Court Awards $23,064 To Rental Applicant Who Was Told Children Would Not Be Able To Play in Yard

NEWS RELEASE
Southern California Housing Rights Center
Los Angeles, CA

For Immediate Release
June 23, 2003

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

(ROSEMEAD, CALIFORNIA, June 23, 2003) -- Jennifer Fleming of Rosemead received an offer from landlord Ken Fredricy to rent the house next to his residence, it was not an offer she could accept given this landlord’s comments during her tour. Because those comments violated the Fair Housing Act, she and the Housing Rights Center obtained a $23,064 award this in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

In Housing Rights Center, Jennifer Fleming v. Ken Fredricy, #CV 01-4631MMM(C.D. Cal. June 2003) the Housing Rights Center and Jennifer Fleming sued Ken Fredricy in federal court in August of 2001, alleging that the defendant discriminated against families with children as well as women. Specifically, the complaint alleged that while showing Ms. Fleming the house, the defendant stated a rule that would have prohibited her children from playing outside in the front yard. This rule, along with sexual comments and jokes made during the applicant’s tour of the house, discouraged Ms. Fleming from accepting Fredricy’s offer to rent. While repeatedly threatening to counter-sue Ms. Fleming, Mr. Fredricy refused to respond to the complaint and defaulted.

On June 3, 2003, Judge Margaret Morrow granted the last of a series of motions by plaintiffs, under which Fredricy must pay a total of $23,064 in damages and attorneys fees to the plaintiffs. Earlier, she had agreed with plaintiffs that the rule against children violated the Fair Housing Act and effectively denied Ms. Fleming equal housing opportunity. She ruled that while Fredricy’s actions were reprehensible, they did not amount to sexual harassment. She also ruled that HRC was injured by the Fredricy and entitled to damages to cover its investigation and community education efforts.

The plaintiffs were represented by Gary Rhoades and Danielle Jones from HRC.