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Case Name Georgia State Conference of the NAACP v. City of LaGrange PB-GA-0009
Docket / Court 3:17-cv-00067-TCB ( N.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Public Benefits / Government Services
Attorney Organization National Immigration Law Center
Southern Center for Human Rights
Case Summary
On May 18, 2017, the Georgia State Conference of the Georgia NAACP, the Troup County Chapter of the NAACP, Project South, and a small number of named and unnamed plaintiffs filed this lawsuit against the City of LaGrange, Georgia in the Northern District of Georgia. The plaintiffs sued the city on ... read more >
On May 18, 2017, the Georgia State Conference of the Georgia NAACP, the Troup County Chapter of the NAACP, Project South, and a small number of named and unnamed plaintiffs filed this lawsuit against the City of LaGrange, Georgia in the Northern District of Georgia. The plaintiffs sued the city on one federal claim – violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3604(b) – and two state claims: tortious interference with utility service and unconscionability. They sought injunctive relief, declaratory relief, compensatory damages, and attorneys’ costs.

The plaintiffs objected to two policies regarding the provision of municipal utilities in the City of LaGrange. The first policy required an individual to pay any outstanding court debt prior to receiving utility service from the City. The plaintiffs argued that this policy had a disproportionate impact on African-Americans, was the only policy of its kind nationwide, and was not justified by any legitimate purpose. The second policy required an individual to provide a valid social security number and government-issued photo identification in order to receive utilities. The plaintiffs argued that this policy had a disproportionate impact on Latinos and was not justified by any legitimate purpose.

On July 21, the City of LaGrange moved to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The City argued that disparate impact theory did not apply to cases brought under 42 U.S.C. §3604(b). It further argued that the Eleventh Circuit interpreted the Fair Housing Act as not applying to post-acquisition conduct; that is, it did not apply to conduct that occurred after a housing sale or rental transaction, and that the conduct at issue fell into that category. Finally, the City claimed their policies were reasonable, and not arbitrary, artificial, or unnecessary.

Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr. granted the City of LaGrange’s motion to dismiss on December 7, 2017, ruling that the defendants were correct in their interpretation of the Eleventh Circuit’s narrow reading of the FHA. Judge Batten found that the plaintiffs did not present cognizable claims under the Fair Housing Act because all but one plaintiff alleged violations that occurred post-acquisition of housing, and that the plaintiff’s injury was not sufficiently concrete to have standing. Having dismissed the federal claim, Judge Batten did not address the two state claims.

The plaintiffs appealed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on January 4, 2018. The appeal is pending.

Alexandra Gilewicz - 01/25/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Drivers Licenses
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
Housing
Poverty/homelessness
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
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 LaGrange
Plaintiff Description The Georgia State Conference of the National Association of Colored People (Georgia NAACP), the Troup County Chapter of the NAACP, Project South, and a small number of named and unnamed plaintiffs filed this lawsuit.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations National Immigration Law Center
Southern Center for Human Rights
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
3:17−cv−00067−TCB (N.D. Ga.)
PB-GA-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/18/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory & Injunctive Relief and For Damages [ECF# 1]
PB-GA-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/18/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 16]
PB-GA-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/21/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 27] (N.D. Ga.)
PB-GA-0009-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/07/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Notice of Appeal [ECF# 29]
PB-GA-0009-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/04/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Batten, Timothy C. Sr. (N.D. Ga.)
PB-GA-0009-0003 | PB-GA-0009-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Colfax, Reed N. (District of Columbia)
PB-GA-0009-0001 | PB-GA-0009-0004 | PB-GA-0009-9000
Cox, Justin Bryan (Georgia)
PB-GA-0009-0001 | PB-GA-0009-0004 | PB-GA-0009-9000
Crook, Jamie L. (District of Columbia)
PB-GA-0009-0001 | PB-GA-0009-0004 | PB-GA-0009-9000
Geraghty, Sarah E. (Georgia)
PB-GA-0009-0001 | PB-GA-0009-0004 | PB-GA-0009-9000
Hollie, Atteeyah Eshe (Georgia)
PB-GA-0009-0001 | PB-GA-0009-0004 | PB-GA-0009-9000
Joachin, Mayra B. (California)
PB-GA-0009-0001 | PB-GA-0009-0004 | PB-GA-0009-9000
Keaney, Melissa S. (California)
PB-GA-0009-0001 | PB-GA-0009-0004 | PB-GA-0009-9000
Milton, Alexa (District of Columbia)
PB-GA-0009-0001 | PB-GA-0009-0004 | PB-GA-0009-9000
Tumlin, Karen C. (California)
PB-GA-0009-0001 | PB-GA-0009-0004 | PB-GA-0009-9000
Wardenski, Joseph J (District of Columbia)
PB-GA-0009-0001 | PB-GA-0009-0004 | PB-GA-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Jones, Kenneth Drew (Georgia)
PB-GA-0009-9000
Todd, Jeffrey Marshall (Georgia)
PB-GA-0009-0002 | PB-GA-0009-9000

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