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Case Name National Fair Housing Alliance v. Carson FH-DC-0018
Docket / Court 1:18-cv-01076-BAH ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Appleseed
Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Relman, Dane & Colfax
Case Summary
On May 8, 2018, National Fair Housing Alliance, Texas Low Income Housing Information Services, and Texas Appleseed filed this lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs were represented by the ... read more >
On May 8, 2018, National Fair Housing Alliance, Texas Low Income Housing Information Services, and Texas Appleseed filed this lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs were represented by the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Fair Housing Alliance, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, Public Citizen Litigation Group, and private counsel. They sought injunctive and declaratory relief as well as attorneys’ fees and costs under the Administrative Procedure Act and the Declaratory Judgment Act. They claimed that a suspension of Fair Housing Act rules violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). This case was assigned to Judge Beryl Howell.

In 2009, amid widespread expert agreement that its current system for ensuring local government Fair Housing Act (FHA) compliance had failed, HUD began planning a substantial overhaul, promulgating Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule ("AFFH Rule") in 2015. The rule required cities and counties receiving federal housing assistance to submit to HUD an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) every three to five years using a standardized template called the Assessment Tool. In the AFH, each participating local government was required to document any identified fair housing issues and outline its plans for addressing them; these plans were then reviewed by HUD for adequacy. The AFFH rule also committed HUD to providing participating cities and counties with guidance and technical support.

Yet on January 5, 2018, without providing advance notice or opportunity for comment, HUD published a notice in the Federal Register immediately suspending the AFH requirement of the AFFH rule. Specifically, it released local governments from submitting new assessments before October 31, 2020, and announced that it would not review any submitted AFHs before that date. The official reason given by the agency was that "program participants needed more time to adjust to the new AFFH process" and "additional technical assistance may result in program participants better understanding their obligations under the AFFH rule." According to the plaintiffs, however, HUD had yet to take any public action to provide "additional technical assistance."

In the complaint filed on May 8, the plaintiffs asserted that these actions violated the Administrative Procedure Act and breached the agency's obligations under the Fair Housing Act. Yet on May 23, 2018, HUD published three related notices in the Federal Register. The first of these notices withdrew the January 5 suspension of the rule. But the second and third notices, respectively, withdrew the Assessment Tool and announced that participating jurisdictions could meet their AFFH duty if they simply "acted in accordance" with HUD's pre-AFFH system.

In response, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on May 29, 2018 alleging that the combined effect of these latter two notices was the same as the agency's initial suspension in January. They also sought preliminary injunction and summary judgment, seeking the reinstatement of the Assessment Tool and the resumption of the normal AFH submission schedule. On June 5, 2018, several states and cities filed amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs, with the State of New York also moving to intervene as a plaintiff.

HUD filed its opposition brief on June 12, 2018, and later moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction on July 9, arguing in both that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the lawsuit.

On August 17, 2018, the court denied the plaintiffs' motions for a preliminary injunction and summary judgment, and denied the State of New York's motion to intervene. It granted the defendant's motion to dismiss, holding that the plaintiffs lacked standing. However, the plaintiffs filed a motion to alter judgment on September 14, 2018 and also sought to amend their complaint to further illustrate factual disputes they allege are grounds for reopening the case.

Judge Howell denied the plaintiffs' motion to alter judgment and amend the complaint on August 26, 2019. Holding that a motion to alter judgment is an "extraordinary remedy" and the plaintiffs seeking reconsideration must meet a very high bar, Judge Howell found that the plaintiffs failed to meet such bar. The court found that although the plaintiffs’ claim that the final judgment was based on erroneous factual allegations, the "judgment was not premised on factual conclusions but rather on a legal assessment of the existing regulatory regime after HUD’s contested actions." 397 F.Supp.3d 1.

Sean Whetstone - 07/17/2018
Alexander Walling - 08/15/2018
Rachel Czwartacky - 04/01/2019
Bogyung Lim - 05/26/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Housing Authority
Discrimination-area
Housing Sales/Rental
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Funding
Housing
Poverty/homelessness
Public assistance grants
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Race, unspecified
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Plaintiff Description 1. NFHA is a nationwide alliance of private, nonprofit, fair housing organizations, including organizations in 28 states. 2. Texas Housers/Texas Low Income Housing information Services is a non-profit corporation with offices in Austin. 3. Texas Appleseed is a non-profit organization headquartered in Austin, Texas.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Appleseed
Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Relman, Dane & Colfax
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
Source of Relief None
Filed 05/08/2018
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  National Fair Housing Alliance v. Carson - Defending Regulation Requiring Jurisdictions to Take Affirmative Steps to Promote Fair Housing
ACLU District of Columbia
Date: August 2019
By: ACLU District of Columbia
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Background on NFHA, et. al. v. Carson
National Fair Housing Alliance
Date: August 2018
By: National Fair Housing Alliance
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  National Fair Housing Alliance et al v. Carson (2018)
Poverty and Race Research Action Council
Date: August 2018
By: Poverty and Race Research Action Council
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  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)
1:18−cv−01076−BAH (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0018-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/26/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
FH-DC-0018-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/08/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and for Expedited Summary Judgment [ECF# 2]
FH-DC-0018-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/08/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 18]
FH-DC-0018-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/29/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and for Expedited Summary Judgment [ECF# 19]
FH-DC-0018-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/29/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of the States as Amici Curiae in Support of Plaintiffs' Renewed Motion for Preliminary Injunction and for Summary Judgment [ECF# 27]
FH-DC-0018-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/05/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 47] (2018 WL 3962930) (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0018-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/17/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 55] (397 F.Supp.3d 1) (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0018-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/26/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Howell, Beryl Alaine (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0006 | FH-DC-0018-0007 | FH-DC-0018-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allen, Michael Gerhart (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0001 | FH-DC-0018-0002 | FH-DC-0018-0004 | FH-DC-0018-0005 | FH-DC-0018-9000
Goodman, Rachel E.. (New York) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0001 | FH-DC-0018-0002 | FH-DC-0018-0004 | FH-DC-0018-0005
Greenbaum, Jon M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0001 | FH-DC-0018-0002 | FH-DC-0018-0004 | FH-DC-0018-0005 | FH-DC-0018-9000
Haberle, Megan (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Ifill, Sherrilyn (New York) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0001 | FH-DC-0018-0002 | FH-DC-0018-0004 | FH-DC-0018-0005
Park, Sandra S. (New York) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0001 | FH-DC-0018-0002 | FH-DC-0018-0004 | FH-DC-0018-0005
Pratt, Sara (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Quereshi, Ajmel (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Rich, Joseph D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Samberg-Champion, Sasha M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Silverstein, Thomas S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Sloan, Melissa Madison (Texas) show/hide docs
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Spital, Samuel (New York) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0004 | FH-DC-0018-0005
Spitzer, Arthur (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0001 | FH-DC-0018-0002 | FH-DC-0018-0004 | FH-DC-0018-0005 | FH-DC-0018-9000
Tegeler, Philip D. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
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Williams, Morgan Whitney (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0001 | FH-DC-0018-0002 | FH-DC-0018-0004 | FH-DC-0018-0005 | FH-DC-0018-9000
Zieve, Allison Marcy (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Halainen, Daniel (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-9000
Other Lawyers Becerra, Xavier (California) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0003
Brown, Stanley Joseph (New York) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-9000
Cochran, Shaylyn Capri (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-9000
Colangelo, Matthew B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Emch, Dale R. (Ohio) show/hide docs
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Ferguson, Robert W. (Washington) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0003
Frosh, Brian E. (Maryland) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0003
Gittens, Adrienne (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-9000
Grimm, John Robert (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0003 | FH-DC-0018-9000
Healey, Maura T. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0003
Herring, Mark R. (Virginia) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0003
Holmes, Peter S. (Washington) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0003
Lebeouf, Sunni (Louisiana) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0003
Morgan, Anne L. (Texas) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0003
Parker, Barbara J (California) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0003
Racine, Karl A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0003
Reeve, Tracy (Oregon) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0003
Taplin, Cherrell Simms (Louisiana) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-0003
Toson, Lilia (New York) show/hide docs
FH-DC-0018-9000

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