University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development PH-TX-0003
Docket / Court 3:07-cv-00945-O ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Public Housing
Case Summary
On May 29, 2007, a fair housing focused nonprofit organization filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1437(f) and 3608(e)(5) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Plaintiff, represented by private ... read more >
On May 29, 2007, a fair housing focused nonprofit organization filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1437(f) and 3608(e)(5) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked the court for injunctive relief, claiming that HUD should use smaller rental housing market areas, instead of large multi-county regions, as a basis for determining Fair Market Rents ("FMRs"). Specifically, plaintiff alleged that HUD's practice of using a large multi-county region as the starting point for determining FMR violates both 42 U.S.C. § 1437(f), which requires HUD to base FMRs on "market area," and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. § 3601, et seq., which imposes an affirmative duty on HUD to promote fair housing policies.

Under its housing subsidy programs, HUD contracts with local public housing agencies and private landlords to pay the difference between the FMR and the amount paid by the tenant (roughly 30% of the tenant's income.) The lower the FMR, the less likely it is for a low-income tenant to be able to find an affordable unit.

The "market area" used by HUD to determine FMRs in the Dallas rental housing market is comprised of eight counties. HUD, however, applied rent levels calculated using a twelve-county region. Plaintiff alleged that this practice resulted in lower FMRs for the Dallas rental housing market area, thereby precluding the Housing Choice Voucher Program participants from obtaining rental housing in more affluent Caucasian areas.

On October 2, 2007, defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that plaintiff lacks standing and that plaintiff's claims are barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity.

On September 29, 2009, the Court (Judge Reed O'Connor) granted defendant's motion on the ground of sovereign immunity with respect to plaintiff's claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1437(f), but denied the motion in all other respects.

On October 26, 2009, plaintiff amended its complaint and sought relief under the equal protection principle incorporated in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a); and 42 U.S.C. § 3608(e)(5). HUD filed their answer to the amended complaint a month later.

Following several months of negotiations, the plaintiffs submitted a stipulation of dismissal and the case was closed. The settlement agreement was not entered with the court, and we have no further information on the case at this time.

As of the time this writing, the case is pending, the court having extended a deadline to submit settlement documents until June 4, 2010.

Elizabeth Daligga - 07/18/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Funding
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
Defendant(s) U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
Plaintiff Description Plaintiff is a non-profit organization that provides assistance to minority families participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program under Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 1437, et seq.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Urban Institute Baseline Assessment of Public Housing Desegregation Cases
By: George Galster et al. (Urban Institute, Housing and Urban Development (HUD))
Citation: (2000)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:07-cv-945 (N.D. Tex.) 07/05/2012
PH-TX-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 05/29/2007
PH-TX-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction; Accompanying Brief; Certificate of Interested Persons 10/02/2007
PH-TX-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Brief in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss 10/22/2007
PH-TX-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Reply in Support of Its Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction 11/13/2007
PH-TX-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Findings and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge 07/20/2009
PH-TX-0003-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Brief in Opposition to Hud Objections and Motion to Stay 08/10/2009
PH-TX-0003-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Adopting Findings And Recommendations of The United States Magistrate Judge 09/29/2009 (2009 WL 3122610) (N.D. Tex.)
PH-TX-0003-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint 10/26/2009
PH-TX-0003-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Answer 11/23/2009
PH-TX-0003-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Kaplan, Jeff (N.D. Tex.) [Magistrate]
PH-TX-0003-0006 | PH-TX-0003-0006 | PH-TX-0003-0008
O'Connor, Reed Charles (N.D. Tex.)
PH-TX-0003-0006
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Beshara, Laura Beth (Texas)
PH-TX-0003-0001 | PH-TX-0003-0003 | PH-TX-0003-0005 | PH-TX-0003-0007 | PH-TX-0003-9000
Daniel, Michael M. (Texas)
PH-TX-0003-0001 | PH-TX-0003-0003 | PH-TX-0003-0005 | PH-TX-0003-0007 | PH-TX-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Herb, Kimberly Lynn (District of Columbia)
PH-TX-0003-9000
Keisler, Peter D. (District of Columbia)
PH-TX-0003-0002 | PH-TX-0003-0004
Roper, Richard B (District of Columbia)
PH-TX-0003-0002 | PH-TX-0003-0004
Sitcov, Michael (District of Columbia)
PH-TX-0003-0002 | PH-TX-0003-0004
Todd, James D. (District of Columbia)
PH-TX-0003-0002 | PH-TX-0003-0004 | PH-TX-0003-0009 | PH-TX-0003-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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