Monday, November 25, 2013

Asbury v. Brougham case brief

Asbury v. Brougham case brief summary
866 F.2d 1276 (10th Cir. 1989)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendants, an individual apartment complex owner, the apartment complex business, and the apartment complex's employee, appealed the decision of the United States District Court for the District of Kansas that entered a judgment after a jury verdict in favor of plaintiff potential tenant. Plaintiff's action was brought under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1982 and the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C.S. § 3601 et seq., for discrimination in rental practices.

CASE FACTS
Plaintiff potential tenant filed an action under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1982 and the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 3601 et seq., alleging discrimination by defendants, apartment complex owner, the apartment complex business and the apartment complex's employee. The jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff, awarding plaintiff $ 7,500 in compensatory damages and $ 50,000 in punitive damages from defendant apartment complex owner.

DISCUSSION

  • The court affirmed the judgment. 
  • The court held that plaintiff had sustained a prima facie case by showing that she was a minority that was qualified to rent from defendant apartment complex, that she was denied the opportunity to rent or negotiate for a rental, and that the housing opportunity remained available. 
  • Defendants were not able to prove a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the rejection. 
  • The court held that statistical data offered by defendant was relevant but not conclusive. 
  • The court held that punitive damages against defendant apartment complex owner were appropriate because of defendant apartment complex owner's own discriminatory policies and his ratification of defendant employee's discriminatory procedures.

CONCLUSION
The decision of the district court that found in favor of plaintiff potential tenant in her discrimination claim against defendants, apartment complex owner, the apartment complex business, and the apartment complex employee, was affirmed. Punitive damages against defendant apartment complex owner were appropriate. Attorney's fees for the appeal were awarded to plaintiff, but the court declined to sanction defendants for a frivolous appeal.

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