Miller-O'Brien, P.L.L.P. (Counsel for the SternJohn Family)
Larson King, L.L.P. (Counsel for Robert Kreisler)
United States District Court Judge Michael J. Davis has approved judgment of nearly $1.1 million in a race discrimination case. This is believed to be the largest judgment ever secured by a Minnesota family in a fair housing case. Judgment will be entered against Robert Kreisler, a businessman who owns several apartment buildings in Minnesota.
Miller-O'Brien, on behalf of Eboni and Julius SternJohn, filed suit against Mr. Kreisler in 2002 for his alleged policy against renting to African Americans. Mr. Kreisler attempted to evict the SternJohns shortly after taking over the apartment building where the SternJohns had lived for years.
Justin Cummins, an attorney with Miller-O'Brien, stated: "This is a great victory not only for the SternJohns, but for the community as a whole. The remedies ordered by the Court are unique and comprehensive. This case sends a powerful message that the silent bigotry of stereotyping will not be tolerated."
Judge Davis imposed additional non-monetary items as part of the consent decree governing Mr. Kreisler. The consent decree is in force for 5 years and applies to all of Mr. Kreisler's apartment buildings. Judge Davis will continue to preside over the implementation and enforcement of the decree. Another member of Miller-O'Brien, Bill O'Brien, noted: "This resolution establishes a model for cases of this sort in our ever more diverse community."
The consent decree removes all tenant authority from Mr. Kreisler, requiring him to hire an independent management company. It also compels Mr. Kreisler to adopt anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and anti-retaliation policies that will be posted on every floor of every building and will be attached to every lease.
The consent decree further orders quarterly reporting by Mr. Kreisler regarding his compliance with the civil rights laws, and the decree requires Mr. Kreisler to market affirmatively in the African-American community. In addition, the consent decree imposes periodic, undercover testing of Mr. Kriesler's housing practices by an independent housing agency.
Mr. Kreisler will pay liquidated damages for any future violations of the consent decree, and he will cover the costs of any legal action to enforce the decree.
Note: The case is assigned in U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota - Civil Case No. 02-842 MJD/JSM.
ABOUT MILLER-O'BRIEN, P.L.L.P.
Miller-O'Brien is a Twin Cities firm specializing in civil rights, employee
rights, and labor law. The firm has achieved landmark results in fair
housing and fair employment litigation. For more information about
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