Consent decree concludes tenant's sexual harassment case in Los Angeles

Southern California Housing Rights Center 
520 S. Virgil Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90020

Contact:  Gary Rhoades, Litigation Director 
213/387-8400

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(WEST COVINA, Calif., Nov. 5, 2002) -- A tenant and the Housing Rights Center (HRC) have obtained a Consent Decree and Court Order against a landlord in a sexual harassment case. Under the Decree and Order, the landlord will pay $58,000 to the plaintiffs and relinquish management of his rental properties.

The tenant and the former agency, the Fair Housing Council of San Gabriel Valley (HRC as of April 2002) sued Ronald Manwill in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that defendant sexually harassed the tenant and other female tenants at his West Covina rental properties. Specifically, the complaint alleged that the defendant made numerous sexually explicit comments and requests to the plaintiff-tenant over a two-year period. The comments and requests came in person, over the telephone and by email. According to the complaint, HRC’s Investigation Department's survey of other current and past tenants, as well as neighbors, revealed evidence of similar conduct with other tenants.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Gary Rhoades stated that along with the payment of $58,000, under the Consent Decree and Order signed by Judge Ralph Dau on October 8, 2002, defendants must turn over the management of his property to a third party, and that third party must have or then obtain fair housing training. “The relinquishment of management term was more important to our client than her monetary compensation,” said Rhoades.

The plaintiffs were represented by Gary Rhoades and Danielle Jones of HRC's Litigation Department and Christopher Brancart of Brancart & Brancart. Defendants were represented by Dan Padova of Long Beach.