West Tennessee Legal Services Attorney James DiMarco Obtains Declaratory Judgement, Injunctive Relief, and Damages for Fair Housing Violations
Jackson, Tennessee — On December 8, 2022, a jury awarded a WTLS client a judgment of over $11,000 following a four-day trial in Jackson, Tennessee. Represented by attorney James DiMarco, the client was awarded this judgment after her landlord, David “Chad” Ables was accused of sexually harassing her and six other tenants.
“I am honored to have served my client, who persevered with quiet dignity and unmatched strength since the filing of her HUD Complaint on January 3, 2018, through the conclusion of this lawsuit almost five years later,” states Attorney James DiMarco of West Tennessee Legal Services. “Justice has prevailed in this matter; I will continue the fight for justice and strive to protect the right to be free of discrimination promised by the Federal Fair Housing Act.”
The complaint filed by DiMarco and West Tennessee Legal Services accused Ables, who was doing business as Pop’s Cove in Lexington, of violating the Fair Housing Act by creating a hostile environment that denied housing benefits when sexual favors in exchange for rent and/or continued residency were refused. A lawsuit filed on December 20, 2018, by The United States Department of Justice alleged the same violations on behalf of other aggrieved parties. Based on these complaints, WTLS’ client and six additional plaintiffs were awarded compensatory and punitive damages totaling $70,500.
WTLS Housing Managing Attorney Vanessa Bullock says, “West Tennessee Legal Services has a long history of fair housing advocacy. While few cases proceed to the point of a jury trial, countless individuals have received a more equal housing opportunity through our agency’s great work. I am extremely proud of the work Mr. DiMarco and our team did in this case and thank our client for her courage in coming forward and her perseverance in staying with this case to its conclusion.”
The Fair Housing Project of WTLS works to end housing discrimination and ensure equal housing opportunities for all people through education, outreach, public policy initiatives, advocacy, and enforcement.
The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under an award with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government.
About West Tennessee Legal Services
West Tennessee Legal Services, a nonprofit law firm, offers free civil legal representation and educational programs to help people in 17 West Tennessee counties receive justice, protect well-being, and support opportunities to overcome poverty. Counties served from offices in Jackson, Dyersburg, Huntingdon, and Selmer are Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lake, Madison, McNairy, Obion, and Weakley. WTLS is funded in part by the Legal Services Corporation and state, federal, and local funding. Learn more at www.wtls.org or by following the firm on Facebook.