An Escondido, California, couple with a small child recently settled a family housing discrimination case for $23,000. The young married couple had alleged discriminatory practices aimed at children by an apartment complex.
The settlement included compensation for the two San Diego Fair Housing Councils who were named as Plaintiffs in the suit. The case, entitled Collie V. Booth, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Two testers affiliated with the San Diego Fair Housing Council were named plaintiffs in the suit and the settlement included their claims.
Discrimination After Birth of Child
The Collies moved into Whispering Pines apartment complex in October 1991. At the time, they did not have any children but they later had a child. The Collies initially moved into an upstairs apartment. Soon after they moved in, they noticed that there was a depression in the floor which caused furniture to lean toward the center of the room. A dispute arose between the parties about the nature and extent of the problem.
The building inspector checked the property and advised that the problem did not present a structural danger. However, according to the Collies, the management became upset that the Collies had contacted the City inspector. The Collies said that the managers of the apartment complex then marked them for eviction and otherwise began to discriminate against them because of their minor child.
Shortly thereafter, the Collies contacted the Fair Housing Council alleging that Whispering Pines was refusing to rent upstairs apartments to families with children.
They claimed that on at least three occasions, the management demanded that the Collies leave the pool area because they had their infant child with them during hours which restricted children's access to the pool. There was never any dispute that Whispering Pines Apartments had restricted pool hours for children. The San Diego Fair Housing Council sent testers to Whispering Pines. The testers confirmed that Whispering Pines was refusing to rent upstairs apartments to families with children.
The Collies also contend they were discriminated against in other ways, including the creation of a hostile environment, and insults and comments from management, which the Collies believe were intended as retaliation for the exercise of their rights. The settlement two months before trial included $1,000 and $750, for the two plaintiff testers.
Complainant was represented by Attorney Joseph Valenti of Escondido.