A New Orleans couple brought a lawsuit against a property management firm and its officers for alleged racial discrimination.
Rachel Hobson and Robert Walker filed against Abe Development LLC, Yousef Haimour, Abraham “Mike” Quraan and Munther Quraan in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana on May 4, citing housing discrimination and harassment in a matter originating in July 2012.
Hobson and Walker, a mixed-race couple, contend that the defendants repeatedly harassed them, targeted visiting friends, and subjected them to different rules than other tenants over a period of time beginning in 2012. Hobson, who is white, leased a two-bedroom apartment with another white female on July 1, 2012. When she began dating Walker, who is African American, in October 2012, he and his friends occasionally visited the property.
According to court documents, the property manager questioned their presence and imposed conditions on the couple not required of other tenants, such as Walker undergoing a background check, not permitting him on the property unless the tenants were home, and threatening eviction if terms were violated.
Allegedly, Mike Quraan said that Walker was not allowed to sit on the porch or bring other visitors and made racially biased comments. The filing also states that the defendant insisted that Walker’s name be added to the lease although he did not live there. The defendant also allegedly charged the plaintiff an additional $400 in monthly rent.
Citing harassment, anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, insult, and a deprivation of their right to equal housing opportunity, the couple filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on March 1, 2013. The case was referred to the state Department of Justice, which ruled on June 22, 2013, that no discrimination had occurred. LADOJ failed to respond to a request for reconsideration.
Alleging intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, the couple seeks injunctive relief, damages, attorneys' fees, expenses and costs.
They are represented by John Adcock and Elizabeth Owen of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center.
U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana Case 2:15-cv-01480-ILRL-KWR