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Case Name Open Communities Alliance v. Carson FH-DC-0015
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-02192 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Attorney Organization Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Relman, Dane & Colfax
Case Summary
The background to this case is based on a policy known as the Small Area Fair Market Rent (“FMR”) rule was set to go into effect on January 1, 2018, after years of advocacy, research, and public debate. The rule required the public housing agencies (PHAs) that administered the Housing Choice ... read more >
The background to this case is based on a policy known as the Small Area Fair Market Rent (“FMR”) rule was set to go into effect on January 1, 2018, after years of advocacy, research, and public debate. The rule required the public housing agencies (PHAs) that administered the Housing Choice Voucher program (formerly Section 8) to set voucher values in 24 metropolitan areas based on the prevailing private market rents for each distinct zip code within those regions. The revised methodology recognized the existence of very different local rental markets within each metropolitan area and calibrated the vouchers more closely to the amount needed to live in various neighborhoods. It thus enabled voucher holders to access a wider range of housing, outside of voucher-concentrated, racially-segregated areas.

However, in August 2017, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) abruptly announced it would be delaying the rule’s implementation for two years, claiming that further study was needed. HUD stated the agency was waiting for a final review of the Small Area FMR report and a further review of public comments. Additionally, HUD determined that the Public Housing Authorities had not been given enough guidance and technical assistance to implement the use of Small Area FMRs.

On October 23, 2017, Open Communities Alliance and two individual plaintiffs, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against HUD and its Secretary, Ben Carson. The complaint challenged HUD’s decision to suspend a rule that would have assisted low-income families in securing affordable housing. The Plaintiffs claimed that the delay would only further racial and economic segregation, and argued that HUD’s failure to implement the Small Area FMR rule violated the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”), the statute that governs how federal agencies propose and implement regulations. The Plaintiffs sought to temporarily and permanently enjoin the suspension of the rule.

On December 23, 2017, Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell granted the Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction, requiring HUD to reinstate the Small Area Fair Market Rent regulation, allowing thousands of families across the nation access to different neighborhoods, furthering the goals of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. 2017 WL 6558502. The Defendants requested an extension to contemplate how to proceed with the litigation. The extension was granted, and the Defendants response is due February 15, 2018.

Mary Kate Sickel - 01/27/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Housing Authority
Jurisdiction-wide
Multi-family housing provider
Single family housing provider
Discrimination-area
Housing Sales/Rental
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Funding
Housing
Housing assistance
Poverty/homelessness
Public assistance grants
Racial segregation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) Secretary Ben Carson
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
Plaintiff Description Open Communities Alliance, a non-profit corporation and two individuals who are directly affected by the government's actions.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Relman, Dane & Colfax
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2017 - n/a
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)
1:17-cv-02192 (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0015-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/12/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
FH-DC-0015-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/23/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 29] (2017 WL 6558502) (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0015-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/23/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Howell, Beryl Alaine (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0015-0002 | FH-DC-0015-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allen, Michael Gerhart (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0015-0001 | FH-DC-0015-9000
Greenbaum, Jon M. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0015-9000
Ifill, Sherrilyn (New York)
FH-DC-0015-0001
Montag, Coty R (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0015-9000
Nelson, Janai S. (New York)
FH-DC-0015-0001
Pratt, Sara (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0015-0001
Quereshi, Ajmel (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0015-9000
Samberg-Champion, Sasha M. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0015-0001 | FH-DC-0015-9000
Spital, Samuel (New York)
FH-DC-0015-0001 | FH-DC-0015-9000
Zieve, Allison Marcy (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0015-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Walker, Johnny Hillary III (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0015-9000
Other Lawyers Zevin, Avi Benjamin (New York)
FH-DC-0015-9000

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