Case: Savannah-Chatham County Fair Housing Council v. Genesis Designer Homes

4:06-cv-00096 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia

Filed Date: April 12, 2006

Closed Date: 2014

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On April 12, 2006, the Savannah-Chatham County Fair Housing Council, Inc. filed a lawsuit under the Fair Housing Act 42 U.S.C. §3604(f)(3)(C), against the Defendants, owners, operators, designers, homeowners association, and builders of two condominium developments, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. The Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, claimed the Defendants engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of disability in its des…

On April 12, 2006, the Savannah-Chatham County Fair Housing Council, Inc. filed a lawsuit under the Fair Housing Act 42 U.S.C. §3604(f)(3)(C), against the Defendants, owners, operators, designers, homeowners association, and builders of two condominium developments, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. The Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, claimed the Defendants engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of disability in its design, construction, sale and operation of the two multi-family housing developments. The Plaintiff sought injunctive, declaratory, and monetary relief.

On September 26, 2008, the United States Department of Justice filed its own case against the same defendants, adding as defendants an engineering firm, a construction firm, and a property owners association, in the same court. The United States similarly claimed the Defendants engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of disability in the design, construction, sale and operation of the covered multi-family dwellings and asked the Court for the same relief as the Savannah-Chatham County Fair Housing Council, Inc. On November 11, 2008, the two cases were consolidated for all purposes.

Plaintiffs claim that the multi-family dwellings were designed, built and operated in such a way as to be inaccessible to persons with disabilities in their common and public use areas, passage in and out of the premises, and in the interiors of the units, all in violation of the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (the "Fair Housing Act"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 - 3619.

At some point, several of the Defendants went out of business. During the last two weeks of June 2011, the Court (Judge William T. Moore) approved five-year Partial Consent Orders between the United States and these Defendants, requiring Defendants to notify the Department of Justice within 15 days of re-entering the business of designing and constructing multi-family house.

On June 13, 2011, the Court entered a Consent Order between the United States and the designers. On June 22, 2011, the Court entered a Consent Order between the Plaintiffs and the construction company. On June 30, 2011, the Court entered a Consent Order between the Plaintiffs and the real estate group, and on July 5, 2011, the Court entered a Consent Order between SCFHC and other individual defendants. In the orders, these Defendants were not required to pay any money for retrofits or penalties, due to their insolvency. As of October 26, 2011, the civil engineering firm was the only original defendant still operating as a viable entity, but the ownership and operation of the two housing developments had been transferred to new entities. These entities were brought into the lawsuits as necessary parties.

On October 26, 2011, after five years of litigation and negotiation, the plaintiffs entered and the Court approved a Consent Order between the plaintiffs, the engineering firm and the current owner/operators. The Decree required extensive retrofits to the subject properties' common areas and to the 194 ground-floor units covered by the Fair Housing Act, along with training and education requirements, strict time frames, and monitoring by an independent inspector. The Decree also provided for a $227,000 "retrofit" fund, a $50,000 settlement fund, and $158,375.00 in damages, including attorney fees to the fair housing council.

The Consent Order extended to 2014.

On December 24, 2014, the Defendants entered a final report claiming compliance with the Consent Order and asking the court to dismiss the case with prejudice. The court never issued an order official closing the case, but there has been no further activity as of the writing of this summary on January 31, 2018. The case is presumably now closed.

Summary Authors

Stacey McClurkin (2/4/2012)

Asma Husain (1/31/2018)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5071603/parties/savannah-chatham-county-fair-housing-council-inc-v-genesis-designer/


Judge(s)

Moore, William Theodore Jr. (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Berlon, John Paul (Georgia)

Booth, Edmund A. Jr. (Georgia)

Brancart, Christopher (California)

Cass, Jennifer (District of Columbia)

Cosmiac, Rena J. (District of Columbia)

Kennebrew, Delora L. (District of Columbia)

Keveney, Sean R. (District of Columbia)

Lapertosa, Max (Pennsylvania)

Maurer, Michael S. (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Moore, William Theodore Jr. (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Berlon, John Paul (Georgia)

Booth, Edmund A. Jr. (Georgia)

Brancart, Christopher (California)

Cass, Jennifer (District of Columbia)

Cosmiac, Rena J. (District of Columbia)

Kennebrew, Delora L. (District of Columbia)

Keveney, Sean R. (District of Columbia)

Lapertosa, Max (Pennsylvania)

Maurer, Michael S. (District of Columbia)

Mukasey, Michael B. (New York)

Steele, Michalyn (District of Columbia)

Tarver, Edward J. (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Baiad, Todd M. (Georgia)

Darbyshire, Glen M. (Georgia)

Dickinson, Jennifer J. (Georgia)

Fleming, Thomas Mills (Georgia)

Fulcher, W. M. (Georgia)

Glass, William G. (Georgia)

Holliday, Leamon Roy III (Georgia)

Hooks, Kevin E. (Georgia)

Lamar, Sarah H. (Georgia)

Madison, Ashleigh Ruth (Georgia)

Paul, Roy E. (Georgia)

Pedigo, Susannah Rogers (Georgia)

Savage, Brent J. (Georgia)

Thompson, William C. (Georgia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

United States v. Genesis Designer Homes, LLC

Dec. 24, 2014 Docket
1

Complaint

Savannah-Chatham County Fair Housing Counsel v. Genesis Designer Homes, LLC

April 12, 2006 Complaint
102

Third-Party Complaint Of Thomas & Hutton Engineering, Co. Against Richard A. Fitzer, II

United States v. Genesis Designer Homes, LLC

Dec. 13, 2007 Complaint
116

Defendant Richard A. Fitzer, II's Answer and Counterclaim to Third-Party Complaint Filed By Thomas & Hutton Engineering Company

United States v. Genesis Designer Homes, LLC

Feb. 4, 2008 Pleading / Motion / Brief
212

First Amended Complaint

United States v. Genesis Designer Homes, LLC

Nov. 12, 2008 Complaint
337

Order

United States v. Genesis Designer Homes, LLC

March 10, 2011 Order/Opinion
349

Partial Consent Order Resolving The United States' Claims Against Defendant Genesis Designer Homes, Inc.

United States v. Genesis Designer Homes, LLC

June 13, 2011 Settlement Agreement
351

Partial Consent Order Resolving Plaintiff's Claims Against Defendant Malphrus Construction Co., Inc.

United States v. Genesis Designer Homes, LLC

June 22, 2011 Settlement Agreement
358

Partial Consent Order Resolving Plaintiffs' Claims Against Defendant Genesis Real Estate Group, LLC

United States v. Genesis Designer Homes, LLC

June 30, 2011 Settlement Agreement
359

Amended Partial Consent Order Resolving Plaintiff Savannah Chatham County Fair Housing Council's Claims Against Defendant Richard Fitzer II

United States v. Genesis Designer Homes, LLC

July 5, 2011 Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5071603/savannah-chatham-county-fair-housing-council-inc-v-genesis-designer/

Last updated May 13, 2022

ECF Number Description Date Link
53

ORDER denying 51 Motion as moot.. Signed by Judge G. R. Smith on 8/8/07. (wwp)

Aug. 8, 2007 RECAP
323

ORDER granting 322 Motion for Discovery. Signed by Judge William T. Moore, Jr. on 02/11/2011. (lmm)

Feb. 14, 2011 RECAP