University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Harrison v. Otto G. Heinzeroth Mortgage Company FH-OH-0009
Docket / Court C 74-390 ( N.D. Ohio )
State/Territory Ohio
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Case Summary
Plaintiffs filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in 1974, alleging that they had wrongfully be denied credit for a home purchase in violation of the Fair Housing Act ("FHA"), 42 U.S.C. § 3604. Plaintiffs, a white couple, had attempted to finance a home purchase in ... read more >
Plaintiffs filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in 1974, alleging that they had wrongfully be denied credit for a home purchase in violation of the Fair Housing Act ("FHA"), 42 U.S.C. § 3604. Plaintiffs, a white couple, had attempted to finance a home purchase in a racially integrated neighborhood by applying for a loan with the Defendant-lender; when rejected, plaintiffs obtained less favored terms of credit from an alternative source. Plaintiffs sought money damages for the cost differential between the terms of credit they would have received from Defendant and the loan they eventually received. The Plaintiffs' attorney was associated with the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing, Inc. (NCDH), a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit.

On March 28, 1976, Judge Don J. Young rejected the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, holding that "[r]acial discrimination in the management of an apartment building cannot be distinguished from racial discrimination in the extending of loans according to neighborhoods." Harrison v. Otto G. Heinzeroth Mortg. Co., 414 F. Supp. 66, 67 (N.D. Ohio 1976). On March 4, 1977, the District Court held in favor of the plaintiffs on their claims and awarded them a $7,500 judgment. Harrison v. Otto G. Heinzeroth Mortg. Co., 430 F. Supp. 893 (N.D. Ohio 1977). These plaintiffs were the first plaintiffs to ever successfully litigate a case through to judgment in a suit alleging a violation of the Fair Housing Act premised on a race-based denial of credit.

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
Racial segregation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
Defendant(s) Otto G. Heinzeroth Mortgage Company
Plaintiff Description Man seeking a home mortgage offered very unfavorable terms by a loan officer who said that it was because the neighborhood in question was a transitional (mixed white/black) area, and therefore was higher risk.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought None on record
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1977 - n/a
Case Closing Year 1977
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Memorandum and Order [Denying Motion to Dismiss] 05/28/1976 (414 F.Supp. 66) (N.D. Ohio)
FH-OH-0009-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law 03/04/1977 (430 F.Supp. 893) (N.D. Ohio)
FH-OH-0009-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Young, Don John (N.D. Ohio)
FH-OH-0009-0001 | FH-OH-0009-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Harris, John A. III (Ohio)
FH-OH-0009-0002
Mulkeen, Jay (District of Columbia)
FH-OH-0009-0001 | FH-OH-0009-0002
Tafelski, Joseph R. (Ohio)
FH-OH-0009-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Handwork, Peter M. (Ohio)
FH-OH-0009-0001 | FH-OH-0009-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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