Pasadena, CA complex pays $35,000 for discriminatory rules against children

The owners and manager of a Pasadena, California apartment complex have paid $35,000 under a December 2001 Consent Decree and Court Order. In addition to the payment, the defendants will participate in a comprehensive fair housing training and advertising program to settle claims of familial status discrimination. Specific terms of the Consent Decree and Order include fair housing training for each of the defendants; distribution of new, children-neutral house rules written by the Fair Housing Council; distribution of fair housing pamphlets; family-affirmative advertising; and the display of fair housing posters.

The Fair Housing Council of San Gabriel Valley, along with Javier and Ana Ramirez, filed a lawsuit against Donald Follett and resident manager Juan Perez, alleging that defendants discriminated against tenants on the basis of familial status in the operation of the apartment complex. The complaint alleged that the defendants enforced an unwritten policy prohibiting children from playing outside.

Mr. and Mrs. Ramirez lived with their children for a year at the 26-unit complex and had multiple disputes with property management over the enforcement of the policy. The Ramirez lawsuit was the fifth familial status case successfully litigated in 2001 by the Fair Housing Council San Gabriel Valley’s new litigation team. Each of the five cases produced comprehensive Consent Decrees settlement agreements.

"This set of decrees and settlements benefits those tenants living at the subject properties who will no longer have to live in a discriminatory environment," said Frances Espinoza, the Council’s executive director. "They also benefit the community at large by sending a clear message that familial status discrimination is unlawful and will not tolerated in our community."

The plaintiffs were represented by Gary Rhoades and Danielle Jones with the Fair Housing Council. Defendants were represented by Allen Brown from the Law Offices Allen Brown in Whittier, California. United States District Judge Manuel Real presided over the case and signed the Consent Decree and Order.