Help Your Association Clients Avoid a Racial Discrimination Lawsuit
A federal court of appeals is allowing a Black couple to sue their HOA neighbors for racial discrimination under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). While it blocked the couple’s claims against the association, the opinion suggests that decision was due primarily to a technicality.
Tonca and Terence Watters chose to build their dream home in a subdivision in Kokomo, Ind. What they found there, according to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, were neighbors who made it clear from the start that they weren’t wanted.
The confrontational neighbors were Ed and Kate Mamaril. Kate was the HOA president when the plaintiffs bought their property, and Ed was president when they moved in two years later.
While construction was ongoing, Ed told the Watters that they weren’t welcome, called them “a**holes,” asked why “you people” moved there, told them he had them investigated, and suggested they move “somewhere else.”
The Mamarils’ cats led to another confrontation. The cats roamed the Watters’ property freely, in violation of covenants and a city ordinance. After the HOA refused to intervene, the plaintiffs called in the local humane society, which caught several cats and fined the Mamarils.
While someone from the society was speaking with Tonca on her property, Kate approached Tonca and called her a “Black b**tch” and a “Black n*****.” Kate also once referred to the Watters’ grandchildren as “little monkey n******”” when she ran into the family at a nearby Cracker Barrel.
The Watters eventually sued the HOA and Mamarils, alleging racial discrimination.
Read our new article to find out why the court ruled the way it did and learn what your association clients can do to avoid getting caught in the crosshairs of a racial discrimination lawsuit.
Find the full article here: HOA Escapes Racial Discrimination Lawsuit — But Harassers Don’t
It’s Past Time to Remove Racial Restrictions
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Court Allows Claims Against HOA, Manager for Neighbor-to-Neighbor Racial Abuse
Fair Housing Discrimination: 4 Potential Tripwires for You and Your Clients