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East Bay Family Sues HOA, Says Kids Banned From Trick-Or-Treating

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Trick or treaters walk during Boo at the Zoo at the Smithsonian's National Zoo October 25, 2013 in Washington, DC. Those who purchased tickets were able to walk through the zoo and trick or treat in celebration of the upcoming Halloween. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Halloween trick-or-treaters. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

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DANVILLE (CBS SF) — A couple who say their children have been barred by their homeowner’s association from playing or trick-or-treating in their own neighborhood filed a federal lawsuit against the HOA this week.

Seth and Carolynn Neri filed the complaint in federal court against the HOA of the Tennis Villas at Blackhawk and the association’s management company after alleged repeated discrimination against the family and their three children.

The suit alleges that the HOA and its management company, Pleasanton-based Community Association Management, discriminates against families with children and bans them from accessing common areas within the community.

Calls to Community Association Management were not immediately returned.

According to the lawsuit, the family of five moved to the gated community of about 30 single-family homes in the upscale area of Blackhawk, east of Danville, in the spring of 2012.

Since that time, the Neris, who are the only family in the housing development with children, were told that their three kids weren’t allowed to play in front of their home, on the street or in the community’s common areas, the suit alleges.

When the family went to put up Halloween decorations last year, they were told that holiday decorations, not to mention trick-or-treating, were prohibited, according to the complaint.

After the family tried unsuccessfully to work with the homeowners’ association, two of the children decided to write a letter to their neighbors introducing themselves and asking them to consider changing the no-playing rule.

However, the complaint alleges, rather than receiving positive responses, the Neris got anonymous letters in their mailbox that said “No move!!” and “No Way! Move!”

In May, Carolynn Neri was told that if her children violated the HOA’s no-playing rule, a lien would be placed on the family’s home, the suit alleges.

Additionally, when she approached the president of the housing development’s board of directors about the rules, the lawsuit states, Carolynn Neri was told that some residents in the gated community were “upset that (Carolynn and Seth Neri) were a mixed-race couple.”

According to the complaint, because of the HOA’s “discriminatory housing practices, plaintiffs have suffered violation of their civil rights, economic losses (and) emotional distress” including depression, panic attacks, sleep loss and other ailments.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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