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SUMMARY JUDGMENT GRANTED IN FAVOR OF FAIR HOUSING ACT PLAINTIFFS

On November 1, 2011, a federal court in Florida granted summary judgment in favor of seven Plaintiff families on their Fair Housing Act claims against an apartment complex attempting to rid itself of all families with children.

In Whyte, et al., v. Alston Management, et al., Relman, Dane & Colfax represents former residents of Pelican Lake Village, an apartment complex located in Pahokee, Florida, a small town in northeastern Palm Beach County. In mid-December, 2008, the landlord sent notices to the families stating that "IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN LIVING OR STAYING IN THE APARTMENT UNDER THE AGE OF 18 YEARS OLD, YOU WILL HAVE TO VACATE THE PROPERTY BEFORE JANUARY 1st, 2009." In response to the notice and pressure by the landlord and a prison ministry interested in renting to sex offenders (who could not live close to a school bus stop used by children in the complex), all seven Plaintiff families (as well as other families with children) moved out of Pelican Lake.

The Court found that the actions by the landlord and the prison ministry to force the families with children to leave violated three separate provisions of the federal Fair Housing Act and entered liability in favor of the Plaintiff families and the Fair Housing Center of Greater Palm Beaches, which is also a Plaintiff in the case. The Plaintiffs will now proceed to a trial to determine the amount of damages the Defendants should pay for their actions that the Court has ruled were discriminatory.