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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Leah Simon-Weisberg
December 19, 2013 415.495.8100 ext. 1002
Long-term tenants at the Huntington Arms Apartments complex in Concord have filed a lawsuit against their landlord for discrimination against families with children. The complaint alleges that the manager (who has now been replaced) yelled at children for playing in common areas and told tenants that the landlord intended to evict families with more children.
“It has been really difficult,” commented Daniel Mendoza, a tenant of the complex whose family includes three minor children, “We want to have security in our home and live free of discrimination and harassment.” Mendoza is one of 8 plaintiffs who filed the complaint today seeking money damages and injunctive relief.
The filing follows a complaint brought last month by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing against the landlord. Defendants are Peter Carlson, Joan Bull, CB Family Investments Co (dba Huntington Arms Apartments), and Theresa Lewis Ratcliff.
Attorney Leah Simon-Weisberg, Legal Director of Tenants Together, praised the courage of the tenants: “We applaud these tenants for standing up to this kind of abuse. They want to make sure this never happens to another family in Concord.” The tenants are represented by Tenants Together and Brancart & Brancart, a highly respected law firm known for taking on landlords who violate housing discrimination laws.
With the help of Tenants Together, the tenants initially filed an administrative complaint with Department of Fair Employment and Housing against the management of the complex for discriminating against families with children. At a press conference at the property last year, tenants spoke about how their tight-knit community had been threatened by the management’s policies and threats regarding the number of children that they can have in their homes. The manager (who has since been replaced) appeared at the press conference yelling at the tenants and their attorney.
The tenants’ complaint was filed yesterday afternoon in Contra Costa Superior Court, Case No C-13-02381. The complaint seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.
Federal and state fair housing laws prohibit discrimination against families with children. Tenants who have experienced housing discrimination are encouraged to call the Tenants Together renters’ rights hotline at 1.888.495.8020 or contact their local legal aid office.