Father and daughter win $11,000 cash settlement in Phoenix, AZ familial status lawsuit

Anna Chasteen, the owner and operator of Carol Mary Apartments in downtown Phoenix agreed to pay $11,000 in June to settle a federal fair housing lawsuit. Chasteen will also submit to fair housing monitoring by the Arizona Fair Housing Center. The suit also named Ermil Chasteen and Willetta Investments, the corporate owner of the complex, as defendants.

Owner and agent cited safety concerns when refusing to rent to families with children

William C. Rodriguez and the Arizona Fair Housing Center filed the lawsuit alleging familial status discrimination after Rodriguez attempted to rent an apartment for himself and his daughter in 1999. Rodriguez’s daughter was four years old at the time.

Ermil Chasteen, the former owner of the complex who died during the litigation of the lawsuit, told Rodriguez that children were not accepted at Carol Mary Apartments for “safety reasons.” Rodriguez submitted a rental application anyway, and another agent of the complex informed him that children weren’t allowed in second floor units and that no ground floor units were available. The agent also cited safety considerations for the discriminatory policy.

Testing proved familial status discrimination

Rodriguez contacted the Arizona Fair Housing Center and told them about what he had encountered at the Carol Mary complex. The Center conducted two paired tests on the complex as part of a thorough investigation. In both tests, testers who asserted that they had children were told that no units were available, while testers who asserted that they had no children were told about available units and encouraged to apply.

Arizona attorneys Albert M. Flores and Philip Austin represented Rodriguez and the Center during the litigation.

Rodriguez v. Chasteen
Case No. CIV 2001-1372 PHX SRB (D. Az.)
The Honorable Susan R. Bolton, U.S. District Judge
Complaint filed: July 24, 2001
Consent Order approved: June 11, 2003