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Case Name Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center v. US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development FH-DC-0004
Docket / Court 08-1938 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Public Benefits / Government Services
Attorney Organization NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Case Summary
On November 12, 2008, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center and the National Fair Housing Alliance, along with African-American homeowners from Louisiana, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of more than 20,000 families, against the U.S. ... read more >
On November 12, 2008, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center and the National Fair Housing Alliance, along with African-American homeowners from Louisiana, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of more than 20,000 families, against the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development ("HUD") and the Executive Director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority ("LRA") under 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a), 3605(a), 3608(d), (e)(5) and 42 U.S.C. § 5304(b)(2).

The plaintiffs, represented by both private counsel and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, alleged that HUD's "Road Home" program has a discriminatory and disparate impact on African Americans. They asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief. Specifically, the plaintiffs sought an injunction requiring the LRA to recalculate Road Home awards to homeowners in New Orleans using a formula that does not have a disparate impact on African Americans.

In response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, HUD established the Road Home program, an $11 billion housing redevelopment program. Road Home was designed to compensate individuals whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The Road Home Program was administered by the LRA. The LRA awarded grants to homeowners based on the lesser of the pre-Katrina value of a home or the cost to rebuild the home. It capped grant amounts at $150,000. A number of covenants, including a covenant to rebuild within a certain amount of time, accompanied the grants. Because home values in predominantly African-American neighborhoods are lower than the values of similar homes in white neighborhoods, Plaintiffs alleged that African-Americans homeowners were likely to receive grant amounts based on the pre-storm value of their homes rather than the cost of rebuilding. On the other hand, Plaintiffs alleged that white homeowners with higher-valued yet similar homes were likely to receive grants based on the cost to rebuild. Plaintiffs alleged this would result in disparate impact, because white homeowners would receive higher grants than African-American homeowners; in turn, the result would be an uneven recovery that harmed African-American residents of Louisiana. For example, one African-American homeowner had a home that the LRA estimated had a pre-storm value of $1,400 but would have cost over $150,000 to rebuild. According to the formula, she would have received an essentially useless grant of $1,400.

On May 5, 2009, LRA filed a motion to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint and also moved to transfer the matter to a district court in Louisiana. Co-defendant HUD opposed the motion. The District Court originally set a hearing on the motion for June 2010, but the hearing was continued. The District Court Judge (Judge Henry Kennedy) did not rule on the motion to dismiss until September 7, 2010, most likely because shortly after the defendants filed motions to dismiss, the plaintiffs filed two motions for temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, the results of which were appealed to the D.C. Circuit.

On October 12, 2009, Louisiana provided low- and moderate-income homeowners who had received a Road Home grant based on the pre-storm value of their home with the opportunity to receive Additional Compensation Grants in an effort to provide grantees with grants based on the estimate cost of damage.

On June 6, 2010, plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction preventing the Louisiana from spending any remaining funds from the Road Home Program until the merits of the plaintiffs' case are resolved. Plaintiffs filed this motion because the LRA was set to sunset on June 30, 2010 and all remaining Road Home funds were scheduled to transfer to Louisiana's Office of Community Development, which would repurpose the funds for another program. On June 29, 2010, the District Court (Judge Henry Kennedy) found the plaintiffs were likely able to establish a prima facie case of racial discrimination, but even so denied the plaintiffs' motion. He held that the Eleventh Amendment barred him from providing retroactive relief to African-American homeowners who had already received grants under the formula.

On July 21, 2010, the plaintiffs filed a narrower motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction requesting only prospective relief. Judge Kennedy granted this motion, and prohibited Louisiana from disbursing funding based on the value of a person's home.

The plaintiffs filed an interlocutory appeal to the District Court's denial of its first motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction on July 21, 2010. The LRA appealed the District Court's decision to grant the plaintiff's second preliminary injunction.

On September 7, 2010, Judge Kennedy granted in part and denied in part the LRA's motion to dismiss and denied the LRA's motion to transfer. Judge Kennedy allowed plaintiffs claims against the LRA's executive director under 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a), but limited the claim to prospective relief. He dismissed all other claims against Louisiana. Louisiana appealed, but on December 30, 2010, the D.C. Circuit Court (per curiam) ordered that to the appeal held in abeyance until it resolved the pending appeals on the motions for temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions.

On April 8, 2011, a D.C. Circuit Court panel (Judge Judith Rogers, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and Judge Stephen Williams) determined that plaintiffs had not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of the case, and affirmed the District Court's denial of the plaintiffs' first motion and reversed the District Court's granting of the plaintiffs' second motion. In an opinion joined by Judge Kavanaugh, Judge Williams wrote that the plaintiffs failed to put forward convincing evidence of disparate impact.

In July 2011, the parties reached a settlement in the matter. According to the settlement, the October 2009 program providing for additional compensation grants aided the majority of injured African-American homeowners. In addition, Louisiana agreed to reward approximately 1,300 homeowners in four parishes approximately $62 million in additional compensation. The parties reserved the additional funds for homeowners who received Road Home compensation based on the pre-storm value of their home. In order to qualify for additional funding, the homeowners who received grants based on the pre-storm value of their home must: (1) live in one of the four Louisiana parishes most impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; (2) have an original grant that was significantly constrained by their homes pre-storm value; (3) have a home in which the pre-storm value was at or below the fifty-fifth percentile of the parish. Further, eligible recipients must have been unable to complete repairs and return to their homes as of May 1, 2011, or must have returned without repairing the property, which must be uninhabitable according to local laws and ordinances. The agreement also provided recipients of this additional grant money additional time to comply with the rebuilding covenants that accompanied their original grants.

The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the suit, in light of the settlement, which does not provide for court enforcement.

Benjamin Clark - 11/16/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Commerce Power
Federalism
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Preliminary relief denied
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-area
Housing Sales/Rental
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Funding
Housing
Housing assistance
Public assistance grants
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) Department of Housing and Urban Development
Louisiana Recovery Authority
Plaintiff Description Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center; National Fair Housing Alliance; African-American homeowners from Louisiana
Indexed Lawyer Organizations NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Class action status sought Yes
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 Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration 2011 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2011
Case Ongoing No
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)
1:08−cv−01938 (D.D.C.) 07/22/2011
FH-DC-0004-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 11/12/2008
FH-DC-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction and for Failure to State a Claim by Defendant UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT 03/06/2009
FH-DC-0004-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS AND MOTION TO TRANSFER 05/05/2009
FH-DC-0004-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
DEFENDANT U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT’S RESPONSE TO MOTION TO DISMISS AND MOTION TO TRANSFER BY DEFENDANT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE LOUISIANA RECOVERY AUTHORITY 06/05/2009
FH-DC-0004-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
PLAINTIFFS’ OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS TO DISMISS AND MOTION TO TRANSFER 06/05/2009
FH-DC-0004-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
REPLY OF DEFENDANT U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT IN SUPPORT OF ITS MOTION TO DISMISS 07/08/2009
FH-DC-0004-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
REPLY MEMORANDUM OF DEFENDANT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR IN SUPPORT OF HIS MOTION TO DISMISS AND MOTION TO TRANSFER 07/08/2009
FH-DC-0004-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
PLAINTIFFS’ MEMORANDUM AND POINTS OF AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF THEIR MOTION FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION 06/02/2010
FH-DC-0004-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
ORDER Denying plaintiffs’ Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction 06/29/2010 (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0004-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MEMORANDUM OPINION setting forth the rationale for the Court's order denying Plaintiffs' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction 07/06/2010 (723 F.Supp.2d 1) (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0004-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
PLAINTIFFS’ SECOND MOTION FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION 07/21/2010
FH-DC-0004-0013.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ SECOND MOTION FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AGAINST THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE LOUISIANA RECOVERY AUTHORITY 08/04/2010
FH-DC-0004-0014.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
ORDER Granting Second Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction and Denying of Motion to Stay Proceedings Pending Appeal. 08/16/2010 (723 F.Supp.2d 11) (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0004-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting In Part and Denying in Part Motion to Dismiss; Order Denying Motion to Transfer 09/07/2010 (723 F.Supp.2d 14) (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0004-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
COA ORDER 12/30/2010
FH-DC-0004-0015.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
COA Order Affirming District Court's Denial of Plaintiffs' First Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Permanent Injunction and Reversing the District Court's Granting of Plaintiffs' Second Temporary Restraining Order and Permanen 04/08/2011 (639 F.3d 1078)
FH-DC-0004-0017.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Settlement Agreement 07/07/2011
FH-DC-0004-0016.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Defendant or Defendant's Counsel
Notice of Dismissal 07/08/2011
FH-DC-0004-0018.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Papers of Margo Schlanger
Judges Brown, Janice Rogers (D.C. Circuit)
FH-DC-0004-0015
Ginsburg, Douglas Howard (D.C. Circuit)
FH-DC-0004-0015
Kavanaugh, Brett M. (D.C. Circuit)
FH-DC-0004-0017
Kennedy, Henry Harold Jr. (D.D.C.) [Magistrate]
FH-DC-0004-0001 | FH-DC-0004-0002 | FH-DC-0004-0003 | FH-DC-0004-0011 | FH-DC-0004-0012 | FH-DC-0004-9001
Rogers, Judith Ann Wilson (D.C. Circuit)
FH-DC-0004-0017
Tatel, David S. (D.C. Circuit)
FH-DC-0004-0015
Williams, Stephen Fain (D.C. Circuit)
FH-DC-0004-0017
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Adegbile, Debo Patrick (New York)
FH-DC-0004-0001 | FH-DC-0004-0017 | FH-DC-0004-9001
Blacksher, M. Lucia (Louisiana)
FH-DC-0004-0001 | FH-DC-0004-9001
Colangelo, Matthew B. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0001 | FH-DC-0004-0007 | FH-DC-0004-9001
Coleman, Llezlie Green (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0001 | FH-DC-0004-0007 | FH-DC-0004-0010 | FH-DC-0004-9001
Goldblatt, Craig (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0013 | FH-DC-0004-0016 | FH-DC-0004-0017 | FH-DC-0004-0018
Hewitt, Damon Todd (New York)
FH-DC-0004-0001 | FH-DC-0004-0007 | FH-DC-0004-0010 | FH-DC-0004-0013 | FH-DC-0004-0016 | FH-DC-0004-0018 | FH-DC-0004-9001
Moore, ReNika C (New York)
FH-DC-0004-0001 | FH-DC-0004-0007 | FH-DC-0004-0010 | FH-DC-0004-0013 | FH-DC-0004-0016 | FH-DC-0004-0017 | FH-DC-0004-0018 | FH-DC-0004-9001
Payton, John A. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0001 | FH-DC-0004-0007 | FH-DC-0004-0010 | FH-DC-0004-0017 | FH-DC-0004-9001
Romer-Friedman, Peter (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0010 | FH-DC-0004-0013 | FH-DC-0004-0016 | FH-DC-0004-0018
Sellers, Joseph Marc (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0001 | FH-DC-0004-0007 | FH-DC-0004-0010 | FH-DC-0004-0013 | FH-DC-0004-0016 | FH-DC-0004-0017 | FH-DC-0004-0018 | FH-DC-0004-9001
Smith, Johnathan James (New York)
FH-DC-0004-0016
Tenny, Daniel (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0001 | FH-DC-0004-0007 | FH-DC-0004-9001
Weinstein, Randall (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0018
Williams, Morgan (Louisiana)
FH-DC-0004-0013 | FH-DC-0004-0016 | FH-DC-0004-0018
Yang, Jenny R. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0007 | FH-DC-0004-0010 | FH-DC-0004-0013 | FH-DC-0004-0017 | FH-DC-0004-0018
Defendant's Lawyers Culotta, Renee G (Louisiana)
FH-DC-0004-0005 | FH-DC-0004-0009 | FH-DC-0004-0014 | FH-DC-0004-0017 | FH-DC-0004-9001
Heffernan, Timothy Edward (Virginia)
FH-DC-0004-0005 | FH-DC-0004-0009 | FH-DC-0004-0014 | FH-DC-0004-0017 | FH-DC-0004-9001
Hertz, Michael F. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0004 | FH-DC-0004-0008 | FH-DC-0004-9001
Krouse, Allen J. III (Louisiana)
FH-DC-0004-0005 | FH-DC-0004-0009 | FH-DC-0004-0014 | FH-DC-0004-0016 | FH-DC-0004-0017 | FH-DC-0004-9001
Phillips, Channing D (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0006 | FH-DC-0004-0008
Rees, Daniel (Louisiana)
FH-DC-0004-0016
Risey, Suzanne M. (Louisiana)
FH-DC-0004-0005 | FH-DC-0004-0009 | FH-DC-0004-0014 | FH-DC-0004-0017 | FH-DC-0004-9001
Sitcov, Michael (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0004 | FH-DC-0004-0006 | FH-DC-0004-0008 | FH-DC-0004-0016
Taylor, Jeff (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0004
Todd, James D. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0004 | FH-DC-0004-0006 | FH-DC-0004-0008 | FH-DC-0004-0016 | FH-DC-0004-9001
Von Baxter, Felix (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0016
West, Tony (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0006 | FH-DC-0004-0016
Other Lawyers Conley, Danielle (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0004-0007 | FH-DC-0004-0010 | FH-DC-0004-0013
Williams, A. Damian (New York)
FH-DC-0004-0017

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