FHC-Detroit wins settlements in three recent cases involving marital status, race, and family status

The Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit (FHC-Detroit) has assisted discriminationvictims in several cases during mid-1997, settling three cases for a total of $38,000. Thethree recently closed cases involved marital status discrimination (illegal in Michigan),racial discrimination, and family status discrimination.

In a caseinvolving illegal discrimination based on marital status, Raymond Farrior and Sherry Mooresettled their claim against the Detroit Housing Commission for $15,000. According toFarrior and Moore, who are friends, the Detroit Housing Commission threatened to evictthem from Farrior's apartment because the Commission had a policy of not allowingunmarried couples to live together.

Man responded to friend's need for emergency housing 
In March 1995, Moore was attacked and left for dead by an assailant. She survived butneeded care and a place to stay. Farrior responded to Moore and allowed her to move intohis apartment, where he had lived since 1993. Both Moore and Farrior say that it was atemporary situation and they were friends, not romantically linked.

After several months, the manager of the apartment complex where Farrior lived toldFarrior that two unrelated persons could not live together in an apartment controlled bythe Detroit Housing Commission. The manager explained that the only way Moore couldcontinue to live there was if she married Farrior. If they refused, they would be evicted.

Moore and Farrior were offended that they were being ordered to get married or losetheir home. Again, they were just friends. Moore and Farrior contacted FHC-Detroit.Efforts by FHC-Detroit to get the Detroit Housing Commission to change its policy wereunsuccessful. Rather than lose their home, Farrior and Moore agreed to get married inSeptember 1995.

In November 1995, Mark Magidson, a cooperating attorney with FHC-Detroit,filed an action in Wayne County Circuit Court, asserting that the City of Detroit hadviolated the marital status provisions of Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. TheCity settled the lawsuit before it could go to court.

Complex tries to evict woman who filed racial discrimination claimthree years earlier
In another case, this one involving racial discrimination, Judge Dale Riker awarded MarrieMontgomery $13,000, which includes attorney's fees, for her claim that Westgate Park ManorApartments in Flint, Michigan had tried to evict her in retaliation for an earliercomplaint of racial discrimination.

Montgomery, who is African-American, began living at Westgate Park Manor in 1992 as asettlement of a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. Montgomeryasserted that Westgate had denied her an apartment because of her race. Westgate settledthe complaint by allowing Montgomery to move in. Three years later, when the agreementexpired, Westgate told Montgomery and her son that they needed to leave.

Testers for the Tri-County Fair Housing Center confirmed Montgomery'sallegations of racial discrimination. FHC-Detroit Legal Services Coordinator providedlegal support in the case in which Judge Riker ruled in Montgomery's favor. Testers in thecase were paid for with Fair Housing Initiatives Program funding.