ATLANTA — A Georgia woman evicted for inviting a black family to her house for playdates with their children will be paid $150,000 by her former landlords to settle a discrimination lawsuit.
Victoria Sutton filed the complaint in July against Patricia and Allen McCoy of Calhoun, Georgia. Sutton said the couple made racist statements and threatened to physically harm her if she contested the eviction.
“My landlord’s behavior was not just immoral, it was also illegal,” Sutton said in a statement. “I’m glad to see the McCoys are being held accountable and hope this settlement brings us one step closer to creating a more just society where people of all races can live together without fear.”
Sutton’s attorney, Brian Corman, said the McCoys acknowledged they used racial slurs before evicting Sutton and apologized to her.
But when reached by telephone Thursday afternoon, Patricia McCoy said the settlement “was reached for her (Sutton’s) lies and that’s all I’ve got to say.” She then hung up.
Corman said the eviction violated the Civil Rights Act and the Georgia Fair Housing Act, which prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants and their guests on the basis of race. Both Sutton and the McCoys are white.
“It’s the kind of case that many people might think would have happened generations ago,” Corman said. “But it really shows how persistent racial intolerance has been in the country.”
According to the complaint, Sutton in September 2018 invited her black coworker and his 5-year-old son over toher house to play with her two daughters, ages 2 and 9.
Sutton had been renting the house in Adairsville, Georgia, about 60 miles northwest of Atlanta, for about a year. After the visit, Allen McCoy knocked on Sutton’s door, called her a “n—– lover” and said she had two weeks to move out, the lawsuit alleged.
Sutton later called the McCoys and recorded the phone conversation with Patricia McCoy.
“I don’t want them in my property. Maybe you like black dogs, but I don’t,” she said on the call, according to the lawsuit. “So just get your stuff and get out.”
Sutton was served an eviction notice the following day and appeared in court Oct. 4, 2018. During the hearing, PatriciaMcCoy said destruction of property was the reason for eviction, though Sutton argued there was no damage.
About two months later, Sutton and her family moved out of the house.
Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia also represented Sutton in the case.
“Almost 60 years ago, Dr. King dreamed aloud of little girls and boys playing together without regard to the color of their skin,” ACLU of Georgia staff attorney Kosha Tucker said. “We’re inspired by people who courageously fight for what’s fair and just so that all children can live in the America that Dr. King dreamed of.”