In the News
Surprise Settles Lawsuit with ACLU, Won't
Evict Renters for Calling Police Too Often, March 23, 2016
Surprise Nixes Eviction Law that
Harmed Domestic-Abuse Victim, March 18, 2016
Sues Surprise after Domestic Violence Calls Get Her Evicted, August 28, 2015
Domestic Violence Victim Evicted for Calling 911 Sues City, August 28, 2015
Heather Macre's practice encompasses civil and commercial
litigation, health care law and bankruptcy.
A shareholder in the firm, Heather is an elected member of
the Central Arizona Water Conservation District board of directors. She also
serves on the board of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona and as
Professional Development Chair for Phoenix Suns Charities 88.
In recognition of her civic contributions, Heather was
recently named to the Phoenix Business Journal Forty Under 40 Class of 2015.
Heather Macre Represents Domestic Violence Victim in
Successful Challenge to Nuisance Ordinance
Federal lawsuit against the City of Surprise challenged the
constitutionality of forced evictions of persons who make multiple calls to
May 15, 2017
At its March 15 meeting, the Surprise City Council nullified two
sections of a nuisance ordinance that sparked a 2015 federal lawsuit against the
Repeal of the ordinance sections was related to the
of the lawsuit (see the
settlement agreement), which was filed by Aiken Schenk attorney Heather Macre, with The American Civil
Liberties Union and the ACLU of Arizona, on behalf of Nancy Markham, a survivor of domestic
“We’re thrilled," said Ms. Macre after the City Council's vote.
"We think the City Council did the right thing tonight, expending protections
not just to victims of domestic violence but to all crime victims in the city,”
The suit challenged the constitutionality of the Surprise city ordinance that
called for landlords to evict a tenant if more than four calls to police are
placed in 30 days, or for crimes occurring at the property even when the tenant
is the victim.
Laws like the Surprise nuisance ordinance unfairly
impact victims of domestic violence," Ms. Macre noted, "and force them to choose between stable
housing and protecting themselves and their families from their abusers. This is a choice no one should have to make.
On multiple occasions between March and September 2014, Ms.
Markhams ex-boyfriend entered her Surprise home, choked and punched her,
and threatened her with weapons, prompting Ms. Markham to call the police.
A Surprise police officer then enforced the nuisance ordinance by
notifying her landlord about the police calls and encouraging Ms. Markham’s
The landlord was warned that, if Ms. Markham was not evicted,
the property would be labeled a criminal nuisance and the landlord would not
be considered an innocent owner/agent’ if any crimes were committed in the
In September 2014, Markhams apartment manager notified her that
she would be evicted for having violated the law, even though the police never
mentioned the law to Markham during any of her calls.
The lawsuit, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union's
Women's Rights Project as
part of the ACLU's nationwide I Am Not a
Nuisance campaign to aid nuisance-law victims, claimed that enforcement of the ordinance violated Ms. Markhams
First Amendment right to seek police assistance, disregarded the Fair Housing
Acts prohibition on gender discrimination, and disregarded constitutional
due-process and equal-protection guarantees.
The suit, which
money damages, also claimed that the ordinance violated an Arizona housing law
that says rental agreements cannot limit tenants rights to call police in