This Clearinghouse record combines two cases, Heyer v. City of New York (S.D.N.Y., filed 1980), and Bennett v. New York City Housing Authority (originally E.D.N.Y., filed 2002; transferred to S.D.N.Y. in 2005 and consolidated with Heyer).
On February 20, 1980, individuals with mobility impairments who were eligible for the Section 8 program commenced a class action lawsuit, Heyer v. City of New York Housing Authority
, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs sued the New York City Housing Authority under the United States Housing Act of 1937, the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act alleging that the New York City Housing Authority failed to provide individuals with mobility impairments, who have been, are, or will be qualified for the Section 8 program, with effective assistance in finding accessible housing.
The District Court certified a class, and in 1982 ordered a settlement agreement that required the defendant to take certain remedial steps under the supervision of the District Court. However, the settlement had no termination provision, and at some point the settlement fell into disuse.
Then on June 17, 2002, a class of individuals with mobility impairment who were eligible for the Section 8 program filed Bennett v. New York City Housing Authority
in the Eastern District of New York challenging similar violations by the Housing Authority. In Bennett
, the plaintiffs sued under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Fair Housing Act, alleging that the New York City Housing Authority failed or refused to assist them in finding housing so that they can make use of their housing vouchers. More specifically, they claimed that the defendants failed or refused to assist them in finding housing with accommodations for individuals with mobility impairments. Represented by the New York Legal Assistance Group, the Bennett
plaintiffs asked the Court for injunctive and declaratory relief.
Unaware of the Heyer
case and settlement agreement, the parties fully litigated a motion to dismiss, which was granted in a December 16, 2002 Memorandum and Order by U.S. District Judge Charles P. Sifton. The Judge agreed with the defendant that there was no subject matter jurisdiction, and denied the plaintiffs' motion for leave to amend the complaint as futile. 248 F.Supp.2d 166. Shortly thereafter, the parties began negotiating a settlement and on May 4, 2005, the parties signed a Stipulation and Order of Settlement in which the defendants agreed to: make accommodations for disabled individuals in the application process for public housing, regularly update its lists of available apartments, work with approved real estate brokers to locate apartments that may be suitable for individuals with mobility impairments, and recommend that landlords modify apartments to suit individuals with mobility impairments. The issue of attorneys' fees was handled privately by the parties.
It was not until 2005, three years after Bennett
was filed, that the parties became aware of the earlier Heyer
case. The Bennett
case was then transferred from the Eastern District of New York to the Southern District of New York so that the new (Bennett
) litigation could be consolidated with the old (Heyer
The two consolidated cases were settled in 2006, which dissolved the 1982 Heyer
stipulation and substituted a new stipulation imposing certain obligations, including a reporting requirement, on the Housing Authority for a three year period to begin on April 27, 2006. However, after the Housing Authority failed to fulfill its obligations during that three year period, the Court extended its jurisdiction over the consolidated cases from 2009 to 2011.
On January 30, 2012, after the plaintiffs complained about the Housing Authority's continued failure to meet the monitoring requirements, the parties negotiated the terms of yet another revised stipulation, which imposed additional obligations on the Housing Authority, including monitoring by the attorneys for the plaintiffs for three months after signing the Stipulation. This stipulation was set to run until April 30, 2014 unless extended by consent of the parties or order of the Court. There has been no further movement on the case; presumably the case is now closed.Saeeda Joseph-Charles - 09/22/2016