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Case Name Inclusive Communities Project v. Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs PH-TX-0004
Docket / Court 3:08-CV-00546-D ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Public Housing
Case Summary
On March 28, 2008, the Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. (ICP) - a Texas non-profit that helps integrate low-income black families into Dallas's predominately white suburban neighborhoods - filed this suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas against the Texas Department ... read more >
On March 28, 2008, the Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. (ICP) - a Texas non-profit that helps integrate low-income black families into Dallas's predominately white suburban neighborhoods - filed this suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas against the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1982 and 1983, and the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604 and 3605.

In its complaint, ICP, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive relief, alleging that the TDHCA allocated federal tax credits to housing developers in a discriminatory manner, disproportionately granting credits for development in minority neighborhoods and disproportionately denying credits for development in white neighborhoods, thereby perpetuating racially segregated communities by creating a concentration of subsidized low-income housing in minority areas.

ICP offered two theories of discrimination: disparate treatment under § 1982 and the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, and disparate impact under the FHA. Disparate treatment requires that the plaintiff show discriminatory intent, whereas disparate impact allows a plaintiff to establish illegal discrimination by showing that seemingly race-neutral policies disproportionately harm racial minorities without adequate justification.

In September 2010, the District Court (Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater) denied the TDHCA's motions for summary judgment and judgment on the pleadings, and granted ICP partial summary judgment. The court concluded that ICP had standing to bring the suit and had made a sufficient initial showing of both disparate treatment and disparate impact discrimination. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. v. Texas Dep't of Hous. & Cmty. Affairs, 749 F. Supp. 2d 486 (N.D. Tex. 2010).

The case then proceeded to trial. On March 20, 2012, Judge Fitzwater held that ICP failed to establish that the TDHCA had acted with discriminatory intent and thus found for the TDHCA on the disparate treatment claims. However, the court ruled in favor of ICP on its disparate impact claim under the FHA and imposed an injunction on the TDHCA. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. v. Texas Dep't of Hous. & Cmty. Affairs, 860 F. Supp. 2d 312 (N.D. Tex. 2012).

Following trial, the court began to craft the injunction. It considered proposals from the parties and ultimately adopted a remedial plan in August 2012, which stipulated changes to the TDHCA's tax credit allocation process and provided for monitoring by the court for at least five years. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. v. Texas Dep't of Hous. & Cmty. Affairs, 2012 WL 3201401 (N.D. Tex. Aug. 7, 2012), amended in part, 2012 WL 5458208 (N.D. Tex. Nov. 8, 2012). In February 2013, the court awarded ICP attorneys' fees and costs totaling $1,893,969.

The TDHCA appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on the issue of whether the District Court correctly found that ICP proved a violation of the FHA based on disparate impact. On March 24, 2014, the Fifth Circuit (Judge James E. Graves, Jr.) held that the District Court applied the wrong legal test for assessing disparate impact claims and remanded the case to the District Court for further proceedings under the correct test. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. v. Texas Dep't of Hous. & Cmty. Affairs, 747 F.3d 275 (5th Cir. 2014). The Fifth Circuit's reversal also nullified the remedial plan, and vacated and remanded the award of attorneys' fees.

Following the ruling from the Fifth Circuit, the TDHCA sought Supreme Court review, which the Supreme Court granted on October 2, 2014. The TDHCA had sought review on two questions: whether disparate-impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act, altogether, and if they are, the appropriate standards. The Court limited its review to the former issue. (The District Court stayed proceedings until the Supreme Court's resolution.)

On June 25, the Court affirmed the Fifth Circuit. In a majority decision by Justice Kennedy, the Court agreed that the Fair Housing Act encompassed disparate impact liability, but emphasized that liability followed only if the challenged policy or practice actually caused a racial disparity, not merely accompanied one. The Court emphasized, as well, that remedies should not themselves promote unduly racialized decisionmaking. Justice Alito wrote the principal dissent, joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Scalia and Thomas; Justice Thomas also wrote a separate dissent. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings in light of its opinion.

Robert Lake - 06/12/2015
- 06/25/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Housing Authority
Multi-family housing provider
Discrimination-area
Housing Sales/Rental
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Funding
Housing
Housing assistance
Public assistance grants
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Racial segregation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
42 U.S.C. § 1982
Defendant(s) Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
Plaintiff Description The Inclusive Communities Project, a Dallas-based fair housing and civil rights non-profit
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
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 ]

  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 ]

Links Audio of argument in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.
Oyez
Posted: Jan. 21, 2015
By: Oyez
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:08-cv-546 (N.D. Tex.) 01/20/2015
PH-TX-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 03/28/2008
PH-TX-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 12/11/2008 (2008 WL 5191935) (N.D. Tex.)
PH-TX-0004-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Memorandum Opinion and Order 09/28/2010 (749 F.Supp.2d 486) (N.D. Tex.)
PH-TX-0004-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Pretrial Order 08/25/2011 (N.D. Tex.)
PH-TX-0004-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 02/14/2012 (N.D. Tex.)
PH-TX-0004-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 03/20/2012 (860 F.Supp.2d 312) (N.D. Tex.)
PH-TX-0004-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Memorandum Opinion and Order 06/12/2012 (2012 WL 2133667) (N.D. Tex.)
PH-TX-0004-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Memorandum Opinion and Order 08/07/2012 (2012 WL 3201401) (N.D. Tex.)
PH-TX-0004-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Judgment 08/07/2012 (N.D. Tex.)
PH-TX-0004-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 11/08/2012 (2012 WL 5458208) (N.D. Tex.)
PH-TX-0004-0011.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Amended Judgment 11/08/2012 (N.D. Tex.)
PH-TX-0004-0012.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 02/15/2013 (2013 WL 598390) (N.D. Tex.)
PH-TX-0004-0013.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Opinion 03/24/2014 (747 F.3d 275)
PH-TX-0004-0014.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment 04/15/2014
PH-TX-0004-0015.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment 04/15/2014
PH-TX-0004-0016.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 06/23/2014 (2014 WL 2815683) (N.D. Tex.)
PH-TX-0004-0017.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Order 10/02/2014 (N.D. Tex.)
PH-TX-0004-0018.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Supreme Court Merits Opinion] 06/25/2015 (135 S.Ct. 2507)
PH-TX-0004-0019.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Supreme Court website
Judges Alito, Samuel A. Jr. (SCOTUS, Third Circuit)
PH-TX-0004-0019
Fitzwater, Sidney Allen (N.D. Tex.)
PH-TX-0004-0003 | PH-TX-0004-0004 | PH-TX-0004-0005 | PH-TX-0004-0006 | PH-TX-0004-0007 | PH-TX-0004-0008 | PH-TX-0004-0009 | PH-TX-0004-0011 | PH-TX-0004-0013 | PH-TX-0004-0017 | PH-TX-0004-0018 | PH-TX-0004-9000
Graves, James Earl Jr. (State Supreme Court, Fifth Circuit)
PH-TX-0004-0014 | PH-TX-0004-0015 | PH-TX-0004-0016
Jones, Edith Hollan (Fifth Circuit)
PH-TX-0004-0014 | PH-TX-0004-0015 | PH-TX-0004-0016
Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (SCOTUS, Ninth Circuit)
PH-TX-0004-0019
Thomas, Clarence (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
PH-TX-0004-0019
Wiener, Jacques Loeb Jr. (Fifth Circuit)
PH-TX-0004-0015 | PH-TX-0004-0016
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Beshara, Laura Beth (Texas)
PH-TX-0004-0002 | PH-TX-0004-9000
Daniel, Michael M. (Texas)
PH-TX-0004-0002 | PH-TX-0004-0005 | PH-TX-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bray, Timothy Earl (Texas)
PH-TX-0004-0010 | PH-TX-0004-0012 | PH-TX-0004-9000
Chaney, William B. (Texas)
PH-TX-0004-9000
Dahlberg, Shelley (Texas)
PH-TX-0004-9000
Eccles, James B. (Texas)
PH-TX-0004-9000
Keller, Scott A. (Texas)
PH-TX-0004-9000
Kelsheimer, Michael C. (Texas)
PH-TX-0004-9000
Klusmann, Beth (Texas)
PH-TX-0004-9000
MacIntyre, James D. (Texas)
PH-TX-0004-9000
Mitchell, Jonathan F. (Texas)
PH-TX-0004-9000
Rhodus, G. Thomas (Texas)
PH-TX-0004-0010 | PH-TX-0004-0012 | PH-TX-0004-9000
Other Lawyers Pennington, Janice (Texas)
PH-TX-0004-9000
Rosenthal, Brent M. (Texas)
PH-TX-0004-9000

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