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Case Name Nozzi v. Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles PH-CA-0002
Docket / Court CV 07-00380 GW ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Public Housing
Attorney Organization Kaye, McLane, Bednarski & Litt
Case Summary
On January 16, 2007, two recipients of federal benefits under the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program and a non-profit advocacy organization filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The plaintiff sued the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) ... read more >
On January 16, 2007, two recipients of federal benefits under the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program and a non-profit advocacy organization filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The plaintiff sued the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The case was assigned to Judge George H. Wu. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, claimed that the Authority had violated due process by altering housing benefits to voucher recipients without adequate notice. The plaintiff claimed that HACLA violated six due process and federal regulations by failing to provide proper notice of Section 8 rent increases, which would affect approximately 22,000 tenants receiving federal benefits.

The Section 8 Housing Voucher Program was designed to aid low-income families in acquiring housing by subsidizing private landlords who rented to low-income tenants. In 2004, the defendant proposed cutting back on these federal subsidies in order to meet a federally-set budget. The changes were announced publicly, and would not take effect until April 2005. Individual tenants would not be subject to new regulations until their next annual evaluation, unless they moved before that time.

In November 2007, the court granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss. 2007 WL 9658205. Plaintiffs then filed a First Amended Complaint alleging violations of (1) due process of law under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, (2) rights created by 42 U.S.C. § 1437f, the Fair Housing Act (FHA), (3) Cal. Gov. Code § 815.6, (4) due process of law under Art. 1, § 7 of the California Constitution, and (5) negligence. The court dismissed the second and fifth claims and later granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the remaining claims. 2009 WL 10678033.

Plaintiffs appealed and Judge Percy Anderson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of the fifth claim and the grant of summary judgment on the first, third, and fourth claims. 425 Fed.Appx. 539. On remand, the district court granted HACLA’s renewed motion for summary judgment. The Ninth Circuit again reversed, holding that the flyer sent by HACLA did not provide sufficient notice of the voucher program change. Specifically, the court held that this “failure violated both the requirements of the Voucher Program and regulations and the requirements of procedural due process.” 806 F. 3d 1178. The matter was remanded but included instructions on the district court to enter summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on the matters of federal and state law at issue on appeal.

In November 2015, HACLA petitioned the Ninth Circuit for rehearing en banc which the court denied in January 2016. 806 F. 3d 1178. HACLA subsequently petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari which was denied in October 2016. 137 S.Ct. 52.

Following remand, the court certified two classes: (1) an injunctive relief class and (2) a damages class. The Injunctive Relief Class consists of all Section 8 voucher recipients whose benefits were administered by HACLA and who in the past received, or in the future may receive, notice of decreased benefits. The Damages Class consists of HACLA Section 8 tenants, between June 1, 2005 and September 30, 2006, whose rental contribution was greater than it would have been if not for HACLA’s 2004 decrease in benefits. The Damages Class consists of 11,870 tenants.

In February 2017, the parties filed cross-motions for partial summary judgment as to remedies. Before the court ruled on these motions, the parties filed a stipulation for settlement. On February 15, 2018, the court granted final approval of the settlement agreement. 2018 WL 1659984. The settlement included attorneys’ fees and other fees (approximately $3.5 million total), a $6 million fund for the damages class, a three-year injunction that required HACLA to:

  • Notify all Section 8 tenants in plain language of a known, likely, or potential reduction in benefits

  • Notify Class Counsel of any reduction in benefits

  • Communicate with all Section 8 tenants in plain language regarding anything related to the Settlement Agreement


In return for the injunction and monetary award, the plaintiffs agreed to release the defendant from all claims potentially arising out of the facts alleged in the complaint. The district court will retain jurisdiction over the settlement until 2021. As of November 2, 2018, there has been no further docket activity.

Asma Husain - 11/02/2015
Hope Brinn - 11/02/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Housing Authority
General
Housing
Housing assistance
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles
Plaintiff Description Two recipients of federal benefits under the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program and a non-profit advocacy organization.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Kaye, McLane, Bednarski & Litt
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2017 - n/a
Filing Year 2007
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Urban Institute Baseline Assessment of Public Housing Desegregation Cases
Date: 2000
By: George Galster et al. (Urban Institute, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Faculty)
Citation: (2000)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

Docket(s)
2:07−cv−00380−GW−FFM (C.D. Cal.)
PH-CA-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/15/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Proceedings: Hearing Re: Scheduling Conference; and Motions to Dismiss [ECF# 42] (C.D. Cal.)
PH-CA-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/30/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Dismissing Original Complaint [ECF# 48] (C.D. Cal.)
PH-CA-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/23/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ruling on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Second and Fifth Causes of Action in the First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 63] (2007 WL 9658205) (C.D. Cal.)
PH-CA-0002-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/26/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ruling on Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment [ECF# 90] (C.D. Cal.)
PH-CA-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/08/2009
Judgment in Favor of Defendants [ECF# 94] (C.D. Cal.)
PH-CA-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/25/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Mandate and Memorandum
PH-CA-0002-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/23/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment in Favor of Defendants (2) [ECF# 192] (C.D. Cal.)
PH-CA-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/12/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 49] (806 F.3d 1178)
PH-CA-0002-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/30/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Proceedings: Motions for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement and Attorney's Fees [ECF# 331] (C.D. Cal.)
PH-CA-0002-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/15/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment [ECF# 332] (C.D. Cal.)
PH-CA-0002-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/15/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Anderson, Percy (C.D. Cal.)
PH-CA-0002-0009 | PH-CA-0002-0010 | PH-CA-0002-9000
Wu, George H. (C.D. Cal.)
PH-CA-0002-0001 | PH-CA-0002-0002 | PH-CA-0002-0003 | PH-CA-0002-0004 | PH-CA-0002-0005 | PH-CA-0002-0006
Plaintiff's Lawyers Carroll, Stephanie Dominique (California)
PH-CA-0002-9000
Dunlevy, Patrick Mark (California)
PH-CA-0002-9000
Estuar, Paul J. (California)
PH-CA-0002-9000
Grunfeld, Daniel (California)
PH-CA-0002-9000
Kwoh, Stewart (California)
PH-CA-0002-9000
Litt, Barrett S. (California)
PH-CA-0002-9000
Rafti, Louis A (California)
PH-CA-0002-9000
Richardson, Anne K. (California)
PH-CA-0002-9000
Su, Julie A (California)
PH-CA-0002-9000
Vera, Hernan D. (California)
PH-CA-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Dveirin, Brant H. (California)
PH-CA-0002-9000
Jones, Heather Elayne (California)
PH-CA-0002-9000
Leung, Todd T. (California)
PH-CA-0002-9000
Li, Yangyang (California)
PH-CA-0002-9000
Pisano, Christopher M. (California)
PH-CA-0002-9000

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