Over the past several days I have posted about a Federal Housing Lawsuit brought against me alleging that I listed a condo, and in that listing had violated Fair Housing Laws, by putting the following language into the listing: “Adults Only, No Children Under 16 Allowed.” As my two former posts show, I was not the listing agent, and I have never discriminated against anybody.
Both of these post received national attention, and yesterday I was contacted by Laurie Janik, Chief Legal Council at the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
I spoke to explain the lawsuit, then emailed the lawsuit and original listing to her. She said she would review the lawsuit and would get back to me.
A couple of hours later, Laurie Janik posted the following on the NAR Facebook Page.
“”It is most unfortunate that Jeff Launiere was named as one of the defendants in this suit (filed last November). After reading the complaint, I believe that the plaintiff thought that she was suing the listing agent. The listing agent is affiliated with the same brokerage as Mr. Launiere, which may be why the brokerage believed it would be best to settle the litigation. Those of you who display public remarks authored by listing agents on your IDX websites should determine whether your MLS utilizes screening technology to avoid the publication of statements such as “no children”. If it does not, the MLS might want to consider deleting the remarks field from the IDX feed. For anyone involved in litigation such as this case, a defense exists under the Communications Decency Act of 1996 to protect those of you who merely publish content provided by others, as is the case with IDX feeds. We have never seen a case in which this Act has been applied to an IDX display, but the Act has been found by the courts to provide protection against fair housing claims brought against sites such as Craigslist and Roommate.com.”
A bit later there was a new post by Laurie Janik, stating that the lawsuit against me had been dismissed. As I had received over 1,500 emails, and the phone never stopped ringing all weekend, but especially yesterday, I checked my voice mails and found the message from her, sharing this great news.
I will forever be grateful to all involved, starting with Brian Stevens and Frank Garay from The National Real Estate Post who did an entire video segment about the lawsuit. Incredibly the video has received 17772 views at this time.
I also want to thank ActiveRain for putting both posts on their featured posts page, bringing this attention to many thousands of Realtors and to many others not involved in Real Estate.
I want to personally send out a big thanks to Ann Cummings and Jim Lee, Realtors with Remax By The Bay, in Portsmouth, NH who contacted a Past President of NAR, which resulted in Laurie Janik, Chief Legal Counsel of the NAR to contact me. Thank you Ann and Jim.
I want to of course thank Laurie Janik, as the lawsuit was dismissed shortly after she spoke with me. I do not know exactly how or why my lawsuit was dismissed, but it appears that Laurie Janik was instrumental in the dismissal. Thank you Laurie and NAR!
Finally, I wish I could name each person who contacted me by email, phone, or by commented in the blog posts. And to the exceptionally large numbers of people who offered to contribute to a legal defense fund, you all gave me such added faith in the goodness of people and our country. Please accept my thanks. I wish I could thank everyone of you in person. Just know that I am humbled and forever grateful.