Los Angeles, CA

Court rules against loft owner for discrimination

April 01, 2004
The Housing Rights Center (HRC) and an aggrieved family obtained a federal court judgment against the owner of a prominent loft development in downtown Los Angeles. Plaintiffs alleged that the owner and manager discriminated against families with children. The case was resolved when the owner and manager agreed to have judgment entered against them and paid the plaintiffs $35,004 in damages, plus attorneys’ fees.
     The plaintiff-couple’s lease contained a “no children” clause. Initially, they were told that the provision applied to children of prospective tenants, but not to children who were born to existing tenants at the complex.

Faith and fury propel Gibson's 'Passion'

February 18, 2004
It's a clash of power, religion and history more fit for the apocalyptic Book of Revelation than the pages of Variety.
     But this is a fight over a movie — a conflict that has allowed Mel Gibson (news) to transform "The Passion of the Christ" from an obscure "career-killer" film into an international event that is already one of the most divisive movies of recent times.
     "The Passion," which depicts in gruesome detail the final hours of Christ's life, premieres in the United States on Feb. 25 — Ash Wednesday on the Roman Catholic calendar. That's just one of the ways that Gibson, while preparing to release this intensely personal project, has built an audience on both faith and fury.

Calif. Highway Patrol cleared in race bias case

November 03, 2003
The California Highway Patrol did not discriminate against blacks and other minorities in hiring and promotions, a federal jury ruled Monday.
     Jeff Paige, a black former lieutenant and the lead plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit, sued the agency in 1994 after he was turned down four times for promotion to captain.
     The jury did find that the Highway Patrol retaliated against Paige for complaining about alleged discrimination by denying him job assignments. Paige, 60, retired in 1996.

Property owner, tenants settle bias case for $98K

October 01, 2003
A Los Angeles property owner and his managers at two properties, who allegedly prohibited children from playing outside at their homes and preferred Asian tenants over Latino tenants, have settled a housing discrimination case for $98,000.
     The Housing Rights Center and a family originally sued the owner and manager of one property in federal court in August of 2001, alleging that defendants discriminated against homeowners on the basis of familial status and race in the operation of the 50-unit apartment complex.
     The defendants then counter-sued HRC for conspiracy to commit fraud. HRC prepared a anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion to dismiss the claims against HRC.

A Blind Society

September 18, 2003
As immigration and the browning of California continue to play a big role in the recall, race itself is the central focus of ballot Proposition 54, which would bar the state from collecting racial and ethnic data. It’s billed as the measure to make the state less race-conscious, but critics say the proposition, which would share the October 7 ballot with the recall should the election go forward as scheduled, could be difficult to implement.
     Prop. 54, officially known as the Classification by Race, Ethnicity, Color, or National Origin Initiative, is sponsored by Ward Connerly, the University of California regent who supported Proposition 209. That measure ended official state affirmative action programs in 1996, though forms of affirmative action still exist even in the UC system. He says he wishes for a “colorblind” society where race won’t matter.
     To many of the 75,000 attendees at last weekend’s 15th Annual Black Business Expo at the L.A. Convention Center, that idea represents blindness of another kind. Eric Kirks, a law-enforcement officer from South Los Angeles, said he believed that 54 was a “back door trick” to fully implement Prop. 209.

2 men sentenced for L.A. anti-gay attacks

September 11, 2003
Two men were sentenced to prison after pleading no contest to attempted murder and hate crime charges in baseball bat attacks on two men they thought were gay.
     Ever Wilfredo Rivera was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years; Selvin Orlando Campos was given a 10-year term. The 20-year-old men faced life sentences if convicted at trial of the two separate attacks.
     "Now they are going to pay the price," said victim Ricardo Lorenzana, 47. "I hope they learn from what they did. It wasn't right."

Ninth Circuit revives lawyer’s disability bias claim against insurer

September 02, 2003
A lawyer’s suit claiming an insurer wrongly refused her coverage under a program approved by the State Bar because she was undergoing treatment for a psychological disorder was reinstated yesterday by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
     U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker of the Northern District of California misinterpreted California law in dismissing Patrice Goldman’s Unruh Civil Rights Act claim, the court said.
     Goldman sued Standard Insurance Company after the company rejected her application for disability insurance. At the time she was participating in weekly therapy sessions with a licensed clinical social worker and had been diagnosed as having an adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood.

Fair Housing Rulings Against Mogul Address Sophisticated Type of Discrimination

August 31, 2003
To the ordinary reader, the word "Korean" indicates a particular national origin. But can the word also carry a discriminatory message?
     In some cases it does, a federal court judge has ruled.
     U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz has issued a preliminary injunction that prohibits Los Angeles Clipper owner and real estate mogul Donald Sterling from using "Korean" in his building names, as well as advertisements and billboards related to the sale of his buildings or rental of units.
     "Use of the word Korean in the names of residential apartment buildings would indicate to the 'ordinary reader' that the buildings' owner is not only receptive to but actually prefers tenants of Korean national origin," Matz wrote.
     The judge, in his July ruling, also prohibited Sterling from requiring tenants to state their national origin or birthplace on rental applications or company forms. The ruling stems from a legal battle over accusations that the multimillionaire discriminates against African-Americans and Latinos.

Court: CIGA must cover judgment for breach of duty to defend

August 08, 2003
A judgment against an insolvent insurer for breach of duty to defend is not a “loss adjustment expense” exempted from coverage by the California Insurance Guarantee Association under the Insurance Code, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled yesterday.
     The ruling requires CIGA, which covers the obligations of defunct California insurers, to pay a $47,386 judgment obtained in 1999 by Arch Woodliff against LMI Insurance Company. Woodliff, who owned an apartment building, sued the company for failing to defend him under a commercial property liability insurance policy against housing discrimination claims.
     When the insurer declared insolvency in 2000 without satisfying the judgment, Woodliff tendered it to CIGA, and when CIGA declined to pay it, sued.

Judge rules owner can't use Korean in his building names

July 29, 2003
Real estate magnate Donald Sterling will be barred from using "Korean" in the name of his apartment buildings and from collecting birthplace information from his tenants, while a discrimination lawsuit against him is pending, a federal judge ruled.
     U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz on Monday issued the preliminary injunctions but declined to prohibit Sterling, who owns the Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball team, from buying any new residential properties.
     The lawsuit, filed in February by the non-profit Housing Rights Center, claimed Sterling ordered employees during a May 2002 meeting to rent only to tenants of Korean heritage at his two apartment complexes.


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