On May 20, 2008, the Department of Justice sued the owner and manager of the Camp Joy Marina — a Louisiana residential community of rental and owner-occupied condominiums and townhouses — for racial discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. According to the complaint, the owner and manager interfered with a couple's attempt to sell their townhouse to another couple the owner and manager mistakenly believed were black. Apparently, a visit to the property by the white couple's black realtor confused the owner and manager. The owner told the realtor he did not want "those kind of people" moving in, and he threatened to cut off the water and sewer utilities. As a result of this interference, the buyers withdrew from their agreement to purchase the townhouse. The government now seeks a court order prohibiting future discrimination by the owner and manager and requiring them to pay monetary damages to the sellers as well as a civil penalty.
Will the government win? Will the fact that the owner and manager were mistaken about the purchasers' race be taken into consideration as mitigating circumstances? Should it?
What do you think?