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Simovits v. Chanticleer Condo. Ass'n

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
933 F. Supp. 1394 (N.D. Ill. 1996)


Facts

The Simovits (plaintiffs) owned a condominium in a facility operated by Chanticleer Condominium Association (Chanticleer) (defendant). Chanticleer has a restrictive covenant that no minor children can reside in any unit, and no owner can sell a unit to anyone with children under the age of 18, without prior approval from Chanticleer. Many of Chanticleer’s residents are over the age of 55, but the facility is open to anyone over the age of 18. In 1995, the Simovits put their unit on the market for sale. Because of the restrictive covenant, the Simovits lost several potential buyers. Eventually, they sold their unit to a childless couple for a significantly lower price after Chanticleer agreed to waive the restrictive covenant. With the assistance of HOPE Fair Housing Center (plaintiff), a non-profit that promotes equal housing opportunities, the Simovits brought suit against Chanticleer, alleging that it had violated the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition on discriminating against families with children. The Simovits seek economic damages for the reduction in sale price and the additional mortgage payments they had to make due to the delay of the sale. They also claim they suffered emotional injury from Chanticleer’s actions. HOPE asks to be compensated for the time and money it spent in bringing this suit, and for funds to monitor Chanticleer’s future compliance with the Fair Housing Act. The plaintiffs additionally seek an award of punitive damages, and an injunction requiring Chanticleer to disregard family status of prospective residents for the next five years. After the suit was filed, Chanticleer conducted a survey attempting to verify the ages of its residents, but has guessed for several residents.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Keys, J.)

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