Seaton v. Sky Realty Company, Inc., No. 72-1230.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtCLARK, Associate Justice, and FAIRCHILD and STEVENS, Circuit
PartiesJerome SEATON and Gladys Seaton, his wife, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. SKY REALTY COMPANY, INC., et al., Defendants-Appellants.
Decision Date20 February 1974
Docket NumberNo. 72-1230.

491 F.2d 634 (1974)

Jerome SEATON and Gladys Seaton, his wife, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
SKY REALTY COMPANY, INC., et al., Defendants-Appellants.

No. 72-1230.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

Argued April 2, 1973.

Decided February 20, 1974.


491 F.2d 635

Harold A. Liebenson, Dom J. Rizzi, Chicago, Ill., for defendants-appellants.

Robert G. Schwemm, Ronald S. Samuels, Chicago, Ill., for plaintiffs-appellees; F. Willis Caruso, Chicago, Ill. of counsel.

Before CLARK, Associate Justice,* and FAIRCHILD and STEVENS, Circuit Judges.

FAIRCHILD, Circuit Judge.

Mr. and Mrs. Seaton, who are black, were awarded compensatory and punitive damages against defendants Sky Realty Company, a real estate broker, Jerry Carr, its manager, and Art Potocki, one of its salesmen, for racially motivated refusal to negotiate for the sale of a dwelling in a predominantly white area of Chicago. They and the owner, Mrs. Schmidt, were found, after a bench trial, to have violated 42 U.S.C. §§ 19821 and 3604.2 Mrs. Schmidt did

491 F.2d 636
not appeal. The other defendants challenge the sufficiency of the evidence. We affirm

After a summary of the facts, the district court found as follows:

"Taken in its entirety, the plaintiffs have amply demonstrated through the evidence and the circumstances involved that Sky Realty Company, Inc., the defendant Jerry Carr, the defendant Art Potocki are systematically engaged in violation of both Sections 1982 and 3604, particularly as they relate to these plaintiffs."

There was evidence, some undisputed and some showing, when credibility was resolved as the district judge did, that when Mrs. Seaton telephoned to inquire about the Schmidt home which had been advertised, Potocki assured her it was for sale, and made an appointment, but when she and her husband appeared, he told them it had been sold; that later, when investigators inquired, Carr and Potocki produced a written offer; that the purported offer had not been and never was accepted; that the usual course of business had not been followed in the receipt of the purported offer; that when Potocki was ultimately induced to show the Schmidt property to the Seatons, he did so in a grudging, uncooperative, and deliberately discouraging manner; that the house was eventually sold for substantially less than the figure quoted to the Seatons or specified in the purported offer; that it is a practice at Sky Realty for prospect sheets to contain notations of race or national origin where the prospect is of a minority race or ethnic group; and that the prospect sheet for the Seatons contained the notation "Col" as an abbreviation for colored.

There are other details, but we find ample evidence to support the finding made by the judge, and it approaches the frivolous to contend, as defendants do, that his finding was clearly erroneous.

With respect to compensatory damages, defendants assert that "there is no evidence that the plaintiffs suffered any loss or damages."

The finding of the district court was as follows:

"Although the record is sparse as to the actual damages suffered, testimony was introduced that the plaintiff Jerome Seaton suffered great embarrassment because of the action of the defendants during his attempt with his wife to visit the property . . . and further, the plaintiffs were forced, by virtue of the wrongful actions of the various defendants, to make several trips to and from the home site and the offices of the defendant Sky Realty Co. The Court therefore concludes that actual damages have been adequately shown and they are therefore assessed in the amount of $500."

Mr. Seaton testified, apparently with reference to the visit to the Schmidt home with Mr. Potocki, when the Seaton children were present: "I was humiliated. I was intimidated, not only as a person but as a man. He stripped me of my right as a father to my kids." It appears to be defendants' position that unless there is evidence of economic or financial loss, or medical evidence of mental or emotional impairment, there can be no award of compensatory damages.

We conclude, to the contrary, that an award of compensatory damages under § 1982 or "actual damages" under § 3612 is appropriate for humiliation caused by the type of violations of rights established here. Humiliation can be inferred from the circumstances as well as established by the...

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100 practice notes
  • Reeder-Baker v. Lincoln Nat. Corp., Civ. No. F 86-26.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • December 9, 1986
    ...a degree of willful and wanton disregard of plaintiff's rights not to suffer this sort of discrimination." Seaton v. Sky Realty Co., Inc., 491 F.2d 634, 638 (7th Cir.1974). See also Jade Tolliver v. Amici, 800 F.2d 149, 151 (7th Cir. In Hunter v. Allis-Chalmers, 797 F.2d at 1425, the Sevent......
  • Carey v. Piphus, No. 76-1149
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 21, 1978
    ...963, 96 S.Ct. 1748, 48 L.Ed.2d 208 (1976). 22. In Jeanty v. McKey & Poague, Inc., 496 F.2d 1119 (CA7 1974), and Seaton v. Sky Realty Co., 491 F.2d 634 (CA7 1974), cited in Hostrop, supra, 523 F.2d, at 579, the court held that damages may be awarded for humiliation and distress caused by dis......
  • Lenard v. Argento, Nos. 80-2602
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • February 15, 1983
    ...a degree of willful and wanton disregard of plaintiffs' right not to suffer this sort of discrimination." Seaton v. Sky Realty Co., Inc., 491 F.2d 634, 638 (7th Cir.1974). Because of our holding on the issue of malicious prosecution, supra, and the single sum award of punitive damages, we c......
  • Paton v. La Prade, No. 74-2237
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • October 14, 1975
    ...Compensatory damages may be awarded under certain circumstances although no out-of-pocket expenses are shown. Seaton v. Sky Realty Co., 491 F.2d 634 (7th Cir. 1974); Donovan v. Reinbold, 433 F.2d 738, 743 (9th Cir. 1970). Also, punitive damages may be awarded in some situations for a malici......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
100 cases
  • Reeder-Baker v. Lincoln Nat. Corp., Civ. No. F 86-26.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • December 9, 1986
    ...a degree of willful and wanton disregard of plaintiff's rights not to suffer this sort of discrimination." Seaton v. Sky Realty Co., Inc., 491 F.2d 634, 638 (7th Cir.1974). See also Jade Tolliver v. Amici, 800 F.2d 149, 151 (7th Cir. In Hunter v. Allis-Chalmers, 797 F.2d at 1425, the Sevent......
  • Carey v. Piphus, No. 76-1149
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 21, 1978
    ...963, 96 S.Ct. 1748, 48 L.Ed.2d 208 (1976). 22. In Jeanty v. McKey & Poague, Inc., 496 F.2d 1119 (CA7 1974), and Seaton v. Sky Realty Co., 491 F.2d 634 (CA7 1974), cited in Hostrop, supra, 523 F.2d, at 579, the court held that damages may be awarded for humiliation and distress caused by dis......
  • Lenard v. Argento, Nos. 80-2602
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • February 15, 1983
    ...a degree of willful and wanton disregard of plaintiffs' right not to suffer this sort of discrimination." Seaton v. Sky Realty Co., Inc., 491 F.2d 634, 638 (7th Cir.1974). Because of our holding on the issue of malicious prosecution, supra, and the single sum award of punitive damages, we c......
  • Paton v. La Prade, No. 74-2237
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • October 14, 1975
    ...Compensatory damages may be awarded under certain circumstances although no out-of-pocket expenses are shown. Seaton v. Sky Realty Co., 491 F.2d 634 (7th Cir. 1974); Donovan v. Reinbold, 433 F.2d 738, 743 (9th Cir. 1970). Also, punitive damages may be awarded in some situations for a malici......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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