University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Heyer v. New York City Housing Authority and Bennett v. New York City Housing Authority PH-NY-0004
Docket / Court 1:80-cv-01196 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Public Housing
Case Summary
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 ... read more >
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) litigation.

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


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Comply with advertising/recruiting requirements
Monitoring
Defendant-type
Housing Authority
Disability
Mobility impairment
Discrimination-area
Housing Sales/Rental
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Buildings
Disparate Treatment
Housing
Housing assistance
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) New York Housing Authority
Plaintiff Description A group of disabled individuals who receive Section 8 housing vouchers.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1982 - 2014
Case Closing Year 2014
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)
1:02-cv-03499-CPS-SMG (E.D.N.Y.) 06/02/2005
PH-NY-0004-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:80-cv-01196-RWS (S.D.N.Y.) 04/28/2006
PH-NY-0004-9002.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:80-cv-01196-RWS (S.D.N.Y.) 02/01/2012
PH-NY-0004-9003.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:05-cv-05286-RWS (S.D.N.Y.) 03/30/2012
PH-NY-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 06/17/2002
PH-NY-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order 12/18/2002 (248 F.Supp.2d 166) (E.D.N.Y.)
PH-NY-0004-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Stipulation and Order of Settlement 05/04/2005
PH-NY-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Order of Settlement 2 01/30/2012
PH-NY-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Sifton, Charles Proctor (E.D.N.Y.)
PH-NY-0004-0004
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Kirklin, John E. (New York)
PH-NY-0004-9003
Lane, Howard (New York)
PH-NY-0004-9002
Mitchell, Catherine (New York)
PH-NY-0004-9002
Rosenbloom, Nancy (New York)
PH-NY-0004-0002
Russell, Julia Grossman (New York)
PH-NY-0004-9000
Schulman, Yisroel (New York)
PH-NY-0004-0001 | PH-NY-0004-0003 | PH-NY-0004-9000 | PH-NY-0004-9001
Stevens, Jane Greengold (New York)
PH-NY-0004-0002 | PH-NY-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Kaloyanides, Sonya M (New York)
PH-NY-0004-0003
Kleinberg, Charles (New York)
PH-NY-0004-9000 | PH-NY-0004-9001
Morales, Ricardo Elias (New York)
PH-NY-0004-9000 | PH-NY-0004-9001
Scgatz, Donald (New York)
PH-NY-0004-9002
Other Lawyers None on record

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