University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Vargas v. Town of Smithtown FH-NY-0008
Docket / Court 2:07-cv-05202-JS-WDW ( E.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Case Summary
On December 13, 2007, low-income minority individuals in need of affordable housing filed a lawsuit under the Fair Housing Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against the Town of Smithtown in the United States District ... read more >
On December 13, 2007, low-income minority individuals in need of affordable housing filed a lawsuit under the Fair Housing Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against the Town of Smithtown in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York. The plaintiffs, represented by both private counsel and public interest attorneys, asked the court for injunctive and monetary relief, claiming that Smithtown operated its voucher program with a residency preference that discriminated on the basis of race, color, and national origin. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that they and others similarly situated were intentionally excluded from participation in the Town's voucher program.

On August 28, 2009, the court (Joanna Seybert) entered an order and final judgment approving the parties' settlement agreement. Under the terms of the settlement the Town of Smithtown agreed to implement an anti-discrimination educational program for its employees, to affirmatively market the Section 8 Program to minority persons, to inform the public of its non-discriminatory policies, to maintain and preserve records for purposes of recordkeeping and reporting, and to pay $925,000 to the plaintiffs. This settlement remains in effect until 2019.

Gregory Pitt - 08/01/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Comply with advertising/recruiting requirements
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Provide antidiscrimination training
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Discrimination-area
Housing Sales/Rental
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Housing
Racial segregation
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Town of Smithtown
Plaintiff Description Black and Hispanic persons seeking federally assisted housing vouchers
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2009 - 2019
Case Closing Year 2009
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Insurer Must Pay $100.5 Million in Redlining Case
The New York Times
Written: Oct. 27, 1998
By: Joseph B. Treaster
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Nationwide Settles Virginia Redlining Suit
Property Casualty 360
Written: May. 06, 2000
By: Amanda Levin
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Origins of Fair Lending Litigation
Written: Dec. 04, 2008
By: Andrew Nash (Washington University in St. Louis)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:07-cv-05202-JS-WDW (E.D.N.Y.) 09/27/2011
FH-NY-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 12/13/2007
FH-NY-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against the Town of Smithtown, New York to Halt a Discriminatory Residency Preference in its Section 8 Housing Voucher Program 12/13/2007
FH-NY-0008-0002.pdf | Detail
STIPULATION OF SETTLEMENT AND CONSENT DECREE 03/04/2009
FH-NY-0008-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
PRELIMINARY ORDER FQR APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION 07/01/2009 (E.D.N.Y.)
FH-NY-0008-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
ORDER AND FINAL JUDGMENT 08/29/2009 (E.D.N.Y.)
FH-NY-0008-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Seybert, Joanna (E.D.N.Y.)
FH-NY-0008-0003 | FH-NY-0008-0005
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Birch, Nicole (District of Columbia)
FH-NY-0008-0001 | FH-NY-0008-9000
Friedman, Stacy R. (New York)
FH-NY-0008-0001 | FH-NY-0008-0004 | FH-NY-0008-9000
Graham, Philip L. (New York)
FH-NY-0008-0001 | FH-NY-0008-0004 | FH-NY-0008-9000
Nunn, Robin (New York)
FH-NY-0008-0001 | FH-NY-0008-0004 | FH-NY-0008-9000
Rich, Joseph D (District of Columbia)
FH-NY-0008-0001 | FH-NY-0008-0002 | FH-NY-0008-0004
Smith, Tyler J. (New York)
FH-NY-0008-0001 | FH-NY-0008-0004 | FH-NY-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Arntsen, David H (New York)
FH-NY-0008-0004 | FH-NY-0008-9000
Dejong, Jeltje (New York)
FH-NY-0008-0004 | FH-NY-0008-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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