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Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council v. Jezewak

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

July 29, 2014

METROPOLITAN ST. LOUIS EQUAL HOUSING & OPPORTUNITY COUNCIL, Plaintiff,
v.
NORMAN L. JEZEWAK, and SIGNATURE PROPERTY, L.L.C. Defendants.

OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

HENRY EDWARD AUTREY, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. [Doc. No. 25]. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is granted.

Facts and Background[1]

Plaintiff filed this action alleging the following facts:

Plaintiff periodically conducts investigations of housing providers in the

City of St. Louis to ensure that they are complying with the Fair Housing Act. As part of these investigations, Plaintiff conducts matched pair tests using testers to compare the treatment afforded by housing providers to different types of prospective renters. Testers are persons who, without the intent to rent an apartment or buy a house, gather information about housing for rent or sale in order to help determine whether discriminatory practices are occurring. In matched pair tests, two similarly-situated testers - one of whom is a member of a protected class and the other of whom is not - test the same property.

Between June 6, 2011, and September 20, 2011, Plaintiff conducted three matched pair tests of a property located at 5847 Sunshine Drive, St. Louis, MO 63109, owned by Defendant Signature Property, and managed by Defendant Jezewak. Plaintiff conducted a matched pair test for familial status discrimination on June 6-8, 2011, a second matched pair test for familial status discrimination on September 20, 2011, and a matched pair test for race discrimination on July 7-12, 2011.

The two tests for familial status discrimination revealed evidence that Defendant Jezewak engaged in discriminatory practices including, but not limited to, the following:

a. Refusing to make one-bedroom units available for inspection by twoperson households with children while indicating a willingness to make the same units available for inspection by two-person households without children;

b. Informing testers who indicated that they had children that he would not rent to them because of his property insurance's underwriting policy; and

c. Informing testers who indicated that they had children that each resident needed to have his or her own room because of his property insurance's underwriting policy.

The matched pair test for racial discrimination revealed evidence that Defendant Jezewak engaged in discriminatory practices including, but not limited to, the following:

a. Questioning the African-American tester extensively about his credit score while not similarly questioning the white tester;

b. Questioning the African-American tester more extensively about his current neighborhood than ...


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