1 GETTING THE BEST DAMAGES FOR INJURIES IN FAIR HOUSING CASES by Attorney Advisor Merilyn D. Brown United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Region V Special Thanks to Professor Michael P. Seng 1 This Paper Prepared for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Fair Housing Summit, Washington, D.C. June 2004 Introduction My personal story of housing discrimination is touched upon in an article I co-wrote with Professor Michel P. Seng and Dr. Jay Einhorn in The John Marshall Law Review, Volume 26, Number 1, Fall 1992, entitled Counseling a Victim of Racial Discrimination in a Fair Housing Case. I changed the name of the victim and her occupation in order to help me write the story at the time but it is my personal account. I intentionally left out the nasty discriminatory treatment of the housing provider and his staff because I believed then as I believe now that the focus must first be to the physical and emotional impact the discrimination had on the victim. When a person is injured, the starting place and concern should be getting treatment to the injury and not a barrage of questions, innuendos, and confrontations. Whether the harmed suffered is actual or believed, the victim or alleged victim is struggling with an inundation of emotions and the professionals encountered throughout this traumatic and nightmarish process called investigation and must be handled in a professional and empathetic manner throughout the procedure, despite workloads, dislikes, findings of untruths, and years of experience in conducting these types of investigations. The fact of the matter is each case is unique and each victim in each case deserves to be treated in a professional and empathetic manner from initial interview to finding. When I became a victim of housing discrimination in the late eighties, one of clinical professionals asked during my first and last session with her whether the discriminatory conduct of the landowner and staff was really that horrific. She reminded me that I had dealt with this type of conduct all my life and had no doubt developed a coping mechanism in the face of discrimination. She insisted that I was simply overreacting and that I should reevaluate what had occurred in a more gentle light. She pointed out that no derogatory idioms had been used; that the receptionist may have had a very bad day; and, the fact that all Whites before and after me were shown apartments while I was left in the lobby was simply my negative interpretation of the events. 1 Thank you for allowing partial use of your article Maximizing Damages in Fair Housing Cases.
2 I have never forgotten that incident of racial discrimination. Even years later, in my attempts to locate suitable housing I have found the following: I always take another person with me; my heart, each time, races as the process begins; I am continuously uncomfortable while there; and, I never look the housing provider in the eyes fearful of what I might see. Needless to say I dread locating new housing even to this day. Furthermore, I have never forgotten the words and reaction of that clinical professional when I tried to explain what had happen and how I felt as a result of my treatment. I guess some may conclude that I am weak in my psyche while others may say, it was not that bad of an incident. The truth of the matter is these two life-changing matters have forever changed my innocence. The treating of a person different because of the color of their skin is inherently wrong; the assumption that that a person should be used to this type of treatment is hidden racism; and, the attempt to make Blacks think that discrimination is all in their imagination is understated racism. I may be just a single individual in this belief but I renew my efforts year after year to eliminate housing discrimination in my nation. In my professional experience, I stand by the tried and tested methods for obtaining damages but I seek better results. I sincerely believe that where damages are too low in a housing discrimination case, the victim is furthered injured. Small or low damages provide a continual insult to one s dignity. Small or low damages in a fair housing case sends the distinct message to the victim that the injury suffered is not worth very much in damages and easily translate to the victim that he or is of little value in this American society. Those championing the rights of justice for all in the housing industry have varied years of service and must ever be assiduous to remember that to each victim this incident of housing discrimination may be this individual s first time and the very system designed to obtained the truth is itself daunting, impassable, hurting, humiliating, confusing and overwhelming to the victim or alleged victim. We who are on the front lines of these cases must change our attitudes and if necessary our methods because each case is unique and each victim in each case deserves to be treated in a professional and empathetic manner from initial interview to the finding. On one hand, this paper is designed to simply serve as a reminder and on the other hand may this paper encourage new means to service complainants of housing discrimination. I. Revisiting What We Know 1. Federal Statutory Provisions a Civil Rights Act 42 U.S.C and Courts may award compensatory and punitive damages. b Fair Housing Act as amended, 42 U.S.C. 3612(g)(3). Provides ALJ may award actual damages and a civil penalty. c Fair Housing Act as amended, 42 U.S.C. 3613(c). Provides that in a private civil action, a court may award actual and punitive damages. 2
3 A. There has been an increase in the size of damage awards. 1. Schwemm, Compensatory Damages in Fair Housing Cases, 16 Harv. C.R. - C.L.L. Rev. 83 (1981) (range of awards in 1981 was $1 to $20, Today damages have been awarded in excess of $1,000,000. For instance, in Broome v Biandi, FH/FL 16,240 (S.D.N.Y. 1997), a court awarded $1.5 million against a co-op board that rejected a sublet on an apartment because of race. B. Reasons for Increase 1. Inflation Amendments to Title VIII 3. Greater public awareness that discrimination is illegal 4. Less tolerance for overt discrimination C. Nonetheless, there is a heavy burden on the plaintiff to create a good record and to educate the fact-finder on damages. II. Federal Statutory Provisions A. Fair Housing Act U.S.C (g) (3). (ALJ may award actual damages and a civil penalty.) U.S.C (c). (In a private civil action, court can award actual and punitive damages.) U.S.C (d). (In a suit instituted by the AG, persons aggrieved can recover monetary damages and a civil penalty can be imposed.) "Monetary damages" has been interpreted to mean compensatory and punitive damages. U.S. v Rent American, Corp., 734 F. Supp. 474 (S.D. Fla. 1990). B Civil Rights Act - 42 U.S.C and Courts may award compensatory and punitive damages. Sullivan v Little Hunting Park, Inc., 396 U.S. 229, (1969); Phiffer v Proud Parrot Motor Hotel, Inc., 648 F.2d 548, 553 (9th Cir. 1980). III. State or Federal Standard for Damages 3
4 A. Sullivan v Little Hunting Park, Inc., 396 U.S. 229, 406 (1969) - In awarding damages under the 1866 Civil Rights Act, the Court held that 1988 allows both federal and state rules to be utilized, whichever better serves the policies expressed in the federal statutes. B. However, more recent decisions decided under 1983 apply the federal common law in ascertaining damages. Carey v Piphus, 435 U.S. 247 (1978); Smith v Wade, 461 U.S. 30 (1983); Memphis Comm. School Dist. v Stachura, 477 U.S. 299 (1986). And see Pumphrey v Stephen Homes (4th Cir. 1997) FH/FL 16,177 (Federal law covers the issue of punitive damages under the Fair Housing Act); United States v Oak Manor Apts., 11 F. Supp. 2d 1047 (W.D.Ark. 1998) (same); United States v Big D Enterprises (8 th Cir. 1999) FH/FL 16,369 (same). IV. Compensatory Damages to Individuals A. Compensation for the denial of the right to fair housing. 1. Under 1983, damages cannot be awarded based on the "abstract value" or "importance" of constitutional rights. Memphis Comm. School Dist. v Stachura, 477 U.S. 299 (1986). 2. The Sixth Circuit has held that a separate award for "Loss of Civil Rights" based on the plaintiff s subjective perception of the importance of those rights is not normally available under the Fair Housing Act. Baumgardner v HUD, 960 F.2d 572 (6th Cir. 1992). B. Proof of a violation of the Fair Housing Act and proof of actual damages entitles a complainant to judgment in that amount. Curtis v Loether, 415 U.S. 189, 197 (1974); Smith v Wade, 461 U. S. 30,52 (1983); United States v City of Hayward, 36 F.3d 832, (9th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 116 S.Ct. 65 (1995); New Jersey Coalition of Rooming and Boarding House Owners v City of Ashbury Park, 1998 U. S. App. Lexis (3d Cir. 7/30/98). There is no requirement under the Fair Housing Act that a complainant show legal causation beyond the showing of legal discrimination to recover compensatory damages. Alexander v Riga, 208 F.3d 419 (3d Cir. 2000). Court may award compensatory and punitive damages. Sullivan v Little Hunting Park, Inc., 396 U.S. 229, (1969); Phiffer v Proud Parrot Motor Hotel, Inc., 648 F.2d 548, 553 (9th Cir. 1980). III. State or Federal Standard for Damages A. Sullivan v Little Hunting Park, Inc., 396 U.S. 229, 406 (1969) - In awarding damages under the 1866 Civil Rights Act, the Court held that 1988 allows both federal and state rules to be utilized, whichever better serves the policies expressed in the federal statutes. 4
5 B. However, more recent decisions decided under 1983 apply the federal common law in ascertaining damages. Carey v Piphus, 435 U.S. 247 (1978); Smith v Wade, 461 U.S. 30 (1983); Memphis Comm. School Dist. v Stachura, 477 U.S. 299 (1986). And see Pumphrey v Stephen Homes (4th Cir. 1997) FH/FL 16,177 (Federal law covers the issue of punitive damages under the Fair Housing Act); United States v Oak Manor Apts., 11 F. Supp. 2d 1047 (W.D.Ark. 1998) (same); United States v Big D Enterprises (8 th Cir. 1999) FH/FL 16,369 (same). IV. Compensatory Damages to Individuals A. Compensation for the denial of the right to fair housing. 1. Under 1983, damages cannot be awarded based on the "abstract value" or "importance" of constitutional rights. Memphis Comm. School Dist. v Stachura, 477 U.S. 299 (1986). 2. The Sixth Circuit has held that a separate award for "Loss of Civil Rights" based on the plaintiff s subjective perception of the importance of those rights is not normally available under the Fair Housing Act. Baumgardner v HUD, 960 F.2d 572 (6th Cir. 1992). B. Proof of a violation of the Fair Housing Act and proof of actual damages entitles a complainant to judgment in that amount. Curtis v Loether, 415 U.S. 189, 197 (1974); Smith v Wade, 461 U. S. 30,52 (1983); United States v City of Hayward, 36 F.3d 832, (9th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 116 S.Ct. 65 (1995); New Jersey Coalition of Rooming and Boarding House Owners v City of Ashbury Park, 1998 U. S. App. Lexis (3d Cir. 7/30/98). There is no requirement under the Fair Housing Act that a complainant show legal causation beyond the showing of legal discrimination to recover compensatory damages. Alexander v Riga, 208 F.3d 419 (3d Cir. 2000). Court may award compensatory and punitive damages. Sullivan v Little Hunting Park, Inc., 396 U.S. 229, (1969); Phiffer v Proud Parrot Motor Hotel, Inc., 648 F.2d 548, 553 (9th Cir. 1980). III. State or Federal Standard for Damages A. Sullivan v Little Hunting Park, Inc., 396 U.S. 229, 406 (1969) - In awarding damages under the 1866 Civil Rights Act, the Court held that 1988 allows both federal and state rules to be utilized, whichever better serves the policies expressed in the federal statutes. B. However, more recent decisions decided under 1983 apply the federal common law in ascertaining damages. Carey v Piphus, 435 U.S. 247 (1978); Smith v Wade, 461 U.S. 30 (1983); Memphis Comm. School Dist. v Stachura, 477 U.S. 299 (1986). And see Pumphrey v Stephen Homes (4th Cir. 1997) FH/FL 16,177 (Federal law covers the issue of punitive damages under the Fair Housing Act); 5
6 United States v Oak Manor Apts., 11 F. Supp. 2d 1047 (W.D.Ark. 1998) (same); United States v Big D Enterprises (8 th Cir. 1999) FH/FL 16,369 (same). IV. Compensatory Damages to Individuals A. Compensation for the denial of the right to fair housing. 1. Under 1983, damages cannot be awarded based on the "abstract value" or "importance" of constitutional rights. Memphis Comm. School Dist. v Stachura, 477 U.S. 299 (1986). 2. The Sixth Circuit has held that a separate award for "Loss of Civil Rights" based on the plaintiff s subjective perception of the importance of those rights is not normally available under the Fair Housing Act. Baumgardner v HUD, 960 F.2d 572 (6th Cir. 1992). B. Proof of a violation of the Fair Housing Act and proof of actual damages entitles a complainant to judgment in that amount. Curtis v Loether, 415 U.S. 189, 197 (1974); Smith v Wade, 461 U. S. 30,52 (1983); United States v City of Hayward, 36 F.3d 832, (9th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 116 S.Ct. 65 (1995); New Jersey Coalition of Rooming and Boarding House Owners v City of Ashbury Park, 1998 U. S. App. Lexis (3d Cir. 7/30/98). There is no requirement under the Fair Housing Act that a complainant show legal causation beyond the showing of legal discrimination to recover compensatory damages. Alexander v Riga, 208 F.3d 419 (3d Cir. 2000). 1. HUD ALJ's have awarded costs and lost wages for time taken for depositions and hearings in prosecuting a fair housing claim. E.g., HUD v Mountain Side Mobile Home Estates (HUD ALJ 12/17/93) FH/FL 25,065, rev'd on other grounds, 56 F.3d 1243 (10th Cir. 1995). 2. These costs are rarely substantial. See Phillips v Hunter Trails Comm. Ass'n., 685 F.2d 184, 190 (7th Cir. 1982). ($2,675 out-of-pocket expenses for being forced to stay in hotel and having to store furniture because house was made unavailable); Morgan v Secretary, 985 F.2d 1451, 1459 (10th Cir. 1993) (award of $1,500 was not based on substantial evidence). 3. Also, try to establish economic damage because housing discrimination isolates persons and disadvantages their future endeavors and alters their social environment. See Calmore, To Make Wrong Right: The Necessary and Proper Aspirations of Fair Housing, THE STATE OF BLACK AMERICA 1989 (National Urban League Report), at (This may require expert testimony.) 4. Out-of-pocket expenses may also include medical or psychological counseling expenses. See Jones v Rivers, 732 F. Supp. 176 (D.C. Cir. 1990). 6
7 5. Particularly in cases involving the disabled, added inconveniences due to modifications to the premises or problems of transportation or proximity of services may be included in the economic costs. 6. Out-of-pocket expenses may be reduced for failure to mitigate damages. Young v Parkland Village, Inc., 460 F.Supp. 67, 71 (D.Md. 1978); HUD v Morgan (HUD ALJ 7/25/91) FH/FL 25,138, modified on other grounds, 985 F.2d 1451 (10th Cir. 1993). In HUD v. Timmons (HUD ALJ 11/16/00) FH/FL 25,149, damages were disallowed when a couple purchased a home that they could not afford after they were discriminated against when they attempted to rent an apartment. 7. Costs must be reasonable. Hamilton v. Svatik, 779 F.2d 383, (7th Cir.1986); HUD v. Pheasant Ridge (HUD ALJ 10/25/96) FH/FL 25,123. H. Loss of Housing Opportunity In cases where the housing sought has special amenities, location, or other characteristics that cannot be duplicated and are lost to the complainant, damages might be awarded for loss of housing opportunity. See HUD v Kelly, (HUD ALJ 8/26/92) FH/FL 25,034; HUD v Lashley, (HUD ALJ 12/7/92) FH/FL 25,039. Heifetz & Heinz, Compensatory Damages in Fair Housing Adjudications, 26 John Marshall L. Rev. 26 (1992). NOTATION: If humiliation and emotional distress is part of the damage award, as an investigator you must stop and consider the best method to get a potential victim of discrimination to open up their humiliated and emotional hurts and talk to you, a stranger, about not only the discriminatory action that occurred but the effects of that discriminatory action on his/her heart, psyche as well as family, job, friends and day-to-day activity. I. Humiliation and Emotional Distress 1. Curtis v Loether, 415 U.S. 189, 197 n. 10 (1974) - Court likened an action to redress housing discrimination to an action for defamation or intentional infliction of mental distress. Note: In order to get a potential victim to open himself or herself up the investigator must first prepare the person for questioning. It is not easy to answer questions regarding aspects of personal lives that as a complainant he/she is not yet clear about and is not quite sure what and why the discrimination occurred. Explain in language that is simple to the complainant the types of questions that will be asked and the need to ask such questions. Pay attention to the demeanor of the complainant. If they are struggling in their responses because it is painful do not became aggressive because all you want is the facts. Do not get agitated because the complainant is not able to 7
8 answer your question during that interview. The ordeal may be difficult to speak about at the time. 2. In Carey v Piphus, 435 U.S. 247, 262 (1978), the Court acknowledged that at common law in actions for defamation per se, compensation could be awarded without evidence of actual loss because certain types of defamation are virtually certain to cause serious injury to reputations and because that injury is extremely difficult to prove. The Court rejected the analogy for a deprivation of procedural due process, Memphis Comm. School Dist. v Stachura, 477 U.S. 299 (1986), but the analogy may work in a fair housing case because of the analogy adopted in Curtis v Loether, supra. Note: Be very sure that you take the time to listen to what is really being said. Hurt is difficult to explain. Demeanor is very important so take notes on what you see when the complainant is talking to you. I recall as a victim, I developed a great deal of anger and I took my pain and hurt out on my attorneys. They were two White males and one was my mentor in law school and a friend. I hated them, and for a short period of time I hated all my White friends for what was done to me. I screamed at my attorneys and accused them of not trying to help me. I refused to answer their questions sometimes because I thought they wanted to break me down and see me cry. I would not cooperate during meetings because they wanted to talk over and over about what had occurred to me. Now that I look back, I was exceptionally difficult to deal with and if they did not take the time to weather the storm with me, I would have given in to my pain and hurt and quit. I would have justified my anger towards society and became a statistic instead of a productive member of society. I am grateful for Professors Michael P. Seng and F. Willis Caruso for their professionalism and empathetic manner during one of the most difficult periods in my life. They are part of the reason I am who I am today. 3. Damages for emotional distress based on "humiliation, embarrassment, anger, inconvenience, and lost housing opportunity" as well as damage to the couple's personal relationship can be awarded even in the absence of physical symptoms and publicity. Banai v. HUD, 102 F.3d 1203 (11th Cir. 1997). Note: Record your observations because by the time you write up a case you will have forgotten that the complainant said, it hut me but I can t really explain it. Many times investigations do not record that the complainant then broke into tears for six minutes and had to wash his/her face. In an attempt to get the big picture, investigators fail to record that other potential renters were present and heard or saw the discrimination. Remember they may not be witnesses, because no names, but even nameless, they added to the humiliation suffered. It s the little things that can make a difference in damage awards so if a 8
9 child was present when that parent was discriminated against they may have lost their greatest hero in their young life. Watch, listen and write down everything. 4. In Krueger v. Cuomo, 115 F.3d 487, 492 (7th Cir. 1997), the court recognized that: "The more inherently degrading or humiliating the defendant's action is, the more reasonable it is to infer that a person would suffer humiliation or distress from that action; consequently, somewhat more conclusory evidence of emotional distress will be acceptable to support an award for emotional damages," quoting U.S. v Balestrieri, 981 F.2d 916, 932 (7th Cir. 1992). Note: Complainant s often dull the pain and hurt suffered in a housing discrimination incident. One of the best ways to dull the pain and hurt is to push the matter into the deep recesses of the mind. Therefore get the complainant involved early by recording how he/she felt and what happen as the incident occurred. Let the complainant know that as time passes he/she will forget minor details and other facts will become clouded. Ask the complainant to not only write down or record on a tape-recorder what happen but also what was going on in their mind as the incident was occurring. Ask what did he/she do immediately after the incident, one or two days later and etc. Get the full picture. 5. Emotional distress may be established solely through the testimony and demeanor of the victim. For instance, in Secretary v Blackwell, 908 F.2d 864, 873 (11th Cir. 1990) (award of $40,000 for emotional distress to the Herrons), the court noted: In explaining the award of damages for "embarrassment, humiliation, and emotional distress", the ALJ relied upon the Herrons" testimony concerning their disappointment in being unable to move, and the humiliation caused by the knowledge that someone would deny them the right to buy a house because of their race. As Janella Herron testified, "I feel that everything that has been fought for over the last 30 years... was a waste of lives, a waste of time on the part of all those people who worked so hard for equal justice... Our lives have been put on hold because we are not allowed to live where we can afford and choose to live." Further, the Herrons testified about the invasion of privacy caused by the publicity, and their physical symptoms which included loss of sleep and headaches. Similarly in HUD v Gruzdaitis (HUD ALJ 8/14/98) FH/FL 25,137, Judge Heinz declared: 9
10 Actual damages in housing discrimination cases may include damages for intangible injuries such as embarrassment, humiliation, and emotional distress caused by the discrimination. Damages for emotional distress may be based on inferences drawn from the circumstances of the case, as well as on testimonial proof. Because emotional injuries are by nature qualitative and difficult to quantify, courts have awarded damages for emotional harm without requiring proof of the actual dollar value of the injury. The amount awarded should make the victim whole. Racial discrimination strikes at the heart of a person s identity. Race and skin color are immutable characteristics irrelevant to whether someone is qualified to buy or rent housing. As racial discrimination has been unlawful in this country for many years, it is reasonable to expect that a person of color would suffer deep frustration, anger, and humiliation upon experiencing discrimination during a search for housing. Complainant s response to Mr. Gruzdaitis bigotry falls within the range of typical reactions to racial discrimination. Surprised and intimidated by her profane and threatening rejection of her as a potential tenant, she walked away crying, her head bowed in humiliation. For weeks thereafter she had difficulty sleeping, concentrating, and eating. During this period her children suffered from her trauma-induced bad temper, a fact that causes her deep regard. She was so upset by the experience on Respondents porch that she discontinued her search for new housing for a month. Consequently, Mr. Gruzdaitis racially discriminatory conduct extended by a month the time that Complainant had to live in unsatisfactory, overcrowded housing. See also Bradley v Carydale, 730 F. Supp. 709 (E.D. Va. 1989) (award of $9,000 for emotional distress based on aggrieved party's testimony. She had never sought counseling or taken time off work); Littlefield v McGuffey, 954 F.2d.1337 (7th Cir. 1992) (award of $50,000 in compensatory damages based on plaintiffs testimony of her fears and anxieties); United States v Balistrieri, 981 F.2d 916, (7th Cir. 1992) (award of $2,000 for each tester based on the testers' testimonies, but the appeals court cautioned that the evidence was weak). Expert testimony that the defendant's conduct caused the plaintiff's distress is not required. It can be inferred by the factfinder from the 10
11 circumstances. Human Rights Commission v. LaBrie (Vt. 10/6/95) FH/FL 18,173; Krueger v. Cuomo, 115 F.3d 487, 492 (7th Cir. 1997); Johnson v Hale, 940 F. 2d 1192 (9th Cir. 1991). Note: All to often investigators ignore family, friends, teachers, and employers of the complainant because they did not witness the actual act of discrimination and this is a serious mistake. If a case is a reason cause case, develop questions for family, friends, teachers, and employers. Their responses should effect any conciliation or settlement amounts. 6. However, courts of appeal have reduced awards that were based solely on the victim's testimony. Douglas v Metro Rental Services, Inc., 827 F.2d 252 (7th Cir. 1987). Therefore, corroboration by family members, friends, coworkers, or medical or psychological consultants may be useful. In Morgan v Secretary, 985 F.2d 1451, 1459 (10th Cir. 1993), the court of appeals reversed an award of $5,000 for emotional distress based on the victim's own testimony because it was not supported by substantial evidence. Note: What if there are no prolonged effects? How about non-sufficient explanations? What if the discrimination only occurred once? Just because a complainant cannot express feelings using skillful adjectives do not assume there is no harm suffered and therefore no damages. The law is clear. 7. The fact-finder may infer humiliation from the circumstances. Seaton v Sky Realty Co., 491 F.2d 634, 636 (7th Cir. 1974); Secretary v Blackwell, 908 F.2d 864, 874 (11th Cir. 1990); Johnson v Hale, 940 F.2d 1192 (9th Cir. 1991). Note: As an example, let us say the complainant is disabled, how does this complainant explain fear of safety if the professional investigator does not ask. Maybe his/her disability added to the fear or maybe the fear of safety was presumed. Unless sufficient questions are asked and time is taken to really listen to what is being said, the investigator may forget that the law states, The victim is taken as he/she is found. 8. Housing providers must take their victims as they find them and damages are awarded based on the injuries to the victim and not an average or ordinary individual. HUD v. Pheasant Ridge (HUD ALJ 10/25/96) FH/FL 25,123. In HUD v. Kocerka (HUD ALJ 5/4/99) FH/FL 25,138, one of the complainants was compensated for the blame she felt for her brother s suicide because he refused to move to Chicago after he was told of the racial discrimination committed against her. Also, she was compensated for emotional damages because she lacked cynicism about race and had never previously experienced racial discrimination. Note: Listening is an art and a good artist must practice. What are possible symptoms of emotional stress? Pay attention when the complainant says things like: I seem to be arguing more with my spouse; I can t seem to sleep 11
12 all night; I started back smoking; I want to be alone; I ve been drinking before going home; I yell at the kids for everything. 9. Emotional stress can be inferred if the respondent s conduct resulted in the complainant remaining homeless. In Secretary v. Dimizzo (HUD ALJ 1/22/01), Judge Andretta stated that: No one who has never been homeless can fully appreciate the level of stress and discomfort caused by homelessness, but any reasonable person knows that it is a state to be avoided at all costs and testimony about its effects bolsters that view. Mr. Dimizzo had to sleep in shelters and spend his days on the streets. Every subsidized housing provider that Dimizzo applied to had a long waiting list. The Alexander was the first where his name came on the list to be considered for residency. He was rejected and blocked from voicing a valid appeal that should easily have reversed the rejection. Any healthy person would begin to despair at such a situation, but Mr. Dimizzo already suffered from bouts of clinical depression, and so his situation of emotional distress was exacerbated. He went into a deep, dark, depression, and he was struck with a sense of doom. 10. In HUD v. Timmons (HUD ALJ 11/16/00) FH/FL 25,149, the white parents of an adopted African-American minor were awarded damages for emotional distress after the respondents refused to rent to them because of the race of their child. The mother lost sleep and questioned whether her son would have been better off having been adopted by an African American family. The father stayed up at night comforting the mother and questioned his adequacy as a father and provider. Note: Do your homework. Never assume. 11. Courts have looked to damage awards in comparable cases to decide what damages are appropriate. Phillips v Hunter Trails Comm. Ass'n., 685 F.2d 184, 190 (7th Cir. 1982); Douglas v Metro Rental Services, Inc., 827 F.2d 252, (7th Cir. 1987); Broome v Biondi (S.D. N.Y. 1997) FH/FL 16,240. Therefore, counsel may want to advise the court of awards favorable to the client's position. 12. A husband has been allowed to recover damages because he lived and suffered with effects of discrimination on his wife, and the parents of interracial children have been allowed to recover for the grief they suffered 12
13 from seeing their children s emotional distress as a result of the incident. HUD v. Kocerka (HUD ALJ 5/4/99) FH/FL 25, Counsel may also want to analogize to awards in other dignity tort cases which often result in higher sums. See Matlock v Barnes, 932 F.2d 658 (7th Cir. 1991) (award of $20,000 for emotional distress due to discharge because of political affiliation is not excessive); Hall v Ochs, 817 F.2d 920 (1st Cir. 1987) (compensatory damages totaling $160,000 and punitive damages totaling $200,000 is not excessive for racially motivated false arrest); Chicago Tribune, April 28, 1992, 2, p. 3, c. 2 (hate crime victim awarded $1.75 million). Note: Investigators should know when they are unable to investigate and conciliate a case. Sometimes it becomes necessary to let your supervisor know that you need someone else to handle the conciliation portion. In my own experience there have been times when I can no longer act as a mediator between the parties for a variety of reasons. If there is the smallest possibility to conciliate or if a particular case needs one last attempt at conciliation and I may be seen as a hindrance in the conciliation attempt, I will step aside and ask for help. If I fail to take an independent look at conciliation, my prideful indecision my harm the complainant in the long run. 14. Mitigation is normally not required for intangible losses. Tyus v. Urban Search Management, 102 F.3d 256, 264 (7th Cir. 1996). However, the failure to conciliate may be regarded as a refusal to mitigate damages for emotional distress, HUD v. Mountain Side Mobile Estates (HUD ALJ 10/23/93) FH/FL 25,064. Note: Remember if we as professionals do not use language that helps us obtain the clearest picture as to what occurred, we are doing more harm than good. We should stop and ask the complainant, is this exactly what occurred or did I miss something? 15. An award for emotional distress may take into account the plaintiff's reaction in light of the egregiousness of the defendant's conduct, i.e., was it intentional. HUD v Mountain Side Mobile Estates (HUD ALJ 12/17/93) FH/FL 25,065, rev'd on other grounds, 56 F.3d 1243 (10th Cir. 1995). 16. In Broome v. Biondi (S.D.N.Y 1997) FH/FL 16,240, the court upheld an award of $114,000 to each of the victims of racial discrimination for emotional distress. The court stated: "In the case of persistent housing discrimination which continues unabated some 30 years after Congress passed the Fair Housing Act to stamp out decades of such discriminatory behavior, the genuine emotional pain associated with such discrimination should not be devalued by unreasonably low compensatory damage awards, especially when one considers the difficulty a plaintiff faces in establishing that he or she was a victim of housing discrimination. After reviewing the awards given for emotional distress in comparable cases and the evidence 13
14 adduced at trial, the court finds that the actual emotional and mental damages suffered by the Broomes were substantial and that the jury's compensatory award of $114,000 each for emotional damages is not excessive." As professionals in the housing industry may we never forget that housing discrimination affects a person s dignity, self-esteem, self-worth or whatever noun will assist you as professional to never forget whether the discrimination is actual or believed real, the injury is authentic to that particular complainant. Every complainant, no matter how difficult the complainant, the respondent or the case itself, deserves our professionalism and our empathetic manner from initial interview to the finding. Each day may we find a reason to give each complainant our best efforts as we recall that fair housing is not an option but it is the law. (The comments in this paper were delivered as part of a training session during HUD s Fair Housing Summit where the primary attendees in the sessions were those charged with investigating and/or litigating fair housing cases.) 14
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DONALD GALLOWAY, Plaintiff, v. Civil Action No. 91-0644 (JHG SUPERIOR COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA and THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendants.
FAIR HOUSING LEGAL SUPPORT CENTER A CONSUMER GUIDE TO FAIR LENDING AND HOME OWNERSHIP PRESERVATION A CONSUMER GUIDE TO FAIR LENDING AND HOME OWNERSHIP PRESERVATION OVERVIEW This guide explains your right
Medical Malpractice VOIR DIRE QUESTIONS INTRODUCTION: Tell the jurors that this is a very big and a very important case. Do a SHORT summary of the case and the damages we are seeking. This summary should
! Their stories are tragic. A new chapter starts now. now.! Bully is a movie that tells powerful stories about children and their families dealing with extreme pain and tragic consequences related to bullying.
REMEDIES AND DAMAGES IN FAIR HOUSING CASES AND THE PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL IMPACT D. SCOTT CHANG NATIONAL FAIR HOUSING TRAINING CONFERENCE AND HOUSING POLICY SUMMIT WASHINGTON D.C. JUNE 14-16, 2004 A. ACTUAL
2:10-cv-12479-PDB-MAR Doc # 8 Filed 02/24/11 Pg 1 of 7 Pg ID 30 JOHN HETT Plaintiff, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN SOUTHERN DIVISION v. Case No. 10-cv-12479 Paul D. Borman United
Chapter 4 Crimes (Review) On a separate sheet of paper, write down the answer to the following Q s; if you do not know the answer, write down the Q. 1. What is a crime? 2. There are elements of a crime.
Injured on the Job Your Rights under FELA Quick Facts: What To Do If Injured 1. Consult your own doctor for treatment. Give your doctor a complete history of how your injury happened. Make sure that the
BEFORE THE APPEALS BOARD FOR THE KANSAS DIVISION OF WORKERS COMPENSATION WAYNE M. McKIBBEN Claimant VS. DRY BASEMENT & FOUNDATION SYSTEMS Respondent Docket No. 1,034,394 AND ACCIDENT FUND INSURANCE CO.
You are not alone. It was not your fault. You have courage. You have choices. You have power. We re here to help. A Guide for Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors Breaking the silence. Raising Awareness. Fighting
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA KEYBOARD()DIVISION KEYBOARD(), Plaintiff, v. KEYBOARD(), Defendants. ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] CV Members of the Jury: COURT S INSTRUCTIONS
Being a Witness What is a witness? A witness is a person who is required to come to court to answer questions about a case. The answers a witness gives in court are called evidence. Before giving evidence,
March 9, 2007 Landlords Prey on Poor Women by Extorting Sexual Favors in Lieu of Rent By Russell Goldman March 8, 2007 For four years Mary lived in fear of her landlord, describing herself as a prisoner
You Are Served : Litigation In The Workplace Presented by: Wendy J. Mellk, Esq. Jackson Lewis LLP 58 South Service Rd., Ste. 410 Melville, NY 11747 (631) 247-0404 firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright 2008
SETTLEGOODE v. PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS, et al CV-00-313-ST JURY INSTRUCTIONS FOLLOWING CLOSE OF EVIDENCE These instructions will be in three parts: first, general rules that define and control your duties
SUMMARY OF KEY PROVISIONS UNDER FEDERAL, STATE, and CITY EEO LAWS I. PROTECTED CATEGORIES Protected Classes 42 USC 2000e-2(a)-(c) Prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF MAINE Donna Norton, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) CIVIL ACTION NO. 05-36-P-S ) Lakeside Family Practice, P.A. ) ) Defendant. ) FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Sexual Assault What is assault? Assault is when someone uses force to hurt you. Slapping, kicking and pushing can be assault. Sometimes touching can be an assault. Threatening or trying to hurt someone
SHAWN WASHINGTON, v. Appellant, NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION BOARD OF REVIEW, NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, and RELATED MANAGEMENT, CO., LLP, Respondents. SUPERIOR
Trying Damages in the Wrongful Death Case of an Adult Child By Ben Rubinowitz and Evan Torgan When a young worker, who is married, with three children and who is earning $100,000 per year, dies after falling
Tax Aspects of Settlements and Judgments Dominic L. Daher, MAcc, JD, LLM in Taxation Director of Internal Audit and Tax Compliance Adjunct Professor of Law University of San Francisco Dawn G. Mayer, JD,
Chapter Five CRIMINAL LAW AND VICTIMS RIGHTS In a criminal case, a prosecuting attorney (working for the city, state, or federal government) decides if charges should be brought against the perpetrator.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGES The Secretary, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, on behalf of Stacy Myers,
Your Criminal Justice System Helpful Information for the Victims and Witnesses of Crime Provided by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt Victims Services Division 120 SW 10th Ave, 2nd Floor Topeka, KS
GUIDE FOR TAX REPORTING AND WITHHOLDING OF SETTLEMENT AWARDS Office of the State Controller State of Colorado Revised January, 1997 I. Purpose The purpose of this guide is to provide information necessary
2006 AN OVERVIEW OF THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM OUTCOMES As a result of this lesson, students will be able to: Summarize juvenile court process and procedures Define legal terms used in the juvenile justice
[Cite as Tod v. Cincinnati Technical & Community College, 2010-Ohio-3222.] Court of Claims of Ohio The Ohio Judicial Center 65 South Front Street, Third Floor Columbus, OH 43215 614.387.9800 or 1.800.824.8263
Management-Side Strategies for Handling the Pro Se Employment Litigant By Mark M. Whitney i As someone who litigates employment claims on behalf of management primarily in state and federal courts, one
Missouri Small Claims Court Handbook The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers' Section TABLE OF CONTENTS I. INTRODUCTION TO THE SMALL CLAIMS COURT...1 Page II. THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BRINGING A CLAIM...1 A. WHO
Chapter 5 Civil Law and Procedure Business Law Ms. Turner Crime Offense against society Tort Private or civil wrong; offense against an individual Can sue to receive money damages Can be both a crime and
INTRODUCTION INVESTIGATIONS GONE WILD: Potential Claims By Employees By: Maureen S. Binetti, Esq. Christopher R. Binetti, Paralegal Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A. When can the investigation which may
T.C. Memo. 2000-161 UNITED STATES TAX COURT ESTATE OF KENNETH F. SCHOENEMAN, DECEASED, JOANN METZ AND JAMES J. RILEY, EXECUTORS, Petitioners v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent Docket No. 15230-97.
TAXI and TLC-Licensee CASES A Guide to Your Hearing at the OATH Tribunal 40 Rector Street, 6th Floor New York, NY TABLE OF CONTENTS Taxi and TLC-Licensee Cases Heard at OATH.......3 Should I Get a Lawyer?.
Case :-cv-00-loa Document Filed 0// Page of 0 Bradley Jardis, vs. Keith M. Knowlton, L.L.C. SBN 0 S. Rural Road, Suite 0, PMB# Tempe, Arizona -00 (0 -; FAX (0 - Keith M. Knowlton - SBN 0 Attorney for Plaintiff
SETTLEMENTS AND JUDGMENTS YOU MEAN I HAVE TO PAY TAXES? By: Geoffrey N. Taylor, Esq. I. INCOME TO PLAINTIFF A. Distinction between settlements and judgments. B. Basic rule is the origin of claims test.
Consumer Awareness How to Keep From Getting Ripped Off by Big Insurance Provided as an educational service by: Anthony D. Castelli, Esq. Concentration in Auto and Work Related Injuries (513) 621-2345 ATTENTION!!!
Case:-cv-0 Document Filed0// Page of Michael Millen Attorney at Law (#) Calle Marguerita Ste. 0 Telephone: Fax: (0) -0 email@example.com Attorney for Plaintiff UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT
City of Miami City Hall 3500 Pan American Drive Miami, FL 33133 www. miamigov. corn INeuhr _611di[G J>Jf ^ ^^1 ^ 'l^^l^ ^ Meeting Minutes Tuesday, October 5, 2010 10:00 AM Commission Chambers Civil Service
Franklin County State's Attorney Victim Services FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS What type of services and information can I get through Victim Services Program? A Victim Advocate will be assigned to assist
FURR & HENSHAW http://www.scmedicalmalpractice.com 1900 Oak Street Post Office Box 2909 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29578 (843) 626-7621 (800) 849-2525 firstname.lastname@example.org and 1534 Blanding Street Columbia,
7 DEADLY SINS TO AVOID IN YOUR ACCIDENT CASE 1. Providing Statements - at the scene of the accident or insurance adjusters soon after. You are under no obligation to make a statement to the police or to
Landlord/Tenant Issues for Survivors of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and/or Stalking Introduction Tenants who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment or stalking now
Assistance Animals In Housing New HUD Guidance Regarding Assistance Animals Marley J. Eichstaedt, Executive Director Northwest Fair Housing Alliance Recently, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE FOR MAY 2016 LEAGUE OF CALIFORNIA CITIES CONFERENCE Timothy L. Davis Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP www.bwslaw.com OVERVIEW FOR 2016 UPDATE Labor Law Court Decisions Employment
2015 IL App (1st) 141179-U THIRD DIVISION May 20, 2015 No. 1-14-1179 NOTICE: This order was filed under Supreme Court Rule 23 and may not be cited as precedent by any party except in the limited circumstances
We SINGuLARLy FOCUS ON DISABILITY LAW, SO YOU DON T HAVE TO. We represent an exclusive group of professional and executive clients at every stage of the disability claim process covering all of your long
USDC IN/ND case 1:15-cv-00157-JD-SLC document 1 filed 06/19/15 page 1 of 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA FORT WAYNE DIVISION A.B., a minor child, by his mother and next friend,
Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers 2014 Granby Street, Suite 200 Norfolk, VA, 23517 (757) 455-0077 (866) 455-6657 (Toll Free) YOUR RIGHTS WHEN YOU ARE INJURED ON THE RAILROAD Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers 2014
PRODUCT LIABILITY Product Liability Litigation The Effect of Product Safety Regulatory Compliance By Kenneth Ross Product liability litigation and product safety regulatory activities in the U.S. and elsewhere
WikiLeaks Document Release February 2, 2009 Congressional Research Service Report RS20519 ASBESTOS COMPENSATION ACT OF 2000 Henry Cohen, American Law Division Updated April 13, 2000 Abstract. This report
A Victim s Guide to Understanding the Criminal Justice System The Bartholomew County Prosecutor s Office Victim Assistance Program Prosecutor: William Nash 234 Washington Street Columbus, IN 47201 Telephone:
ASSESSMENT OF PROPOSED WISCONSIN ABUSIVE WORKPLACE ACT (AB 894 ) by Bob Gregg, Boardman Law Firm Workplace intimidation and bullying are serious issues. They cause significant harm to individuals and to
Blowing the Whistle on Accounting Fraud: The Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protections Act At A Glance A White Paper for Finance Professionals by David J. Marshall and Nicole J. Williams 1 Katz, Marshall
FREE SPECIAL REPORT WANT TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY? WHAT YOU ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY HAVE TO KNOW WHEN BUYING CAR INSURANCE. Keep reading to learn What are your chances of having an accident in Kentucky with
' 2 TERRY GODDARD The Attorney General Firm No. 14000 II Sandra R. Kane, No. 0042 4 IIAssistant Attorney General 125 West Washmgton 5 IIPhoenix, Arizona 8500 Telephone: (602) 542-8862 6 IICivi~Rights@azag.gov
Dale C. Godby, Ph.D., ABPP, CGP 6330 LBJ Suite 150 Dallas, Texas 75240 972-233-0648 Problems in love and work, as well as troubling symptoms like depression and anxiety, often lead people to seek therapy.
Caring for Survivors of Trauma and Disaster: An Introduction to Psychological First Aid Biographical Information Rev. William F. Engfehr III LutheranChurch MissouriSynod DisasterResponseChaplain Senior
THE BASICS Getting a Divorce in New York State Either the wife or the husband can ask a Court for a divorce. In this booklet, we say that the wife is the person who will go to Court to request a divorce
Co-dependency Fact Sheet on co-dependency from Mental Health America: Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition
Paralegal News Thank you for reading this, our Second Edition. A busy month or so has past, and David and I wanted to commit to some time again to write for our readers. Inviting you into a bit of what
Illinois Official Reports Appellate Court Continental Tire of the Americas, LLC v. Illinois Workers Compensation Comm n, 2015 IL App (5th) 140445WC Appellate Court Caption CONTINENTAL TIRE OF THE AMERICAS,
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) Civil Action No. ) ERIE INSURANCE COMPANY ) OF NEW YORK; ERIE INSURANCE ) COMPANY;
WHO'S ON THE FIRING LINE? TIPS FOR AVOIDING WRONGFUL/RETALIATORY DISCHARGE CLAIMS by William R. Hanna I. INTRODUCTION A. Union members were only 7.2% of the private sector work force in 2009, down from
THE BASICS Custody and Visitation in New York State This booklet answers common questions about custody and visitation when the parents cannot agree about who is responsible for taking care of the children.
April, 2003 No. 3 Toxic and Hazardous Substances Litigation In This Issue Quentin F. Urquhart, Jr. is a founding partner of Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore a New Orleans, Louisiana firm that is focused
What Happens Next? A PARENTS' A PARENTS GUIDE TO NEW YORK STATE CHILD PROTECTIVE SYSTEM Revised: April 2012 Adapted by Prevent Child Abuse New York, Inc. from a piece of the same name by Margo Hittleman,
Damages Discovery Instructors: Gary M. Gilbert Ernest C. Hadley EXCEL 2009 1 1 Basics of Discovery What you absolutely need: 29 C.F.R. 1614.109(d); EEOC Management Directive 110, Chapter 7; EEOC Handbook
Document Page 1 of 7 IN THE UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA SOUTHERN DIVISION In Re: ) ) TANITA M. CAIN, ) Case No. 13-04056-TOM-7 ) Debtor. ) MEMORANDUM OPINION AND
Bullying A guide for employers and workers Bullying A guide for employers and workers 1 Please note This information is for guidance only and is not to be taken as an expression of the law. It should be
Information for Worker s Compensation Clients Overview of the Worker s Compensation Act Indiana Worker s Compensation cases are governed by a State law known as the Worker s Compensation Act. The legislature
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS CHAPTER 2: GUIDELINES FOR PAYMENT OF COMPENSATORY DAMAGES, CIVIL PENALTIES, AND ATTORNEY S FEES UNDER THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT OF 1977 4 DCMR 200 et seq. (1999)
USVH Disease of the Week #1: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Effects of Traumatic Experiences A National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet By: Eve B. Carlson, Ph.D. and Josef Ruzek, Ph.D. When people find
Case: 12-16291 Date Filed: 06/17/2013 Page: 1 of 8 [DO NOT PUBLISH] IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT No. 12-16291 Non-Argument Calendar D.C. Docket No. 0:12-cv-61429-RSR MICHAEL
THE THREAT OF BAD FAITH LITIGATION ETHICAL HANDLING OF CLAIMS AND GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT PRACTICES By Craig R. White SKEDSVOLD & WHITE, LLC. 1050 Crown Pointe Parkway Suite 710 Atlanta, Georgia 30338 (770)
Case 2:02-cv-01069-WHA-SRW Document 1 Filed 09/17/2002 Page 1 of 5, '\ IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA D \ \..': t', I ' NORTHERN DIVISION " \ NASH J. COOLEY ) FILED
REPRESENTING YOURSELF AND YOUR BUSINESS IN MAGISTRATE COURT I. INTRODUCTION Business is rife with conflict. To succeed, a business owner must be adept at resolving these disputes quickly and efficiently.
Harvey C. Berger (SBN POPE & BERGER 0 West "C" Street, Suite 100 San Diego, California 1 Telephone: (1-1 Facsimile: (1 - Attorneys for Plaintiff PLAINTIFF SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA IN AND
Alabama bail laws 1. Applicable Statutes A. CODE OF ALABAMA TITLE 15. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE. CHAPTER 13. BAIL. ARTICLES 1-6. 2. Licensing Requirements for Agents A. The Code of Alabama, Alabama Rules of Criminal