair Housing Center Cooperating Attorney Steve Tomkowiak, the case was assigned to Judge George Caram Steeh.

Court: Federal Settlement: $20,000


 


#W00-121

Azizuddin v Arrowwood Hills Cooperative
Ann Arbor

Single parent Sapphira Azizuddin contacted the FHC to report that she was denied an application for a one-bedroom townhouse because she planned to share the unit with her child. Testing supported this claim. FHC Cooperating Attorney Eric Spector filed on behalf of Ms. Azizuddin in U.S. Federal District Court, the case was assigned to Judge Bernard A. Friedman.

Court: Federal Settlement: $12,500


 


#W00-114

Harbrecht v Ann Arbor Housing Commission
Ann Arbor

Paul Harbrecht has a hearing impairment and requested an amplifier for the buzzer/intercom system of his apartment at Baker Commons. When no amplifier was installed Mr. Harbrecht asked the FHC to help. In November of 2000 FHC staff made another request for reasonable accommodation. Ericka M. Jackson of Sommers, Schwartz, Silver & Schwartz filed on behalf of Mr. Harbrecht in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, the case was assigned to Judge David S. Swartz. The amplifier was installed after Mr. Harbrecht filed suit.

Court: State Settlement: $2,500


 


#W00-85

Chapman v Latham
Milan

FHC Cooperating Attorney Gayle Rosen filed suit on behalf of Stacey and Bradlee Chapman. According to Mrs. Chapman, her family was denied the rental of a duplex apartment in Milan, Michigan because her then fourteen-year-old son would be living in the apartment. According to the suit David Latham, owner of the apartment, advised the Chapmans that he would not be interested in renting to a family with a teenaged child. Testing by the FHC supported the Chapman’s claim of discrimination based on familial status. Filed in Federal District Court, the case was assigned to Judge John Corbett O’Meara.

Court: Federal Settlement: $9,500


 


#W00-61

Herring v Ludwig
Ann Arbor

Sean Herring told the FHC he was refused an apartment reserved for “graduate students only”. The UM undergraduate contacted the FHC for an investigation of age discrimination. FHC testing found that the Ludwigs were willing to show the apartment to older undergraduates (in their 30’s and older) while undergraduates in their 20’s were told about the graduate student only policy and not invited to see the unit.

Court: State Settlement: $500



#W00-45

Warren v Ypsilanti Housing Commission
Ypsilanti

Soon after Aaronica Warren contacted the police to report an incidence of domestic violence by her former boyfriend, the Ypsilanti Housing Commission sent her an eviction notice. Focusing on a HUD one-strike policy, the Ypsilanti Housing Commission contended that Ms. Warren should be evicted because, according to her lease, a tenant “will be responsible for the household regardless of whether or not he or she was personally engaged in the prohibited … criminal action on the premises.” Ms. Warren was referred to Cooperating Attorneys Debra McCulloch and William Thacker of Dykema Gossett through the ACLU of Michigan. The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court, alleged discrimination based on sex and asks that the Housing Commission be prohibited from evicting tenants because they are the victims of domestic violence. Ms. Warren’s case was featured in a Detroit Metrotimes (April 24-30, 2002) cover story.

Court: Federal Settlement: $3,000 and policy change


 


#W98-127

Coates et. al. v Myers
Ypsilanti Township

Six women filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against their former landlords, Raymond “Scott” Myers and his parents, Ernest and Becky Myers. Although the women had never met, all reported a similar pattern of behavior from Scott Myers. According to the lawsuit filed at the end of May 1999, Scott Myers engaged in a range of behavior including: making unwelcome sexual advances to tenants; placing sex devices in tenants’ rooms and common areas of the house; and performing sexual acts in tenants’ bedrooms and bathrooms during their absence. FHC Cooperating Attorney Henry Stancato, of Stancato & Tragge, filed the lawsuit in Federal District Court on behalf of the group. The case was assigned to Judge Gerald E. Rosen. According to the terms of the settlement, Mr. Myers and his parents are barred from the housing rental business.

Court: Federal Settlement: $166,200


 


#W98-27

Ewen v Wilson White
Ann Arbor

Refusing to count her student loan as income in their rent calculations, Wilson White denied University of Michigan student Jamie Ewen an off-campus apartment. Ewen came to the FHC and then filed suit in state court under the City of Ann Arbor Human Rights Ordinance. Believed to be the first case filed under the Ann Arbor city ordinance since city council voted to grant the right to private action, this case was filed by Attorney Nick Roumel from University of Michigan Student Legal Services.

Court: State Settlement: $1,500



#W97-148

Fonte v Romain Realty
Ypsilanti

Romain Realty was sued in Federal court on allegations of race discrimination. Amelia Fonte attempted to take over a lease for a Romain efficiency apartment in late 1997. According to the lawsuit, after viewing the unit the exiting tenants told Ms. Fonte they were “desperate” to get out of their lease. Ms. Fonte, who is African-American, told FHC staff that she went to the Romain Realty office where she was told the unit had been rented. Testing conducted by the FHC supported Fonte’s claim of race discrimination. FHC Cooperating Attorney Ericka M. Jackson of Sommers, Schwartz, Silver and Schwartz, P.C., filed suit on behalf of Ms. Fonte. The case was assigned to Judge George E. Woods.

Court: Federal Settlement: Non-disclosed


 


#W97-55

WACA/FHC v Oakridge
Ypsilanti Township

The Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy (WACA) filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against Oakridge Apartments in Ypsilanti Township. The Fair Housing Center later joined the suit. The suit names developers Julie A. Fielek and Charles Chatfield, engineer John W. Adams, and architect Joseph E. Sojkowski and alleges violations of the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1989. WACA is a non-profit disability advocacy group.

 

An FHC investigation conducted while Oakridge was still under construction revealed that the Holmes Road complex had a two-inch threshold leading into ground floor apartments and the leasing office; insufficient space/design in the bathrooms and doorways; and had no designated handicapped parking spaces. According to the Fair Housing Act, all multi-family housing built for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, must adhere to seven design requirements regarding wheelchair accessibility for ground floor units and units on other floors reachable by elevator. The suit was filed after meetings with Oakridge failed to resolve the complaint. WACA and FHC are represented by Paul A. Callam and Stephen M. Dane of Cooper, Walinski & Cramer. The case was assigned to Judge Patrick J. Duggan.

Court: Federal Settlement: $15,000


 


#W97-18

Williams v LeForge Villa
Ypsilanti Township

Pamela Williams has a disability that requires the use of a wheelchair. Williams sued LeForge Villa for refusing to provide a ramp outside of her unit to accommodate her disability.

Court: State Settlement: $5,000, plus ramp


 


#W96-165

Pike v Harbour Club Ltd.
Belleville

Larry Pike is deaf. He requested a reasonable accommodation of his disability in the form of a lighted doorbell for his second floor apartment. When the owners of Harbour Club Ltd. refused to provide the accommodation requested under the Michigan Handicappers’ Civil Rights Act, Pike filed suit through Cooperating Attorney David Michael Stokes of Michigan Protection and Advocacy.

Court: State Settlement: $750, plus lighted bell system


 


#W96-114

Faulk v Holiday Star
Ypsilanti

Stacey Faulk sued Holiday Star Apartments on the basis of familial status. Faulk told the FHC she was denied an apartment because she has a child. According to the suit, the owner stated that no children were allowed and that the apartments were for students. Faulk said she told the agent that it was illegal for him to discriminate and that he told Faulk to go ahead and sue him.

Court: Federal Settlement: $17,800


 


#W96-99

Schwabb v Pattengill Condominiums
Ann Arbor

Cooperating Attorney Richard McHugh and co-counsel Michael Gatti, from Legal Services of Southeastern Michigan, defended Alissa Schwabb in the eviction proceedings and filed a counter claim in Washtenaw County Circuit Court alleging violations of the Federal Fair Housing Act and the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act based on familial status. The complex is managed by Charles Reinhart Company. Schwabb sued Reinhart along with the Pattengill Condominium Association Board President, a Board member and a resident.

Court: State Settlement: $5,000


 


#W95-139

Pryor v Woodland Meadows
Ann Arbor

Carol Pryor contacted the FHC when her landlord charged her over $2,000 after she moved from her three-bedroom townhouse. Pryor told the FHC she was forced to move because Woodland Meadows failed to install a railing on the stairs to accommodate her disability.

Court: State Settlement: Non-disclosed


 


#W95-123

NAACP v Adrian Manor
Adrian

Rob and Carla Baty, a white couple, contacted the FHC to investigate a claim of race discrimination in their apartment building. Testing done the FHC supported their claim of race discrimination. FHC Cooperating Attorney Michael J. Steinberg filed suit on behalf of the NAACP, after the group was alerted to the testing evidence.

Court: Federal Settlement: Non-disclosed


 


#W95-92

Wright v Eastwood Terrace Apartments
Ypsilanti Township

Margaret Wright contacted the FHC to investigate her claim of race discrimination. Wright is African-American. Testing done the FHC supported Ms. Wright’s claim of housing discrimination. FHC Cooperating Steven A. Reed filed suit on behalf of Wright in Washtenaw County Circuit Court.

Court: State Settlement: $1,800


 


#W95-77

Patterson v Pines of Cloverlane
Pittsfield Township

Deborah Patterson sued The Pines of Clover Lane for refusing to modify the sidewalk and door to the outside of her building to accommodate her disability. Cooperating Attorneys Gayle Rosen of Michigan Protection and Advocacy and Kathy Peterson filed suit Washtenaw County Circuit Court on behalf of Patterson who uses a wheelchair.

Court: State
Settlement: Non-disclosed, plus new sidewalk and electric door



#W95-47

Fountain Church of God in Christ v Scio Township
Scio Township

Fountain Church of God in Christ, an African-American church, attempted to purchase land zoned A-1 (agricultural) and have a conditional use permit issued in order to build a new church. On a 4-3 vote, and against the advice of their planning consultant, the Planning Commission denied the conditional use permit to Fountain COGIC. An investigation conducted by FHC found that Fountain Church was the only house of worship to be denied a conditional use permit by the Scio Township Planning Commission since 1978. Filed in Federal District Court by Cooperating Attorney Benjamin Whittfield, the case was assigned to Judge Avern Cohen.

Court: Federal Settlement: $35,000


 


#W95-43

Lewis v Williamsburg Village Apartments
Lyon Township

Sharon Lewis contacted Cooperating Attorney Michael J. Steinberg after the managers of Williamsburg Village Apartments told Lewis that her African-American boyfriend couldn’t move in because of his race (Lewis is white). Steinberg then referred Lewis to the FHC for an investigation of her claim. Testing supported Lewis’ claim and Steinberg filed a lawsuit on behalf of the couple.

Court: Federal Settlement: $32,500


 


#W95-38

Thomas v Parkhill Apartments
Ypsilanti

The mother of two small children, Pamela Thomas tried to rent at Parkhill Apartments in Ypsilanti. Ms. Thomas claims she was denied housing because Parkhill did not allow children above the first floor and there were no first floor units available.

Court: Federal Settlement: $7,500


 


#W95-21

Tankson v Arbor Apartments
Ann Arbor

Sarah Tankson is an African-American woman with a disability. The FHC took a complaint on Tankson’s case when Arbor Apartments staff stated that they did not take SSI, Tankson’s source of income. Tankson also reported being treated rudely in the Arbor Apartment’s offices. FHC testing and a statement from a witness support Tankson’s claim of discrimination based on race and disability.

Court: State Settlement: $5,000


 


#W95-10

Schiller v McKinley
Ann Arbor

The Schillers, a couple with three children, were denied housing at McKinley-owned Meadowbrook Village apartments because Meadowbrook has a two person per bedroom limit. The Schillers told the FHC that the bedrooms at this complex were unusually large. FHC investigation concluded that one of the two bedrooms was large enough for three people.

Court: State Settlement: Non-disclosed


 


#W94-98

Morrison v Ticknor
Ann Arbor

Melanie Morrison, a woman with a visual impairment contacted the FHC with a complaint of discrimination based on disability and on sex. Morrison contacted the FHC to say she was denied the opportunity to rent a house because of her disability and sex.

Court: State Settlement: Non-disclosed


 


#W94-68

Matts v Lakeview Mobile Home Park
Ypsilanti Township

Oscar Matts contacted the FHC for advice on his discrimination claim against Lakeview Mobile Home Park. Matts, who uses a wheelchair, was attempting to get reimbursed for sidewalk widening that allowed him full access to his van from his mobile home.

Court: State Jury Award: $2,500


 


#W94-62

Y. Johnson v University Management
Ypsilanti

Yma Johnson called the FHC to investigate her claim of race discrimination. Johnson’s case was tested and a letter from Johnson’s white would-be roommate supported the race discrimination allegation.

Court: State Settlement: $8,500


 


#W94-61

Harbor v Nam
Ann Arbor

After the birth of their third child, the Harbors received an eviction notice. The notice stated that because their new baby was a boy, they would have to move out, and had the baby been a girl (like their two older children) they might have made an exception for them to stay. FHC Cooperating Attorneys Jonathan Rose and Jonathan Weber filed the suit.

Court: State Settlement: Non-disclosed


 


#W94-52

Brannan v Pine Valley
Ann Arbor

Phyllis Brannan worked with FHC Cooperating Attorneys Jonathan Rose and Jonathan Weber to file suit against Pine Valley Apartments. The suit claims violation of the Michigan Handicapper’s Civil Rights Act (now the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act). Brannan claims that Pine Valley refused to repaint her unit one room at a time to accommodate her disability.

Court: State Settlement: $10,000


 


#W94-04

Faulk v Maes
Ypsilanti

Stacey Faulk tried to rent an apartment near the EMU campus. She contacted the FHC to report that Barbara Maes turned her away after Faulk said she would share the unit with her new baby. FHC Cooperating Attorney Michael J. Steinberg filed suit after FHC attempts at conciliation were unsuccessful.

Court: State Settlement: Non-disclosed


 


#W94-03

Armstrong v French
Ypsilanti

Regina Armstrong told the FHC she was forced by the owner to move out of her apartment after she complained of noise from the neighbors. Armstrong claims the owner moved her into another building with no cold running water. FHC testing supported Armstrong’s claim of discrimination based on familial status.

Court: Federal Settlement: $10,000


 


#W93-111

Krohn v Land
Ann Arbor

Susan Krohn sued Ken Land, claiming that he refused to accommodate her disability.

Court: State Status: Non-disclosed

 

 


#W93-107

Taylor v Congress Park Apartments
Ypsilanti Township

Martha Taylor contacted the FHC claiming she was denied the right to co-sign for a relative’s apartment because she is African-American. Taylor told the FHC that she was insulted by the owner and told that no two-bedroom apartments were available. FHC testing supported Taylor’s claim of race discrimination.

Court: State Settlement: Non-disclosed


 


#W93-83

D. Johnson v Stadium Apartments
Ann Arbor

Debra Johnson sued Stadium Apartments for familial status discrimination. Johnson planned to rent a two-bedroom unit for her and three children. Testing and a witness statement support the claim.

Court: State Status: Withdrawn


 

 


#W93-59

Magennis v Shoner
Augusta Township

Marlys Magennis worked with FHC Cooperating Attorney David Cahill to file a familial status suit against Edna Shoner. The Magennis family includes a teenaged son. FHC testing supported Magennis’ claim.

Court: State Settlement: $12,000


 


#W93-38

Runyon v West
Ann Arbor

Hillary Runyon filed suit against the Wests claiming discrimination based on familial status. Runyon told the FHC she was denied a unit for herself and two children because, according to the owner, the unit was too small for her family. Testing showed the owner’s willingness to rent to a group of three adults.

Court: State Status: Non-disclosed


 


#W93-34

Hawkins v Maplewood
Ypsilanti Township

Tashie Hawkins (mother of two) was denied the opportunity to apply for a two-bedroom apartment at Maplewood Apartments, because according to Hawkins, they have a policy prohibiting a brother and sister from sharing a bedroom.

Court: State
Settlement: Non-disclosed (includes $7,000 toward the purchase of a home)

 

 


#W93-25

Shannon/FHC v Camelot
Ypsilanti Township

Single parent Margaret Shannon contacted the FHC to report that she was denied a one-bedroom apartment because she planned to share the unit with her child. A caption on the Camelot Apartment’s application stated a policy of one person or one couple per bedroom.

Court: Federal Settlement: $37,202


 


#W93-11

Wilcox v Eberbach
Ann Arbor

The Wilcoxes claim they were denied the opportunity to move into a duplex because the existing neighbors did not want to live next door to children.

Court: State
Settlement: $1,000 from existing tenant, Non-Disclosed from owner


 


#W93-09

Oliver v Cobble Creek
Ypsilanti Township

Carmel Oliver contacted the FHC to report that she was denied a two-bedroom apartment because she had a son and a daughter, and was told that children of the opposite sex couldn’t share a bedroom. The case claimed discrimination based on sex and familial status.

Court: Federal Settlement: $21,000


 


#W92-56

Worthy v Briar Cove
Ann Arbor

The Worthys, an African American family, accused Briar Cove of discrimination based on race. FHC testing supported their claim.

Court: State Settlement: Non-disclosed


 


#W92-46

Helm v Mancharian
Ann Arbor

Cheryl Helm filed suit against the owner of Stimson Apartments claiming discrimination based on familial status. Helm said she was denied an apartment because she has a son.

Court: State Settlement: $17,500


 


#W92-26

Franke v McKinley
Pittsfield Township

Natasha Franke filed suit against McKinley Properties for refusing to accommodate her disability. Ms. Franke asked that McKinley remove a set of stairs leading to her first floor unit.

Court: State Settlement: $18,500, stairs were removed



#W92-15

Robinson v Anderson
Ypsilanti Township

Ashaki Robinson reported that she was denied an apartment because she was a student. Robinson worked with FHC Cooperating Attorney Douglas Mullkoff to file a suit claiming discrimination on age.

Court: State Result: Dismissed


 


#91-212

Codrington v St. Louis
Ypsilanti Township

The Codringtons, a Black family, attempted to rent a three-bedroom house for themselves and their three children. The owner told them she didn’t want to rent to a family of five. The owner told a white FHC tester with the same size family, that she could rent the house.

Court: Federal Settlement: $15,000

 


#91-07

Fogel and Daniels v University Townhouses
Ann Arbor

Gretchen Fogel and Carla Daniels were denied the opportunity to apply jointly for a two-bedroom unit because they were not related by blood or law. Cooperating Attorney Helen Gallagher filed suit claiming discrimination based on sex, marital status and sexual orientation.

Court: State
Settlement: Non-disclosed, includes moving expenses



#90-207

Vaughn v Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti

Mary Vaughn sued EMU for discrimination based on race and national origin. Vaughn alleged that she was fired from her job as a property manager for refusing to discriminate against Asian students.

Court: State Settlement: $30,000