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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Clark v. Universal Builders, Inc. FH-IL-0012
Docket / Court 69 C 115 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Case Summary
Plaintiffs filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the Defendant-construction company, alleging that the installment contracts the Defendant entered into with minority Plaintiffs contained less favorable terms than those offered to white home purchasers. ... read more >
Plaintiffs filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the Defendant-construction company, alleging that the installment contracts the Defendant entered into with minority Plaintiffs contained less favorable terms than those offered to white home purchasers. Plaintiffs filed suit under federal civil rights states, 42 U.S.C. 1981, 1982, arguing that the Supreme Court's ruling in Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409 (1968), provided them with a cause of action for unfavorable credit terms based on race. The District Court upheld the Plaintiffs' claim under Section 1982. On January 6, 1970, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the District Court's ruling and rejected the Defendant-appellant's argument that the statute of limitations barred the Plaintiffs' suit under Section 1982. Baker v. F & F Inv., 420 F.2d 1191 (7th Cir. 1970). The Supreme Court denied the Defendant-appellants' petition for writ of certiorari on October 12, 1970. Universal Builders, Inc. v. Clark, 400 U.S. 821 (1970).

During trial U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Sam Perry granted the Defendants' motion for a directed verdict, finding that Plaintiffs' exploitation theory could not support a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. 1982. The Seventh Circuit reversed Judge Perry on July 26, 1974, holding that Section 1982 is violated if the facts demonstrate that Defendants exploited a situation created by socioeconomic forces tainted by racial discrimination. Clark v. Universal Builders, Inc., 501 F.2d 324, 330 (7th Cir. 1974). The Supreme Court denied the Defendants' petition for a writ of certiorari. Universal Builders, Inc. v. Clark, 419 U.S. 1070 (1974).

On remand, U.S. District Court Judge Austin denied the Defendants' motion to dismiss the Plaintiffs' causes of action in their amended complaint under 42 U.S.C. 1981, 1982, and 1985(3), but granted the motion to strike with respect to a claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983. Clark v. Universal Builders, Inc., 409 F. Supp. 1274 (N.D. Ill. 1974). The District Court subsequently entered judgment for the Defendants, finding that the Plaintiffs had failed to adduce evidence proving either a traditional or an exploitation theory of unlawful discrimination in lending. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the District Court's ruling on April 19, 1983. Clark v. Universal Builders, Inc., 706 F.2d 204 (7th Cir. 1983).

Andrew Nash - 06/02/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-area
Lending
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Funding
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Race, unspecified
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1982
Defendant(s) Universal Builders, Inc.
Plaintiff Description 1,000 black home buyers who purchased newly constructed single family dwellings from defendants under land installment contracts during a period from 1957-1969.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1983
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Order [Denying Writ of Certiorari] 10/12/1970 (400 U.S. 821)
FH-IL-0012-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Opinion [Reverses and Remands District Court Decision] 07/26/1974 (501 F.2d 324)
FH-IL-0012-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Ruling on Motions 03/11/1976 (409 F.Supp. 1274) (N.D. Ill.)
FH-IL-0012-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion [Affirming Decision] 04/19/1983 (706 F.2d 204)
FH-IL-0012-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Coffey, John Louis (Seventh Circuit)
FH-IL-0012-0003
Cudahy, Richard Dickson (Seventh Circuit)
FH-IL-0012-0003
Grant, Robert Allen (N.D. Ind.)
FH-IL-0012-0002
Sprecher, Robert Arthur (Seventh Circuit)
FH-IL-0012-0002
Swygert, Luther Merritt (N.D. Ind., Seventh Circuit)
FH-IL-0012-0002 | FH-IL-0012-0003
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Boodell, Thomas J. (Illinois)
FH-IL-0012-0002
Samuels, Ronald S. (Illinois)
FH-IL-0012-0002
Thigpen, Carol R. (Illinois)
FH-IL-0012-0003
Tucker, John C. (Illinois)
FH-IL-0012-0002
Defendant's Lawyers McClure, John F. (Illinois)
FH-IL-0012-0003
Turoff, Michael (Illinois)
FH-IL-0012-0003
Weitzenfeld, Burton Y. (Illinois)
FH-IL-0012-0002
Other Lawyers McNally, William J. (Illinois)
FH-IL-0012-0002

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