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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council v. City of Maplewood FH-MO-0006
Docket / Court 4:17-cv-00886-PLC ( E.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Attorney Organization Relman, Dane & Colfax
Case Summary
On March 13, 2017, the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council ("EHOC") filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Missouri. The plaintiff sued the City of Maplewood, Missouri under the Fair Housing Act ("FHA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. and Missouri ... read more >
On March 13, 2017, the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council ("EHOC") filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Missouri. The plaintiff sued the City of Maplewood, Missouri under the Fair Housing Act ("FHA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. and Missouri Human Rights Act ("MHRA"), Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 213.040 et seq. for discriminatory treatment and disparate impact. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, sought a declaratory judgement that the defendant’s actions violate the FHA and the MHRA; a permanent injunction restraining Maplewood from enforcing the nuisance ordinance; compensatory damages; punitive damages; and attorneys’ fees and costs.

Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the nuisance ordinance issued by the city of Maplewood, Missouri discriminates against and disproportionately impacts non-white residents, women (especially those who are survivors of domestic violence) and people with disabilities. Specifically, they challenged the city of Maplewood "chronic nuisance ordinance" pursuant to which the city revoked the occupancy permits of residents (it’s a crime to live in the city without it) whom it deems to be "chronic nuisances." They claimed that Maplewood designated certain residents to be nuisances simply because they had been the subject of multiple police calls, regardless of whether they did anything wrong.

The defendant moved to dismiss the complaint on May 11, 2017. They alleged that the plaintiff had failed to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 and Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 213.040 for which relief could be granted. On December 8, 2017, District Judge Ronnie L. White granted the motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint for failure to state a claim. He granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss based on federal Fair Housing Act 42 §§ 3601 because it failed to set forth factual allegations sufficient to move its disparate impact claim over the plausibility threshold and had failed to state a claim of disparate treatment. He found that the facts did not create an inference that the defendant enforced its nuisance ordinance for the purpose of adversely affecting African American residents, women, and/or disabled residents and failed to identify specific instances where the defendant had a discriminatory intent or motive in providing favorable treatment to white and/or non-disabled residents over other residents based on race, gender, disability, or any other improper criteria when enforcing its nuisance ordinance. He also found that the Plaintiff failed to sufficiently plead a causal connection between the alleged discriminatory policy, Maplewood's nuisance ordinance, and the alleged discriminatory disparate impact on African Americans, women, and disabled residents.

The Judge also dismiss the state law claim without prejudice, stating that because the federal claim had been dismissed, he did not have jurisdiction to hear the state claim.

On January 8, 2018, the plaintiff filed a Motion for Relief from Judgement alleging that claims regarding EHOC’s sex and disability discrimination were conceptually distinct from the race discrimination claim, and the Court erred in dismissing them for the same reasons.

The case is ongoing.

Joanna Kuzdra - 01/19/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
disability, unspecified
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Race discrimination
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Housing
Racial segregation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
State law
Defendant(s) City of Maplewood, Missouri
Plaintiff Description The Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council ("EHOC") is a private non-profit corporation in the greater St. Louis area dedicated to ensuring equal access to housing and places of public accommodation for all people through education, counseling, investigation and enforcement.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Relman, Dane & Colfax
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  The Origins of Fair Lending Litigation
Date: Dec. 4, 2008
By: Andrew Nash (Washington University in St. Louis Law Student)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
4:17−cv−00886−RLW (E.D. Mo.)
FH-MO-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/10/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint Jury Trial Demanded [ECF# 1]
FH-MO-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/13/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 33] (2017 WL 6278882) (E.D. Mo.)
FH-MO-0006-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/08/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges White, Ronnie Lee II Court not on record
FH-MO-0006-0002 | FH-MO-0006-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cacace, Megan (District of Columbia)
FH-MO-0006-9000
Hunt, Sarah Jane (Missouri)
FH-MO-0006-0001 | FH-MO-0006-9000
Kennedy, Thomas E (Missouri)
FH-MO-0006-0001 | FH-MO-0006-9000
Relman, John Peter (District of Columbia)
FH-MO-0006-0001 | FH-MO-0006-9000
Samberg-Champion, Sasha M. (District of Columbia)
FH-MO-0006-0001 | FH-MO-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Biesterfeld, Craig S. (Missouri)
FH-MO-0006-9000
Tolles, Michael J. (Missouri)
FH-MO-0006-9000

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