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Case Name FHJC v. Esplanade Venture Partnership et al. FH-NY-0028
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-03600 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Attorney Organization Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP
Case Summary
This case is about discriminatory housing practices in New York City.

In the fall of 2012, the Fair Housing Justice Center received a complaint alleging that the Esplanade Residences refused to rent to people who use wheelchairs. As a result, the FHJC launched an investigation into the ... read more >
This case is about discriminatory housing practices in New York City.

In the fall of 2012, the Fair Housing Justice Center received a complaint alleging that the Esplanade Residences refused to rent to people who use wheelchairs. As a result, the FHJC launched an investigation into the matter by sending "testers" to observe the residences' polices while posing as potential renters. Based on the findings of the investigations, on May 29, 2013, the FHJC filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601. Represented by a private public interest firm and a non-profit legal organization, the plaintiffs alleged that the owners and managers of five independent senior living residences were discriminating on the basis of disability, religion, and race in violation of fair housing laws. Specifically, the complaint alleged three violations of the Fair Housing Act for discrimination of the bases of disability, religion, and race, as well as violations of state fair housing laws. The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief, in the form of policy change, and damages. The case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis and Judge Analisa Torres.

The defendants filed their answer on July 22, 2013. Following a pretrial conference on August 30, the parties agreed to a settlement conference before a magistrate judge prior to proceeding to trial. Initially, this conference was set for October 8, 2013, but was rescheduled twice.

FHJC filed an amended complaint on October 2, 2013 and added a jury demand. On November 1, the plaintiff withdrew the amended complaint, making the complaint filed on May 29 the operative complaint. On November 8, FHJC filed a motion for leave to amend their complaint in order to add Chestnut Operating Company as a defendant in light of information uncovered in discovery. On November 21, the defendants consented to the amendment of the complaint and, on December 18, they filed an answer.

The settlement conference was held on November 22, 2013 and did not settle at that time, according to a minute entry. The conference was adjourned to January 6, 2014. The parties engaged in several conferences that did not result in settlement throughout 2014, many of which were adjourned multiple times for reasons related to discovery. The case was reassigned to Judge Valerie E. Caproni.

The final conference was held on November 12, 2014. The parties reached a settlement on December 11, 2014 and a stipulation for voluntary dismissal was filed on January 8, 2015. The settlement included policy changes to conform the defendants' policies to the requirements of the Fair Housing Act. The defendants would not discriminate against residents or prospective residents on the basis of disability, religion, or race by denying housing, falsely representing unavailability of housing, advertising in a way that indicated discrimination. Specifically, the defendants would end a practice of inquiring into a prospective renters religion or disability, they would provide reasonable accommodations and a means by which to request them, include more diverse models and the phrase "Equal Opportunity Housing" in their advertising, and train their employees on these new policies. The agreement also contained certain measures particular to each housing complex. In addition to the policy changes, the settlement agreement included a monetary settlement of $297,500 for damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs. The obligations under the settlement agreement would continue for four years, through which the court would retain jurisdiction.

The case was dismissed with prejudice on January 12, 2015 with the court retaining jurisdiction only to enforce compliance with the settlement. No docket entries have been filed since 2015, and the case is presumably closed.

Rachel Kreager - 03/17/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Comply with advertising/recruiting requirements
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Provide antidiscrimination training
Reasonable Accommodation
Training
Defendant-type
Multi-family housing provider
Disability
disability, unspecified
Mental impairment
Mobility impairment
Discrimination-area
Housing Sales/Rental
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Race discrimination
Religion discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Housing
Reasonable Accommodations
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Race
Race, unspecified
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
Defendant(s) Chestnut Operating Company, LLC
Esplanade Chestnut, LLC
Esplanade of White Plains Venture Partnership
Esplanade Staten Island, LLC
Esplanade Venture Partnership
Palisades Gardens Group, LLC
Plaintiff Description A nonprofit civil rights organization focused on housing discrimination and fair housing
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration 2014 - 2018
Filed 05/29/2013
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  The Origins of Fair Lending Litigation
Date: Dec. 4, 2008
By: Andrew Nash (Washington University in St. Louis Law Student)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
S.D.N.Y.
01/12/2015
1:13-cv-03600-RLE
FH-NY-0028-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D.N.Y.
05/29/2013
Complaint [ECF# 1]
FH-NY-0028-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
10/02/2013
Amended Complaint [ECF# 19]
FH-NY-0028-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
11/25/2014
Settlement Agreement
FH-NY-0028-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: Public.Resource.Org
show all people docs
Judges Ellis, Ronald L. (S.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
FH-NY-0028-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cremin, Kevin M. (New York) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0028-0001 | FH-NY-0028-0002 | FH-NY-0028-0003 | FH-NY-0028-9000
Horowitz, Hayley (New York) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0028-0003 | FH-NY-0028-9000
Houk, Diane Lee (New York) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0028-0001 | FH-NY-0028-0002 | FH-NY-0028-0003 | FH-NY-0028-9000
Sorooshyari, Nahid (New York) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0028-0001 | FH-NY-0028-0002 | FH-NY-0028-0003 | FH-NY-0028-9000
Zelhof, Jeanette M. (New York) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0028-0001 | FH-NY-0028-0002 | FH-NY-0028-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Gorman, Elizabeth Rolande (New York) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0028-0003 | FH-NY-0028-9000
Hadjicharala, Cristo Chariton (New York) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0028-0003 | FH-NY-0028-9000
Koffsky, Mark Ira (New York) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0028-0003 | FH-NY-0028-9000
Luntz, David T. (New York) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0028-0003 | FH-NY-0028-9000
Schwalb, Efrem Tobias (New York) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0028-0003 | FH-NY-0028-9000
Volkheimer, Stephen Henry (New York) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0028-9000

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