October 27, 2021

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Racist leasing staff compelled mother and 3 children out of their condominium, discrimination lawsuit states

3 min read

A New Jersey lady has submitted a discrimination lawsuit from an condominium advanced in Bergen County, alleging the leasing employees harassed her and her small children until they have been forced to move.

Solitary mother Melissa Dano suggests in court docket papers she moved in to Avalon at Westmont Station in Wooden-Ridge in September 2016 alongside with her 3 small children, who are Black.

The harassment commenced nearly promptly when her son was falsely accused of hurling a slur at a white lady, in accordance to the match, submitted Aug. 23 in Exceptional Courtroom of Bergen County.

“(Dano) and her young children were being subjected to discriminatory, pervasive and horrific abuse and harassment on account of her children’s African-American race,” the lawsuit states.

The suit states a staffer said Dano’s kids were “bad” and “well-identified by Wooden-Ridge law enforcement as criminals.”

“In actuality, nevertheless, these characterizations could not be further from the real truth as Dano’s young children are exceptionally perfectly-behaved and have never had an come across with police,” the lawsuit states.

The complex is owned by AvalonBay Communities, a real estate financial investment enterprise.

“It is our policy not to comment on the specific allegations of any pending litigation, but we want to unequivocally condition that AvalonBay and its associates, including the named associates, are dedicated to the spirit and the letter of Good Housing legislation and AvalonBay does not allow or assistance any discriminatory motion by any of its associates,” a spokesman for the corporation reported in a assertion.

The accommodate alleges that staffers adopted and stalked the young children, monitored them constantly and took cellphone video clip and photos of the household.

“On several events, Dano’s youngsters were being produced to come to feel very unsafe and violated when they observed staff members from the office (staring) into their bed room home windows and using photographs and videos of them on their beds,” the accommodate alleges.

The mom statements the staff set up a protection mild outside of her property that “was vivid enough to illuminate the Dano family’s full apartment at night time and usually disturbed their slumber.”

When she complained, a personnel member allegedly instructed her, “This is our house, we can do what we want,” the accommodate states.

AvalonBay’s legal professional despatched the family a letter banning the Dano small children from all prevalent parts of the property, a evaluate that was not taken with any of the white kids who reside there, the accommodate alleges.

To stay clear of the typical spots, the young children ended up compelled to isolate them selves in their rooms “away from their mates, and when they arrived residence from school each working day, they had to walk about the perimeter of their setting up to progress dwelling,” the accommodate states.

The lawsuit alleges that staff members refused to company the Dano apartment and overlooked their requests for repairs and servicing.

In the summer time of 2020, the elaborate refused to correct the family’s air conditioner, which led to the development of black mildew in the apartment, the fit states.

1 employee told Dano that “AvalonBay instructed the upkeep crew to dismiss her requests and wait around for a ‘better [white] tenant to shift in before repairing the issue,” the suit states.

The lawsuit statements AvalonBay tried to evict the relatives, but when they were being thwarted thanks to New Jersey’s moratorium on evictions established in put all through the coronavirus pandemic, the staff members “resorted to threats, intimidation and harassment” as a means to drive the family out.

Dano, who now life in River Edge, claims she and her youngsters ended up ultimately pressured to go on Aug. 25, 2020 in what the accommodate states amounted to a “wrongful dispossession.”

The lawsuit alleges racial discrimination, retaliatory initiation of dispossession proceedings in violation of New Jersey’s tenant anti-reprisal act, and breach of guarantee of habitability by failing to make repairs.

AvalonBay’s steps resulted in economic damage, mental anguish and psychological distress, the family states in the suit. The loved ones is trying to find unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

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Anthony G. Attrino may well be arrived at at [email protected]. Abide by him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. Come across NJ.com on Fb.

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