In September 2015, the Eleventh Circuit ruled that the City of Miami had sufficient standing to sue Bank of America and Wells Fargo over lending practices that were alleged to be racially discriminatory. On June 28, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in the case. The Supreme Court’s decision on this case could have a significant impact on who is entitled to bring fair lending claims against mortgage lenders and what standards of standing such claimants must meet.
As previously reported on this blog, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 2507 (2015) adopted a burden-shifting approach to assessing claims that housing policies cause disparate impact on minority populations in violation of the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) (42 U.S.C. § 3601). By adopting that approach, the Court confirmed the availability of this form of lawsuit against government entities that implement housing policies.
On October 2, 2015, the City of New York moved to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the City of unlawfully perpetuating racial segregation in the housing industry. The arguments made by the City offer an important insight into the City Law Department’s view on the Fair Housing Act and disparate impact claims.