February 13, 2020


Recording of landlord captures racist tirade, threats

ATLANTA – Landlords in Georgia who evicted their tenant for inviting a Black family to her home have admitted to their discriminatory actions and making racist statements in violation of the Civil Rights Act and Fair Housing Act, apologized for the harm they caused, and agreed to pay $150,000. The acknowledgement comes as part of a settlement in a case brought last year by Victoria Sutton against Patricia and Allen McCoy.

The lawsuit alleged that the McCoys, a couple from Gordon County, Georgia, used racial epithets and threats, some of which Ms. Sutton recorded, when the couple evicted her from a residence she rented from them in Adairsville, Georgia.

“Racial discrimination is as real and insidious today as it was sixty years ago and must be called out and stopped,” said Brian Corman, the Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll attorney representing Ms. Sutton. “It was of the utmost importance to Ms. Sutton that the McCoys acknowledge and apologize for their wrongdoing and for the harm they have caused, and we hope this lawsuit shows that racism will not be tolerated in any form.”

Ms. Sutton and her family were evicted in December 2018, about three months after she began inviting a Black co-worker with a 5-year-old son over to her home for playdates with Ms. Sutton’s two daughters, ages 2 and 9. As heard in the recording, the McCoys told Ms. Sutton:

  • “I don’t put up with n------ in my [house] and I don’t want them in my property.”   
  • “Maybe you like black dogs, but I don’t.  So just get your stuff and get out.”  
  • “I don’t allow n------ in my property and everybody knows that … Get out as quick as you can.”

The lawsuit asserts that the landlord threatened to call the police and Child Protective Services and to harm Ms. Sutton physically if she attempted to contest the eviction.  

Under the federal Civil Rights Act, the federal Fair Housing Act and the Georgia Fair Housing Act, landlords are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, be it for their tenants or their tenants’ guests. 

“My landlord’s behavior was not just immoral, it was also illegal,” said Victoria Sutton. “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.”

“Almost 60 years ago, Dr. King dreamed aloud of little girls and boys playing together without regard to the color of their skin,” said Kosha Tucker, staff attorney of the ACLU of Georgia who also represented Ms. Sutton. “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.” 


About Cohen Milstein:

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC is a national leader in plaintiff litigation. As one of the premier law firms in the country handling major complex lawsuits, Cohen Milstein, with more than 100 attorneys, has offices in Washington, DC; Chicago, IL; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Palm Beach Gardens, FL; and Raleigh, NC. For more information about the firm, please visit http://www.cohenmilstein.com or call (202) 408-4600.

Media Contact: 

Dean Pearce