HUD ALJ Cases Include Housing for Family of 7 in WV, Handicap Ramp in Dayton, Ohio

Cases involving family discrimination and handicap accessibility have been resolved recently by HUD Administrative Law Judges Samuel A. Chaitovitz and Robert A. Andretta.

A family status case that went to hearing before Judge Chaitovitz in Parkersburg, West Virginia, resulted in awards to seven family members totaling $30,871. Judge Andretta enjoined an apartment owner to permit installation of a handicap ramp and to pay $3,000. In another case he awarded payment of $3,000 for family discrimination by a trailer park.

A Three-State Family Case

The West Virginia family status case involved a family of seven trying to move from New York, an agent in Parkersburg, and an owner in Kentucky. Complainant Theodore Paul was being transferred from Fredonia, New York, to manage a Radio Shack. Eighty- year- old respondent Goldie Sams, who lives in Kentucky, had asked her friend Andrew Brooks to take care of her property.

Mr. Paul answered an ad for the house and made a videotape of the large two story house with many bedrooms. After his wife and five children watched the tape, the family was excited about renting the house. Mr. Brooks conveyed the Paul's interest to Ms. Sams, but she said she did not want to rent to the Pauls because they had too many children.

Mr. Paul called Ms. Sams in Kentucky to persuade her to change her mind while the family stayed in New York. Finally, Ms. Sams said she would not rent to the family because they had too many children. Judge Chaitovitz made several findings that the family suffered stress because of this discrimination.

He ordered Sams and Brooks to pay the parents $7,500 each for loss of housing opportunity and emotional distress, plus $1,621 for out-of-pocket costs. He required payment of $2,000 each to four of the children and $1,000 to the fifth child, and a penalty of $5,000 from Sams and $250 from Brooks.

HUD Case Completed Within A Year

The Paul case was unusual because it completed within a year, the full HUD process from filing of the initial complaint, through the Secretary's charge and the final order after hearing. The whole HUD process usually takes much longer, often three years.

HUD ex rel. Paul v. Sams and Brooks HUD ALJ 03-92-0245-1
Filed with HUD 3-5-92
HUD Chart Issued 6-29-93
ALJ Hearing 10-19-93 
Order 3-11-93

Dayton Landlord Pays $3,000 for Ramp Refusal

In a case resolved by ALJ Robert A. Andretta, a Dayton, Ohio, landlord agreed to install a handicap ramp to accommodate the muscular dystrophy disability of complainant Michael E. Hankins. The apartment was owned by Eric L. Zingler, who insisted that Hankins pay $250 into an escrow account before installing an exterior ramp. The $250 was to provide for future restoration of the building to its original condition. The HUD Secretary charged that this c o n s t i t u t e d discrimination on the basis of handicap in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

The consent order provided for payment of $3,000 in damages to complainant and an advertising and outreach program to inform tenants and the public of the right to make reasonable handicap modifications.

HUD ex. rel Hankins v. Zingler, HUD ALJ No. 05-91-1119-1
Filed with HUD 6-24-91
HUD Charge Issued 9-17-92
Order 3-8-94

California Trailer Park Pays $12,000

The Soquel Trailer Park near Santa Cruz, California, agreed to pay $12,000 and not to discriminate under another consent order by Mr. Andretta. The HUD charge was filed against Soquel Trailer Park and Margie Plagmann on behalf of Peter and Laura Marshall. They agreed to "maintain the Soquel Trailer Park as a family park without discrimination based on age." Respondent agreed to pay $11,000 to complainants Peter Manchester and Laura Manchester, as well as $1,000 to HUD in civil penalties.

HUD ex. rel Manchester v. Plagmann and Soquel Trailer Park, HUD ALJ No. 09-92-1711-1
Filed with HUD 6-22-92
HUD Charge Issued 7-29-93
Order 1-7-94