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Sabrina Smith, Amber Moorehead, and Kimberly Davis Consent Decree v. Balubhai G. Patel

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


March 26, 2013

SABRINA SMITH, AMBER MOOREHEAD, AND KIMBERLY DAVIS CONSENT DECREE PLAINTIFFS,
v.
BALUBHAI G. PATEL, ETC., ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.

NO JS-6

This action was brought by plaintiffs Sabrina Smith, Amber Moorehead, Kimberly Davis and Coalition for Economic Survival against defendants Balubhai G. Patel, individually and as trustee of Balubhai Patel Revocable Trust dated March 14, 2007, Apolinar Arellano, Adela Fernandez Arellano, Arellano & Galicia, Inc., and Kudali Research & Development, Inc., alleging that defendants, or their agents, violated the federal Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq., and related California state laws, by engaging in a pattern or practice of sexual harassment of female residents of the Lafayette Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Defendants have denied all material allegations in the complaint.

The parties have agreed that in order to avoid protracted and costly litigation, the controversy should be resolved without a trial and therefore have consented to entry of this decree. By entering into this consent decree, defendants make no admission of liability or wrongdoing in connection with the allegations and claims made by plaintiffs.

It is hereby ordered, adjudged and decreed that:

A. Monetary Payments

1. Defendants shall make monetary payments in the amount of five hundred fifty thousand dollars ($550,000.00) in the form of a check or checks made payable to the Attorney-Client Trust Account of Brancart & Brancart, and shall deliver that payment to Brancart & Brancart, 8205 Pescadero Road, Loma Mar, CA 94021 within thirty (30) days of entry of this decree. Of the total payment of five hundred fifty thousand dollars ($550,000.00), Balubhai G. Patel shall pay three hundred fifty thousand dollars ($350,000.00), Lloyds of London shall pay one hundred forty thousand dollars ($140,000.00), and Century Surety shall pay sixty thousand dollars ($60,000.00). These payments shall be inclusive of any claim for damages, attorneys' fee or costs claimed by plaintiffs. Each payor shall be individually responsible to plaintiff for his or its specified payment.

B. Mutual Release & Dismissal

2. Plaintiffs and defendants shall execute a mutual release indicating that this decree constitutes a full and final settlement of any and all claims that each has related to this action, except as to plaintiff Kimberly Davis, who shall execute a separate mutual release with defendants. Each mutual release shall include a waiver of Civil Code section 1542, and include all known and unknown claims. This action may be dismissed, subject to the terms of this decree, reserving jurisdiction for purposes of enforcement.

C. Equitable Terms

3. Defendants, their owners, officers, or managers shall comply with the following terms:

a. Effective within 60 days from entry of this decree, defendant

Apolinar Arellano shall cease and desist from any role or authority as a manager, operator or agent in the connection with the operation or management of any rental dwelling*fn1 ;

b. Effective within 60 days from entry of this decree, defendant Adela Fernandez Arellano and her agents or employees shall cease and desist from any role as a manager, operator or agent in the connection with the operation or management of the Lafayette Hotel;

c. Effective 120 days from entry of this decree, defendant Balubhai G. Patel shall require any employee or agent involved in the management or operation of any rental dwelling owned or operated by him or any entity controlled by him to:

(1) Place and maintain a copy of either the HUD fair housing poster (HUD form 928) or DFEH fair housing poster (DFEH form 157H and 157S) in a conspicuous location at each rental dwelling where it can be seen by residents or prospective residents;

(2) Provide each tenant or resident at the start of his tenancy or residency with a copy of either the HUD fair housing pamphlet (HUD form 903.1) or DFEH fair housing pamphlet (DFEH form 157H and 157HS);

(3) Adopt and enforce a written policy prohibiting discrimination, including harassment, by any employee or agent acting on behalf of any defendant. That policy shall state that conduct in violation of the policy will be grounds for immediate termination;

(4) Attend and pay for the reasonable cost to attend a fair housing training provided by (1) any organization approved by the California Apartment Association to provide fair housing training, or (2) any fair housing organization approved by HUD for funding under Fair Housing Initiatives Program. The training shall not exceed three hours. Any new agent or employee must attend a fair housing training, provided by either type of organization identified in this paragraph, within 120 days of the start of his or her employment or agency; and,

(5) Maintain records demonstrating their compliance with each of these provisions under paragraph 3(c), including certificates of attendance of fair housing training prescribed in paragraph 3(c)(4), make those records available for inspection upon written request made by plaintiffs' counsel or a government agency, and certify compliance with those provisions in the form of a certificate, filed annually with the district court, stating:

I, Balubhai G. Patel, hereby certify that my employees and agents have complied with the provision of the consent decree entered in Smith v. Patel, case number 11-cv-03437-DDP (CWx), during the period between [date] and [date].

e. Upon inception or renewal of any lease agreement under which Balubhai G. Patel or any entity under his control leases or rents a multifamily dwelling to a person or entity for purposes of operating that multifamily dwelling as a rental dwelling, Balubhai G. Patel shall include in each written lease agreement the following provisions:

(1) That the lessee shall place and maintain a copy of either the HUD fair housing poster (HUD form 928) or DFEH fair housing poster (DFEH form 157H and 157S) in a conspicuous location at the rental dwelling where it can be seen by residents or prospective residents;

(2) That the lessee shall provide each tenant or resident at the start of his tenancy or residency with a copy of either the HUD fair housing pamphlet (HUD form 903.1) or DFEH fair housing pamphlet (DFEH form 157H and 157HS);

(3) That the lessee shall adopt and enforce a written policy prohibiting discrimination, including unlawful harassment, by any employee or agent acting on behalf of the lessee. That policy shall state that conduct in violation of the policy will be grounds for immediate termination;

(4) That any determination by any federal or state agency or court that the lessee or his agents or employees have engaged in discrimination, including unlawful harassment, will be grounds for immediate termination of the lease;

(5) That the lessee, including his agents and employees, shall attend and pay for the reasonable cost to attend a fair housing training provided by

(1) any organization approved by the California Apartment Association to provide fair housing training, or (2) any fair housing organization approved by HUD for funding under Fair Housing Initiatives Program. The training shall not exceed three hours. Any new agent or employee must attend a fair housing training, provided by either type of organization identified in this paragraph, within 120 days of the start of his or her employment or agency; and,

(6) That the lessee shall maintain records demonstrating his compliance with each of these provisions under paragraph 3(e), including certificates of attendance of fair housing training prescribed in paragraph 3(e)(5), and make those records available for inspection upon written request by plaintiffs' counsel or a government agency.

f. Balubhai G. Patel shall certify his compliance with the provision in paragraph 3(e) in the form of a certificate, filed annually with the district court, stating:

I, Balubhai G. Patel, hereby certify that each of my lease agreements, renewed or initiated since entry of the consent decree in Smith v. Patel, case number 11-cv-03437-DDP (CWx), complies with the terms of that decree.

g. Within 120 days of entry of this decree, Balubhai G. Patel shall attend and pay for the reasonable cost to attend a fair housing training provided by (1) any organization approved by the California Apartment Association to provide fair housing training, or (2) any fair housing organization approved by HUD for funding under Fair Housing Initiatives Program. The training shall not exceed three hours.

h. Within 150 days of entry of this decree, Balubhai G. Patel shall certify his compliance with the provision in paragraph 3(g) in the form of a certificate, filed with the district court, stating:

I, Balubhai G. Patel, hereby certify that I have completed fair housing training as required by the consent decree in Smith v. Patel, case number 11-cv-03437-DDP (CWx).

i. Nothing in this decree is intended to prevent Balubhai G. Patel from undertaking those activities required to maintain and supervise rental dwellings owned or operated by him or any entity controlled by him for the purposes of ensuring compliance with the terms of this decree, local ordinance, or state and federal law, or the preservation of the value of his rental dwellings.

D. Enforcement

4. The district court shall retain jurisdiction over this action and its parties for the duration of this decree for the purpose of enforcing and modifying its terms. This decree shall be in effect for a period of five (5) years from its date of entry.

Approved as to content and form:


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