African-American woman obtains $100,000 settlement in race case

Los Angeles, CA

For Immediate Release 
July 9, 2002 
Contact: Gary Rhoades
626-791-0211 x 117

(LOS ANGELES, 7/9/02)--An African-American woman who sued a Los Angeles landlord for race discrimination in the rental of housing has obtained a $100,000 settlement. Her attorneys at the Southern California Housing Rights Center also announced that the landlord and her future agents will also participate in a two-year comprehensive fair housing training, affirmative advertising, and monitoring program. 

Jeannette Jackson sued Pearla Staples and her company in state court alleging that Staples and her agents discriminated against applicants on the basis of race in the operation of Staples’ rental properties. Among the complaint’s allegations were that when Ms. Jackson called to inquire into a vacancy, the defendants asked about her nationality. When Ms. Jackson responded that she was African-American, Staples hung up. Later, a Culver City Housing Authority caseworker called on behalf of Ms. Jackson. When Staples asked the caseworker, “Is she black or white?” the caseworker reprimanded her and hung up. Ms. Staples then turned to the Housing Rights Center, who investigated the complaint and then provided legal representation.

“It is shocking that these obviously racial questions are still being asked by landlords thirty-four years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act,” said HRC attorney Felicia Yearwood. “The case’s facts and the end result underscore the importance of and continuing need for the work done by the Housing Rights Center and other groups providing fair housing services.”

Along with the payment of $100,000, the defendants must also participate in a comprehensive two-year program under the court’s jurisdiction. The terms include fair housing training for each defendant; affirmative advertising; display of fair housing posters; and monitoring by the Housing Rights Center.

Along with Felicia Yearwood, the plaintiffs were also represented by Gary Rhoades and Danielle Jones with the Housing Rights Center.

[Jackson v. Staples Realty, Case. No. BC254741 (Los Angeles Superior Court, 2002)].