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Case Name NAACP, Boston Chapter v. HUD PH-MA-0001
Docket / Court 1:78-cv-00850-DPW ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Public Housing
Case Summary
On April 17, 1978, two citizens of Massachusetts filed lawsuits under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1977 against the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs, represented by the National ... read more >
On April 17, 1978, two citizens of Massachusetts filed lawsuits under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1977 against the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs, represented by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by racially discriminatory disbursement of federal housing funds in the cities of Boston and Chelsea.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Judge Walter J. Skinner) dismissed for lack of standing the portion of each complaint relating to Urban Development Action Grant funding and entered partial judgment for the defendants under Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). The plaintiffs appealed.

On October 18, 1979, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (Judge Levin H. Campbell) partially affirmed and partially reversed the district court's dismissal for lack of standing, holding that black residents of minority neighborhoods who were elected members of the state legislature did not have standing, but that black persons living in substandard housing in a segregated area of the city during the years in question did have standing to sue for declaratory and injunctive relief. N.A.A.C.P., Boston Chapter v. Harris, 607 F.2d 514 (1st Cir. 1979).

On January 23, 1981, the district court (Judge Skinner) denied the plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction. N.A.A.C.P., Boston Chapter v. Harris, No.78-850, 1981 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10552 (D.Mass. 1981). On April 27, 1983, the district court held that 1) individual plaintiffs lacked standing to maintain the action; 2) that the organization representing the city's black citizens had standing in its own right to maintain the action; 3) that the evidence did not warrant a finding that HUD financed city programs that were either intentionally discriminatory or had discriminatory impact; but 4) that HUD did not satisfy minimum levels of compliance with the provisions of 42 U.S.C. §3608, which provided for full implementation of the fair housing policy. N.A.A.C.P. v. Harris, 567 F.Supp. 637 (D.Mass. 1983).

After claiming to have brought its actions into compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1968, HUD asked the district court to dismiss the case. On December 31, 1985, the district court (Judge Skinner) granted the motion to dismiss, holding that he had no jurisdiction to review HUD's administration of the Fair Housing Act. N.A.A.C.P., Boston Chapter v. Pierce, 624 F.Supp. 1083 (D.Mass. 1985). The plaintiffs appealed. On March 19, 1987, the First Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of the case and reversed, holding that the federal courts did have jurisdiction. N.A.A.C.P. v. Secretary of Housing & Urban Dev., 817 F.2d 149 (1st Cir. 1987).

On July 4, 1987, the district court (Judge Skinner) stayed the action and ordered the parties to participate in mediation. On December 14, 1988, the parties reported that their attempts to reach a resolution through mediation had failed. On June 23, 1989, the district court granted declaratory and injunctive relief to the plaintiffs, holding that the defendants had failed to comply with the minimal requirements of 42 U.S.C. §3608(e)(5) by failing to 1) promulgate regulations and guidelines setting forth standards for HUD's administration and recipients' use of funds, 2) secure a minority needs assessment in a timely manner, 3) finance the increase of desegregated housing stock to give minority families meaningful choice of location, and 4) require effective fair housing enforcement by the City of Boston. N.A.A.C.P., Boston Chapter v. Kemp, 721 F.Supp. 361 (D.Mass. 1989). The court supplemented this decision with a final decree providing for fair housing funding, monitoring, and reporting to the court. N.A.A.C.P., Boston Chapter v. Kemp, 721 F.Supp. 361 (D.Mass. 1989). The defendants asked the court to clarify its obligations under the decree, and on September 14, 1989, the district court amended the final decree to clarify HUD's obligations. N.A.A.C.P., Boston Chapter v. Kemp, 721 F.Supp. 361 (D.Mass. 1989).

The docket was closed from 1991 to 1995, but then reopened, and the decree was modified by agreement in 1997. On September 30, 1999, the court again "closed" the case--but apparently, again, for docket management purposes only; status reports and other events continue to be noted in the docket. On May 23, 2005, NAACP asked the court to enforce the consent decree; on November 9, 2005, the district court (Judge Douglas P. Woodlock) re-opened discovery on the issue (requires courier). On January 19, 2006, the court denied NAACP's motion without prejudice pending further factual development. On November 15, 2006, NAACP filed its a supplemental complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief from HUD for breach of its obligations pursuant to the modified consent decree, and from HUD, BHA, and the City for breach of their obligations pursuant to the Modification Agreement.

On March 17, 2009, the court 1) denied HUD's motion for judgment on the pleadings or, in the alternative, suggestion to the court that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction, 2) denied the City's motion for judgment on the pleadings but granted its motion for summary judgment, 3) denied NAACP's motion for summary judgment as to all of its claims against all of the defendants, 4) granted BHA's motion for summary judgment as to NAACP's supplemental complaint, but denied BHA's Motion for summary judgment as to its counterclaim against NAACP, and 5) granted summary judgment sua sponte to HUD as to NAACP's supplemental complaint, and to NAACP as to BHA's counterclaim.

Elizabeth Daligga - 07/17/2012

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Defendant(s) Department of Housing and Urban Development
Plaintiff Description NAACP challenging disbursement of federal housing funds to cities
Class action status sought Unknown
Class action status granted Unknown
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1989 - n/a
Filing Year 1978
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Urban Institute Baseline Assessment of Public Housing Desegregation Cases
Date: 2000
By: George Galster et al. (Urban Institute, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Faculty)
Citation: (2000)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Designing Effective Remedies for Discrimination in Federally-Assisted Housing Programs: A Case Study of NAACP, Boston Chapter v. HUD
Date: May 24, 1999
By: Jon Hooks (Harvard Law Student)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Access to Affordable Housing: The Effect of Court Ordered Programs on Increasing Minority Access to Subsidized Housing Developments Located in Predominantly White Neighborhoods in Boston
Date: 1996
By: Trent D. Rhorer (Harvard Student)
Citation: (1996) (unpublished thesis, Harvard University)
[ Detail ]

1:78-cv-00850-DPW (D. Mass.)
PH-MA-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/18/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion (607 F.2d 514)
PH-MA-0001-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/18/1979
Source: Google Scholar
Order (1980 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 14810) (D. Mass.)
PH-MA-0001-0011.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/05/1980
Source: LexisNexis
Opinion (1981 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 10552) (D. Mass.)
PH-MA-0001-0012.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/23/1981
Source: LexisNexis
Opinion (567 F.Supp. 637) (D. Mass.)
PH-MA-0001-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/27/1983
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (624 F.Supp. 1083) (D. Mass.)
PH-MA-0001-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/31/1985
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (817 F.2d 149)
PH-MA-0001-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/19/1987
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (721 F.Supp. 361) (D. Mass.)
PH-MA-0001-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/23/1989
Source: Google Scholar
PH-MA-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/23/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
PH-MA-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/15/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER [ECF# 158] (2009 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 24346) (D. Mass.)
PH-MA-0001-0002.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/17/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment [ECF# 159] (D. Mass.)
PH-MA-0001-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/19/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Breyer, Stephen Gerald (First Circuit, SCOTUS)
Campbell, Levin Hicks (D. Mass., First Circuit)
Skinner, Walter Jay (D. Mass.)
PH-MA-0001-0005 | PH-MA-0001-0006 | PH-MA-0001-0007 | PH-MA-0001-0011 | PH-MA-0001-0012
Woodlock, Douglas Preston (D. Mass.)
PH-MA-0001-0002 | PH-MA-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allen, Richard (Massachusetts)
Atkins, Thomas I. (Massachusetts)
PH-MA-0001-0004 | PH-MA-0001-0011 | PH-MA-0001-0012
Barshak, Edward J. (Massachusetts)
PH-MA-0001-0004 | PH-MA-0001-0005 | PH-MA-0001-0006 | PH-MA-0001-0010 | PH-MA-0001-0011 | PH-MA-0001-0012
Bernstein, Judith S. (Illinois)
Bickford, Daniel B. (Massachusetts)
Brodin, Mark S. (Massachusetts)
PH-MA-0001-0004 | PH-MA-0001-0011
Hankins, Grover G. (Missouri)
Knowles, Andrea Studley (Massachusetts)
Kruskal, Karen (Massachusetts)
Lisman, Natasha C. (Massachusetts)
PH-MA-0001-0001 | PH-MA-0001-0003 | PH-MA-0001-0004 | PH-MA-0001-0010 | PH-MA-0001-9000
McHugh, Katherine S. (Massachusetts)
PH-MA-0001-0004 | PH-MA-0001-0011 | PH-MA-0001-0012
McLindon, James B. (Massachusetts)
Mervis, Roger (Massachusetts)
Poswistilo, Susan M (Massachusetts)
Rom, Alan Jay (Massachusetts)
PH-MA-0001-0004 | PH-MA-0001-0011 | PH-MA-0001-0012
Rossman, Stuart T. (Massachusetts)
Smizik, Frank (Pennsylvania)
Studley, Andrea L. (Massachusetts)
Sussman, Michael Howard (New York)
Susz, Rachel S. (Massachusetts)
Defendant's Lawyers Ciccone, Anthony J. Jr. (District of Columbia)
PH-MA-0001-0006 | PH-MA-0001-0010
Commodore, Wilbur E. (Massachusetts)
Connolly, Patricia M. (Massachusetts)
Cook, Kathryn Rebecca (Massachusetts)
Depew, Anne G. (Massachusetts)
Glasgow, Karen A. (Massachusetts)
Glovsky, Richard D. (Massachusetts)
PH-MA-0001-0004 | PH-MA-0001-0011 | PH-MA-0001-0012
Harrington, Edward Francis (Massachusetts)
Jad, Melissa (Massachusetts)
Kaye, Stephen (Massachusetts)
Machan, Kathy (Massachusetts)
Maichle, Helene C (Massachusetts)
Ouellette, Evan C. (Massachusetts)
Ratner, Gershon M. (District of Columbia)
Sady, Michael P. (Massachusetts)
Schmeltzer, Howard M. (District of Columbia)
Serventi, Nancy A. (Massachusetts)
Steinmeyer, Anthony J. (District of Columbia)
Walcott-Torres, Gina Y. (Massachusetts)
Weise, Susan M (Massachusetts)
Welch, Richard III (Massachusetts)
Weld, William F. (Massachusetts)
Willard, Richard K. (District of Columbia)
Other Lawyers Carroll, Harold J (Massachusetts)
PH-MA-0001-0011 | PH-MA-0001-0012
Fordham, Laurence S. (Massachusetts)

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