University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. FH-CA-0005
Docket / Court C-70 1754 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Case Summary
In 1970, two residents of the Parkmerced complex of apartments and town houses in San Francisco filed a lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1982 and the fair housing provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging ... read more >
In 1970, two residents of the Parkmerced complex of apartments and town houses in San Francisco filed a lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1982 and the fair housing provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that defendant Metropolitan Life Insurance Company was engaging in discriminatory housing practices. Plaintiffs claimed that, because of the discriminatory practices, they lost the social benefits of living in an integrated community, they missed business and professional advantages which would have accrued if they had lived with members of minority groups, and they suffered embarrassment and economic damage in social, business, and professional activities from being "stigmatized" as residents of a "white ghetto."

On February 10, 1971, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Judge Robert H. Schnacke) dismissed both the complaint and the complaint in intervention due to lack of standing, noting that the plaintiffs had not alleged, "nor can they, that they themselves have been denied any of the rights granted by Title VIII or by 42 U.S.C. § 1982 to purchase or rent real property." Trafficante v. Metropolitan, 322 F.Supp. 352 (N.D. California 1971). On August 6, 1971, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Judge Elizabeth J. Jameson) affirmed the District Court's order of dismissal. Trafficante v. Metropolitan, 446 F.2d 1158 (9th Cir. 1971). The Supreme Court granted certiorari on February 22, 1972. Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 405 U.S. 915 (1972). On December 7, 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court (Justice William O. Douglas) reversed the Circuit Court order, holding that the definition in § 810(a) of "person aggrieved" as "any person who claims to have been injured by a discriminatory housing practice," shows a congressional intention to define standing as broadly as is permitted by Article III of the Constitution, and petitioners, being tenants of the apartment complex, have standing to sue under § 810(a). Trafficante v. Metropolitan, 409 U.S. 205 (1972). On remand to the District Court, the case was subsequently settled.

We have no further information on this matter.

Brandon Brown - 07/11/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
None on record
Causes of Action Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
Defendant(s) Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
Plaintiff Description Tenants of apartment complex challenging allegedly racially discriminatory practices of landlord. Because of landlord's discrimination against nonwhites, the tenants say they lost social benefits of living in an integrated community.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Links The Oyez Project, Trafficante v Metropolitan Life Ins., 409 U.S. 205 (1972).
www.oyez.org
Posted: Feb. 07, 1972
By: Oyez Project (IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Motions to Dismiss 12/08/1970
FH-CA-0005-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Papers of Alexander (Sandy) Ross
Memorandum Opinion and Order Dismissing Complaint and Complaint in Intervention 02/10/1971 (322 F.Supp. 352) (N.D. Cal.)
FH-CA-0005-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
[Order Affirming District Court Dismissal] 08/06/1971 (446 F.2d 1158)
FH-CA-0005-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
[Cert. Granted] 02/22/1972 (405 U.S. 915)
FH-CA-0005-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order [Reversing and Remanding] 12/07/1972 (409 U.S. 205)
FH-CA-0005-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Carter, Oliver Jesse (N.D. Cal.)
FH-CA-0005-0003
Chambers, Richard Harvey (Ninth Circuit)
FH-CA-0005-0003
Douglas, William Orville (SCOTUS)
FH-CA-0005-0004
Jameson, William James (D. Mont.)
FH-CA-0005-0003
Schnacke, Robert Howard (N.D. Cal.)
FH-CA-0005-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bomse, Stephen V. (California)
FH-CA-0005-0002 | FH-CA-0005-0003 | FH-CA-0005-0004 | FH-CA-0005-0006
Brown, Margaret D. (California)
FH-CA-0005-0003
Clyde, George H. Jr. (California)
FH-CA-0005-0002 | FH-CA-0005-0003 | FH-CA-0005-0006
Defendant's Lawyers Kilmartin, Richard J. (California)
FH-CA-0005-0002 | FH-CA-0005-0003 | FH-CA-0005-0004
Shea, Robert M. (California)
FH-CA-0005-0002 | FH-CA-0005-0003 | FH-CA-0005-0004
Steefel, Edward R. (California)
FH-CA-0005-0002 | FH-CA-0005-0003
Other Lawyers Browning, James L. Jr. (District of Columbia)
FH-CA-0005-0003
Greenberg, Jack (New York)
FH-CA-0005-0003
Nabrit, James M. III (New York)
FH-CA-0005-0003
Norman, David L. (District of Columbia)
FH-CA-0005-0003
Schwelb, Frank E. (District of Columbia)
FH-CA-0005-0003
Turner, William Bennett (California)
FH-CA-0005-0003
Wallace, Lawrence G. (District of Columbia)
FH-CA-0005-0004
Wiggers, Edward (District of Columbia)
FH-CA-0005-0003
Williams, Oscar (California)
FH-CA-0005-0003

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