IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
2922 SHERMAN AVENUE TENANTS'
ASSOCIATION et al.,
Civil Action No. 1:00CV00862
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al.,
BRIEF OF THE UNITED STATES AS AMICUS CURIAE
IN OPPOSITION TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA'S MOTION TO DISMISS
The United States submits this brief as amicus curiae in support of Plaintiffs' Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. In this case, Plaintiffs allege, inter alia, that the District of Columbia ("the District") has engaged in selective and discriminatory enforcement of its housing code on the basis of national origin in violation of the Fair Housing Act. 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. ("the Act"). The District has moved to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P., or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. (1)
This brief addresses two arguments raised by the District: 1) that the Plaintiffs have failed to state a claim against the District under the Act; and 2) that the Plaintiffs, as tenants' associations formed for the sole purpose of bringing this lawsuit, lack standing to sue the District of Columbia pursuant to the Act. None of the arguments advanced by the District has merit. (2)
As we set forth in greater detail below, the overwhelming weight of judicial authority supports the Plaintiffs' claims against the District that its allegedly discriminatory and selective housing code enforcement practices have made housing unavailable under Section 3604(a) of the Act. 42 U.S.C. §3604(a). The Plaintiffs' claims against the District for discriminatory terms, conditions, privileges, or provision of services are equally sustainable against the District under Section 3604(b) of the Act. 42 U.S.C. §3604(b). The cases cited by the District do not support its arguments. Additionally, the District's arguments regarding the Plaintiffs' standing are similarly unsupported by legal precedent establishing standing for associations on their own behalf, as well as representational standing on behalf of their members. Accordingly, the District's Motion to Dismiss should be denied.
- FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS (3)
As set forth in Plaintiffs' Complaint, the Plaintiffs are four not-for-profit corporations organized under the laws of the District of Columbia, each of which consists of the majority of tenants living in their respective buildings. The tenants' associations were formed in response to the District's threatened closure and/or code enforcement against their respective buildings. Compl., ¶¶ 6-9.
The District of Columbia's projected 1997 Hispanic population, according to the United States Census Bureau, was 7% of the total population. Compl. ¶ 17. The Hispanic population is concentrated in the Columbia Heights, Adams-Morgan, Cardozo/Shaw, and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods. Compl. ¶17. In September, 1999, the Columbia Heights Metro Station opened near the intersection of 14th Street and Columbia Road. Compl. ¶18. On or about March 3, 2000, the District issued closure notices for five buildings within walking distance of the new Columbia Heights Metro station, including three of the Plaintiffs' buildings, 2922 Sherman Avenue, 1458 Columbia Road, and 1418 W Street. Compl. ¶19. Closure dates were postponed and extended, often with little notice. Id. English-language notices were sent to tenants at 1458 Columbia Road but Spanish-language notices omitted crucial information, including the date of closure, and contained inaccurate information. Compl. ¶¶ 29-30. At the time the buildings were placarded for closure, 93% of the tenant households were Hispanic at 2922 Sherman Avenue; 89% of the tenant households were Hispanic at 1458 Columbia Road; and 92% of the tenant households were Hispanic at 1418 W Street. Compl. ¶¶20-22. The relevant buildings noticed for closure are located in disproportionately Hispanic neighborhoods at 16%, 55%, and 17%, respectively. Compl. ¶23.
On March 14, 2000, the District issued a list of 32 properties (including the five previously noticed for closure) (the "Properties List") wherein 22 of those listed properties were located near the Columbia Heights Metro station and located in census tracts with 21% Hispanic population. Compl. ¶24. Included in the list, but not noticed for closure at the time of Complaint, was 1611 Park Road whose tenant households are 19% Hispanic and 34% Vietnamese. Compl. ¶ 25.
According to the Complaint, the District failed to take less drastic and less discriminatory measures to ensure the health and safety of the tenants before placarding for closure and closing residential buildings. For example, the District has not used its allocated funds to correct substandard conditions in the targeted buildings, and the District's Board of Condemnation has not invoked its authority to repair any of the targeted buildings and assess the costs as a tax against the buildings. Also, the District has not invoked its authority to levy fines as a tax against the property or to collect such a tax through the procedures established for the collection of general taxes. The District has not invoked its authority to order a rent reduction and the Mayor has not invoked his authority to assist buildings owners improve distressed property. Finally, the District has not exercised its discretion to close only the portions of targeted buildings that are determined to be imminently dangerous to the tenants. Compl. ¶¶39-36.
The Plaintiffs allege that the tenants residing in the affected buildings are unlikely to find alternative housing options in the Columbia Heights area given the increasing rents and low vacancy rates. Compl. ¶39. Many of the tenants currently have no alternative housing options. Compl. ¶39.
- STANDARD FOR MOTION TO DISMISS
In ruling on a motion to dismiss, courts must accept as true all material allegations of the complaint and construe the complaint in favor of the complaining party. Gladstone Realtors v. Village of Bellwood, 441 U.S. 91, 109 (1979); Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501 (1975); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 48 (1957); Atchinson v. District of Columbia, 73 F.3d 418, 422 (D.C. Cir. 1996); United States v. BCCI Holdings (Luxemberg), S.A., 3 F. Supp. 2d 31, 35 (D.D.C. 1998). The allegations of the complaint should be construed broadly and liberally in the plaintiffs' favor. Wright & Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure §1350, p. 551; see also Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969); Kowal v. MCI Communications Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994). It is well-established that a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it "appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief," especially when ruling on a motion to dismiss a civil rights action under Rule 12(b)(6). Hishon v. King & Spaulding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984); Conley, 355 U.S. at 46. See also Kennada v. United States, 880 F.2d 1439, 1442 (D. D.C. 1989). As the Court in Sisters of Prov. of St. Mary of Woods v. City of Evanston, 335 F. Supp. 396, 399 (N.D. Ill. 1971), another case alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act, stated:
It is especially in civil rights disputes that we ought to be wary of disposing of the case on pre-trial motions and courts do in fact have a predilection for allowing civil rights cases to proceed until a comprehensive record is available to either support or negate the facts alleged.
See also Leatherman v. Tarrant County Narcotics Intelligence & Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 168 (1993) (rejecting "heightened pleading standard" for civil rights cases).
- THE FAIR HOUSING ACT PROHIBITS DISCRIMINATION BY A MUNICIPALITY UNDER SECTIONS 3604(a) AND (b)
The District argues that Plaintiffs have failed to allege any improper actions by the District under the Act, because Sections 3604(a) and (b) do not apply to the District of Columbia in this matter. Def. Mtn. p. 4. The District's Motion to Dismiss almost exclusively relies on Clifton Terrace Assoc. v. United Technologies, 929 F.2d 714 (D.C. Cir. 1991) ("Clifton II") and Clifton Terrace Assoc. v. United Technologies, 728 F.Supp. 24, 28 (D.D.C. 1990) ("Clifton I") (hereafter collectively "Clifton cases"), a case that did not involve a municipality. Such a reliance is not only contrary to long-established precedent specifically interpreting municipal liability under the Act, but it is also a misapplication of the Clifton cases' findings to the facts currently before the court.
- Plaintiffs Have Stated a Claim that the District Has Made Housing Unavailable in Violation of Section 3604(a)
Section 3604(a) states that it shall be unlawful:
To refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin. 42 U.S.C. §3604(a) (emphasis provided).
First, the District has failed to identify, let alone address, the weight of authority holding that municipalities can be liable under 3604(a) for making housing unavailable. See e.g., LeBlanc-Sternberg et al. v. Village of Airmont et al., 67 F.3d 412 (2nd Cir. 1995); Jackson v. Okaloosa County, Florida, 21 F.3d 1531 (11th Cir. 1994); Huntington Branch NAACP v. Town of Huntington, 844 F.2d 926 (2nd Cir. 1988); Smith v. Town of Clarkton, 682 F.2d 1055 (4th Cir. 1982); Metropolitan Housing Development Corp. v. Village of Arlington Heights, 558 F.2d 1283 (7th Cir. 1977), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 1025 (1978); Resident Advisory Board v. Rizzo, 564 F.2d 126 (3rd Cir. 1977); Dews v. Town of Sunnyvale, Texas, 109 F.Supp.2d. 526 (N.D. Tx. 2000); United States v. Town of Cicero, 1997 WL 337379 (N.D. Ill. 1997); Hispanics United of DuPage v. Village of Addison, 958 F.Supp. 1320 (N.D. Ill. 1997); United States v. Yonkers Board of Educ., 624 F. Supp. 1276 (S.D.N.Y. 1985), aff'd, 837 F.2d 1181 (2d Cir. 1987); United States v. City of Birmingham, 538 F. Supp. 819 (E.D. Mich. 1982), aff'd, 727 F.2d 560 (6th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 821 (1984); United States v. City of Parma, 494 F. Supp. 1049 (N.D. Oh. 1980). Several courts have also found that municipalities can be liable under Section 3604(f)(1), the equivalent disability provision to Section 3604(a), of the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, for making housing unavailable. See e.g., Hovsons, Inc. v. Township of Brick, 89 F.3d 1096, (3rd Cir. 1996); Arc of New Jersey, Inc. et al. v. State of New Jersey, 950 F.Supp. 637 (D. N.J. 1996); Samaritan Inns, v. District of Columbia, 1995 WL 405710 (D.D.C. 1995); Association for Advancement of the Mentally Handicapped, Inc. et al. v. City of Elizabeth et al., 876 F.Supp. 614 (D. N.J. 1994); Oxford Housing, Inc. v. Town of Babylon, 819 F.Supp. 1179 (E.D.N.Y. 1993); McKinney Foundation Inc. v. Town Plan & Zoning Comm'n, 790 F.Supp. 1197 (D. Conn.1992); Horizon House Dev. Serv. v. Township of Upper Southampton, 804 F.Supp. 683 (E.D. Pa. 1992); United States v. Village of Marshall, 787 F.Supp. 872 (W.D. Wis. 1991); Baxter v. City of Belleville, 720 F. Supp. 720 (S.D. Ill. 1989). (4)
In Arlington Heights, the seminal case providing for municipality liability, the 7th Circuit held that the Village had an obligation under the Act to refrain from engaging in zoning policies with a discriminatory effect. 558 F.2d 1283 (7th Cir. 1977). Additionally, under Samaritan Inns, an action brought in this court against the same defendant, the district court held that the District's actions - issuing stop-work orders and rescinding building permits - under facially legitimate zoning enforcement responsibilities, were ultimately found, as a matter of law, to violate the Act under both intentional and impact analyses. Id. at 26. Here, the Plaintiffs' Complaint alleges that the District has an obligation under the Act to refrain from engaging in discriminatory enforcement of its housing code against Hispanic and Vietnamese tenants; and that the District's actions - targeting dwellings for closure and/or code violations - under facially legitimate housing code enforcement responsibilities violate the Act. Compl. ¶¶19-23.
First, in arguing against the weight of authority on this issue, the District attempts to rely upon the Clifton cases, which did not involve a municipal defendant. Instead of interpreting the plain meaning of the Act, the District strains to apply Clifton to the facts of this case. See e.g., Ernst & Ernst, v. Hochfelder, 425 U.S. 185 (1976) ("The starting point in every case involving construction of a statute is the language itself"). In Clifton II, the Court of Appeals for this Circuit held that an apartment complex owner's Complaint - that an elevator manufacturer refused to provide elevator service for the complex - failed to state a claim under Section (a) of the Act. The Court reasoned that "elevator service is a matter of habitability, not availability, and does not fall within the terms" of Section (a)'s prohibition of making housing unavailable. 929 F.2d at 719. This case is easily distinguishable from the Clifton cases. (5) Allegations of closure, threatened closure, barricaded housing structures, and selective and discriminatory housing code enforcement, Compl. ¶¶ 2,19, 24, 26-31, 39, plainly raise matters of making housing unavailable, not just uninhabitable. Plaintiffs further allege that these actions were taken by the District in areas of the city and buildings with high concentrations of, and disproportionate effects suffered by, Hispanics and Vietnamese. Compl. ¶¶ 2, 20-25. Accordingly, Plaintiffs have properly alleged that the District has made housing unavailable on the basis of national origin, in violation of §3604(a).
Second, if the District's position is that, despite the overwhelming number of cases in other courts that have held that Section 3604(a) is applicable to municipalities, the Clifton cases stand for the proposition that, in this Circuit, §3604(a) applies only to landlords, then such an interpretation is not supported. E.g., Wai v. Allstate Insurance Co., 75 F.Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 1999); Samaritan Inns, 1995 WL 405710 (D.D.C. 1995).
In Wai, the district court held that an insurance company's refusal to provide standard property insurance at ordinary rates to landlords with disabled tenants "makes unavailable or denies a dwelling" in violation of §3604(f)(1) of the Act. 75 F.Supp. 2d at 7. The defendants in Wai, like the District here, relied on Clifton II in support of its Motion to Dismiss. Id. The Wai court's holding specifically rejected the defendants' contention that denial of insurance does not make a dwelling unavailable pursuant to Clifton II. Id. at 6. The court went on to note that a lack of or higher priced property insurance is a powerful disincentive to rent to disabled persons, thereby making housing unavailable under §3604(f)(1). If the Wai court had interpreted Clifton II as the District urges in this case, the action against the insurance company under §3604(f)(1) would have been easily dismissed, as insurance companies are not landlords.
Similarly, the district court in Samaritan Inns, held that the District's issuance of a stop-work order and revocation of building permits for groups homes housing former drug and alcohol abusers was, as a matter of law, a violation of the Act. 1995 WL 405710 at *29. Like this case, the District in Samaritan Inns, was not "providing housing" in the sense that a landlord does, rather it was exercising its authority and responsibility "for the development and enforcement of this District's laws." Id. at 3. The discriminatory exercise of its authority was found to be violative of the Act. Id. at 29. There can be no question that the alleged actions of the District - exercising its sole authority to close or threaten to close buildings, and enforcing its housing code in a selective manner - directly make housing unavailable. Further, the courts have interpreted the term "otherwise make unavailable or deny" broadly to cover a wide variety of discriminatory practices affecting the availability of housing. See, e.g., Heights Community Congress v. Hilltop Realty, Inc., 774 F.2d 135, 140 (6th Cir. 1985) (real estate steering), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1019 (1986); Kennedy Park Homes Ass'n, Inc. v. City of Lackawanna, N.Y., 436 F.2d 108 (2d Cir. 1970) (refusal to permit sewer hookup), cert. denied, 401 U.S. 1010 (1971).
Third, in its Motion to Dismiss, the District erroneously asserts that "the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and this Court have made clear, §3604(a) is 'clearly confined to discrimination by providers of housing.' [Clifton II]." This is not an accurate portrayal of the Clifton cases. The quotation that the District attributes to the Court of Appeals as having made "clear" is merely the Court of Appeals' recitation of the lower court's conclusions, and not the Court of Appeals own holding. Clifton II at 719. Additionally, the Clifton cases do not support the District's argument. While the Court of Appeals did agree with the district court that the Act "does not cover claims of the type raised by Clifton," the Court of Appeals explained that the elevator company was not liable under §3604(a) because the elevator company's refusal to service the Clifton Terrace elevators did not "adversely affect the availability of housing." Id. at 719. Likewise, the district court stated, "Otis's alleged refusal to service the Clifton Terrace elevators did not affect the availability of housing in a manner implicating §3604(a) of the Fair Housing Act." Clifton I at 29. Thus, the defendant's act of refusing to service plaintiff's elevators did not make a dwelling unavailable. Id. at 719. The Court of Appeals went on to note that the duty to furnish housing services in a nondiscriminatory manner "resides primarily with their landlord." Id. (emphasis added). The Court of Appeals did not, however, state that Section 3604(a), therefore, applied only to landlords. Here, the District has a duty, irrespective of any duties the landlords may have, (6) to refrain from making housing unavailable on the basis of national origin. The Complaint alleges that the District's exercise of its exclusive housing code enforcement authority against Hispanic and Vietnamese tenants and in highly concentrated Hispanic and Vietnamese areas of the District adversely affected the availability of housing in violation of Section 3604(a). Construing all material allegations of the Plaintiffs' Complaint as true, the Plaintiffs have alleged a claim against the District under §3604(a) and the District's Motion to Dismiss must be denied.
- Plaintiffs Have Stated a Claim that the District's Actions Discriminate in the Terms, Conditions, or Privileges of Rental of a Dwelling, or in the Provision of Services in Violation of Section 3604(b)
Section 3604(b) states that it shall be unlawful:
To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin. 42 U.S.C. §3604(b).
The District's assertion that it is not a housing or municipal service provider, and therefore, not liable under Section 3604(b) of the Act is similarly problematic. Several cases have successfully alleged violations of the Act under Section 3604(b) against cities or municipalities. See e.g., United Farmworkers of Florida Housing Project v. City of Delray Beach, FL, 493 F.2d 799 (5th Cir. 1974) (allegation that failure to provide water and sewer system violated 3604(b) satisfied prima facie case under the Act); Campbell v. City of Berwyn, 815 F. Supp. 1138, 1143-1144 (N.D. Ill. 1993) (termination of police protection by city violates 3604(b) as discriminatory provision of services or facilities); cf. McKinney Foundation, 790 F.Supp. 1197 (D. Conn. 1992) (stating, generally, discriminatory terms and conditions for HIV-infected persons violate the Act); United States v. Schuylkill Township, 1990 WL 82089 (E.D. Pa. 1990) (allegation that town's zoning ordinance violates 3604(b), among others, survives motion to dismiss); Dunn v. Midwestern Indemnity Mid-America Fire and Casualty Co., 472 F.Supp. 1106, 1110 (S.D. Oh. 1979) (stating that provision of services or facilities in connection with the sale or rental of dwelling has been broadly construed); But see, Puglisi v. Underhill Park Taxpayer Assoc., 947 F.Supp. 673 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) (actions such as selectively enforcing ordinances, housing codes, and zoning regulations trigger §3604(a) and not §3604(b)).
For example, in Schuylkill, the plaintiff alleged, inter alia, that the town had violated the Act when, through enforcement of its zoning code, it denied a use permit to a group home for persons with disabilities. The court denied defendant's motion to dismiss and stated that the complaint contained the requisite factual specificity that the town's actions in amending and enforcing its zoning ordinance discriminates against persons with disabilities "as to the terms and conditions of rental." Id. at *3. Similarly, in Berwyn, plaintiffs alleged, inter alia, that the city's decision to terminate police protection was based upon their race and denied plaintiffs the services and facilities provided in connection with residency in the town, in violation of Section 3604(b). The court in Berwyn denied the defendants' motion to dismiss as to this claim because this "subsection applies to services generally provided by governmental units such as police and fire protection or garbage collection." Id. at 1143 quoting, Southend Neighborhood Imp. v. County of St. Clair, 743 F.2d 1207, 1210 (7th Cir.1984).
The actions taken by the District, as alleged by the Plaintiffs, qualify as sufficiently pled allegations of discriminatory terms, conditions, or privileges, or provision of services in violation of Section 3604(b), consistent with the plain language of the statute, the Clifton cases, and legal precedent. First, selective enforcement of the District's Housing Code creates more onerous terms, conditions, or privileges of renting a dwelling in the District for Hispanics and Vietnamese than similarly situated non-Hispanic and non-Vietnamese renters. For example, Plaintiffs' allegation that the District's targeted buildings are predominantly located in and around the newly constructed Columbia Heights Metro Station, Compl. ¶24, which has three times the Hispanic population than throughout the District, Compl. ¶¶17, 24, supports their argument that Hispanics' terms, conditions, or privileges of renting an apartment in the District are disproportionately compromised by the District's housing code enforcement actions.
The Plaintiffs allege that Hispanic and Vietnamese renters are subjected to actual or threatened homelessness; displacement with little to no advance notice; removal from neighborhoods with convenient transportation services, community centers, schools and daycares, and places of worship, Compl. ¶¶ 18 and 40. With nearly 70% of the properties on the District's Properties List located in the Columbia Heights' area, Compl. ¶24, and the fact that the Hispanic population is concentrated in the Columbia Heights and surrounding areas, Compl. ¶¶17 and 24, such actions and/or threatened actions disproportionately fall on Hispanics and Vietnamese in the Columbia Heights area and compromise their ability to maintain their housing free from discriminatory terms, conditions, or privileges.
Alternatively, the Plaintiffs have properly stated a claim against the District for discriminatory provision of services, in violation of Section 3604(b). The opinions of this court and the Court of Appeals for this Circuit in the Clifton cases are consistent with the United States' position. In Clifton II, the Court of Appeals for this Circuit noted that Section 804(b) applies to "those who otherwise control the provision of housing services and facilities." 929 F.2d at 720. The Court of Appeals went on to note that "the provision of such services primarily falls under the control of the provider of housing - the owner or manager of the property." Id. (emphasis added). The Court of Appeals did not, however, state that Section 3604(b) applied only to landlords. The District tries to make such a restriction appear in the Clifton case opinions for both 3604(a) and (b) of the Act. But no such restriction exists. The District has demonstrated its control over the provision of services, in this case, by exercising its exclusive housing code enforcement authority to shut down or threaten to shut down apartment buildings.
Additionally, courts, including the courts in the Clifton cases, have recognized that municipal service providers, such as the District, may be liable under 3604(b). Clifton I at 719; Southend Neighborhood, 743 F.2d 1207 (7th Cir. 1984); Mackey v. Nationwide Ins. Cos., 724 F.2d 419 (4th Cir. 1984). Despite the District's creative protestations to the contrary, the District is a municipal service provider under 3604(b). While the Court of Appeals for this Circuit questioned, without deciding, the applicability of Section 3604(b) to municipal services, such as the ones identified in Southend, 743 F.2d at 1209-10 (7th Cir. 1984) (police and fire protection or garbage collection), and Mackey, 724 F.2d at 424 (4th Cir. 1984) (garbage collection and other services of the kind usually provided by municipalities), Clifton II at 720, it did recognize that municipalities that provide the "sole source of a service essential to the habitability of a dwelling. . .could conceivably violate the (b) rights of the tenants." Id.
The District attempts to escape the designation of "municipal service provider" by stating that "[i]nstead, the District is attempting to ensure that individual property owners maintain their properties in compliance with the Housing Code." Deft. Mot. p. 5. Such a semantical exercise is without distinction. As the District concedes, it is "attempting to ensure compliance" with its housing code. (emphasis added). Such ensurance is an exclusive service the District government provides to its residents. Whether or not its "attempts" are successful has no bearing on the fact that the District is the sole and exclusive enforcer of its code. By enacting its housing code, it has established a threshold standard by which all of its dwellings must comply. (7) Indeed no other individual or entity has that sole power or control over such designation of housing. Concurrent with this exclusive service is the duty to provide and enforce the code in a nondiscriminatory manner. Because the District is the "sole source" of enforcement of its housing code, and Plaintiffs have alleged that the District enforces this exclusive service in a discriminatory manner, the Plaintiffs have properly asserted a claim against the District under Section 3604(b). Construing all material allegations of the Plaintiffs' Complaints as true, the Plaintiffs have alleged a claim against the District under §3604(b) and the District's Motion to Dismiss must be denied.
- Plaintiffs' Allegations Establish Claims for Either Intentional Discrimination or Discriminatory Impact
As this court observed in Samaritan Inns, a violation of the Act can be proven by showing either "discriminatory intent" or "disparate impact." 1995 WL 405710 at *26, citing Town of Huntington, 844 F.2d 926, 934-935 (2nd Cir. 1988); Support Ministries for Persons with AIDS, Inc. v. Village of Waterford, N.Y., 808 F.Supp. 120, 133 (N.D.N.Y. 1992); McKinney 1210-19; Oxford House v. City of Saint Louis, 843 F.Supp. 1556, 1575 (E.D. Mo. 1994).
Under the Fair Housing Act, one way to prove that an action was taken "because of national origin" is to establish that the defendant acted with a racially discriminatory purpose or intent. However, a plaintiff "need not show that the decision-maker was motivated solely, primarily, or even predominantly by concerns that were racial." Yonkers, 837 F.2d at 1216-1217 (2d Cir. 1987), cert. denied, 486 U.S. 1055 (1988); accord Village of Arlington Heights, 429 U.S. 252, 265 (1977); Town of Clarkton, 682 F.2d 1055, 1066 (4th Cir. 1982). Indeed, "[r]arely can it be said that a legislature or administrative body operating under a broad mandate made a decision motivated solely by a single concern, or even that a particular purpose was the 'dominant' or 'primary' one." Arlington Heights, 429 U.S. at 265. It is sufficient to show that national origin was "a motivating factor" in the decision. Arlington Heights, 429 U.S. at 266; Yonkers, 837 F.2d at 1217.
Determining whether an entity has acted with a discriminatory purpose "demands a sensitive inquiry into such circumstantial and direct evidence of intent as may be available." Arlington Heights, 429 U.S. at 266-268. Courts allow intentional discrimination to be "'inferred from the totality of the relevant facts, including the fact, if it is true, that the [governmental action] bears more heavily on one race than another.'" Yonkers, 837 F.2d at 1221 (quoting Washington v. Davis, 426 U.S. 229, 242 (1976)). Recognizing that public officials seldom make openly discriminatory statements, (8) the Supreme Court has identified a number of factors that may be examined for circumstantial evidence of intentional discrimination, including: (1) the effect of the action, (2) the historical background of the decision, (3) the specific sequence of events leading up to the decision, (4) departures from the normal procedural sequence, (5) departures from normal substantive criteria, and (6) the legislative and administrative history of the decision. Arlington Heights, 429 U.S. at 266-268; Yonkers, 837 F.2d at 1221; City of Birmingham, 727 F.2d 560, 565 (6th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 821 (1984).
Under the Arlington Heights factors, Plaintiffs' Complaint states a claim of intentional discrimination by the District:
- Effects: the District's actions disproportionately affect Hispanics, by closing or noticing for closing buildings in areas of the District with three times the concentration of Hispanics than located throughout the entire District, Compl. ¶¶17, 24.
- History: the District's actions against the Plaintiffs' buildings were taken subsequent to its agreements to commercially develop the area surrounding the Columbia Heights Metro Station area. Compl. ¶ 18.
- Sequence: the District's enforcement efforts in this area began five months after its commercial agreements, Compl. ¶¶18-19, and the District began criminal prosecutions of landlords for code violations three weeks after threatening tenants with wholesale eviction. Compl. ¶2 (emphasis in original).
- Procedural Departures: notices to tenants were not given and when they were given, they were deficient, Compl. ¶¶27-32, and the District initiated criminal prosecutions of landlords for housing code violations-the first such prosecutions since 1995. Compl. ¶¶2, 37. Moreover, previous criminal prosecutions of landlords in 1995 did not threaten tenants with closure of their building. Compl. ¶37. The District also failed to take less drastic and less discriminatory measures to ensure the health and safety of the tenants available to it before placarding buildings for closure. Compl. ¶35.
- Substantive Departures: the District's actions were against buildings that are currently operating under valid licenses and certificates of occupancy which were issued by the District. Compl. ¶ 26. In fact, less than a week before the District placarded 1418 W Street with a closure notice, it had issued the building a license. Compl. ¶26. The majority, if not entirety, of the buildings are fit for human habitation. Compl. ¶27.
- Legislative History: the District has refused to produce records of its decisions or reports for the majority of its buildings listed on its Properties List. Compl. ¶33.
At a minimum, Plaintiffs have stated a claim against the District for intentional discrimination under the Act.
Even if this court finds that Plaintiffs did not state a claim for intentional discrimination, Plaintiffs' complaint sufficiently alleges a claim for discriminatory impact under the Act. It is well established that the "because of national origin" prong under the Act can also be satisfied without establishing intentional discrimination. See, e.g. Okaloosa County, 21 F.3d 1531, 1543 (11th Cir. 1994) (quoting United States v. Mitchell, 580 F.2d 789, 791 (5th Cir. 1978)); accord United States v. Pelzer Realty, Inc., 484 F.2d 438, 443 (5th Cir. 1973); United Farmworkers, 493 F.2d 799, 808 (5th Cir. 1972). Indeed, every federal circuit that has examined the issue has agreed that the Fair Housing Act includes an effects test. See, e.g., Town of Huntington, 844 F.2d 926, 934-37 (2d Cir.), aff'd per curiam, 488 U.S. 15 (1988); Rizzo, 564 F.2d. 126, 149-50 (3rd Cir. 1977), cert. denied, 435 U.S. 908 (1978); Town of Clarkton, 682 F.2d 1055, 1065-66 (4th Cir. 1982); Arthur v. City of Toledo, 782 F.2d 565, 574-575 (6th Cir. 1986); Village of Arlington Heights, 558 F.2d 1283, 1287-1290 (7th Cir. 1977), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 1025 (1978); City of Black Jack, 508 F.2d 1179, 1184-1185 (8th Cir. 1974), cert. denied, 422 U.S. 1042 (1975); Keith v. Volpe, 858 F.2d 467, 482-484 (9th Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 813 (1989); Mountain Side Mobile Estates v. HUD, 56 F.3d 1243, 1250-1251 (10th Cir. 1995); see also Casa Marie, Inc. v. Superior Court of Puerto Rico, 988 F.2d 252, 269 n.20 (1st Cir. 1993) (dicta).
Furthermore, the legislative history of the Act supports this interpretation. See generally Rizzo, 564 F.2d at 147. As recognized in Rizzo, Congress rejected a proposed amendment to the Act which would have required proof of discriminatory intent. Id.
Indeed, this court specifically acknowledged the sufficiency of discriminatory impact claims against governmental bodies in Brown v. Artery Organization Inc., by stating that "[i]f the defendant is a governmental body, proof of discriminatory impact of its actions on the community for which it serves suffices to establish a prima facie case of violation of the Fair Housing Act." 654 F.Supp.1106, 1115 (D.D.C. 1987). The court went on to observe that, "it makes perfect sense to charge a governmental entity with violations of the statute if its actions - by way of regulations, ordinances, zoning decisions or the like - [have a discriminatory effect]." Id.
Plaintiffs may establish a prima facie case of disparate impact discrimination by showing that the defendant's actions have an adverse impact on a particular minority group. Town of Huntington, 844 F.2d at 937; Village of Arlington Heights, 558 F.2d at 1290; Rizzo, 564 F.2d at 149; See also, Trafficante v. Metropolitan Ins. Co., 409 U.S. 205, 211 (1972); Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman, 455 U.S. 363, 377 (1982); Village of Bellwood, 441 U.S. 91, 114 (1979).
Once adverse impact is established, the burden shifts to the defendant to prove that there is a "bona fide and legitimate justification" for the action and that there is "no less discriminatory alternative" which can serve those ends. Town of Huntington, 844 F.2d. at 939; Rizzo, 564 F.2d at 149. The Eighth Circuit has elaborated on the factors to be examined in determining whether an action that results in a discriminatory effect is nonetheless justified under the Fair Housing Act:
first, whether the [act] in fact furthers the governmental interest asserted; second, whether the public interest served by the ordinance is constitutionally permissible and is substantial enough to outweigh the private detriment caused by it; and third, whether less drastic means are available whereby the stated governmental interest may be attained.
City of Black Jack, 508 F.2d at 1186-1187. The justification must actually be reflected in the record; post hoc rationalizations cannot establish a bona fide and legitimate justification for a discriminatory effect. Town of Huntington, 844 F.2d. at 939, 940.
Plaintiffs' Complaint provides extensive census tract information regarding the racial or ethnic composition of the area affected by the District's actions. For example, while the total Hispanic population for the District is 7%; the buildings are located in areas ranging from 16-55% Hispanic; almost 70% of the properties listed on the District's Substandard Properties List are located in disproportionately Hispanic areas of the District; and the total population of the census tracts in which the identified buildings are located is 21% Hispanic. Compl. ¶¶17, 23-24. Thus, the areas for the Plaintiffs' buildings targeted and/or affected by the District's actions contain, on average, four times the proportion of Hispanics throughout the District. The Plaintiffs also include the racial or ethnic make-up of the allegedly targeted buildings: 2922 Sherman Avenue occupied by 93% Hispanic households; 1458 Columbia Road occupied by 89% Hispanic households; and 1418 W Street occupied by 92% Hispanics; 1611 Park Road occupied by 19% Hispanic and 34% Vietnamese households. Compl. ¶¶21-23, 25. Such a stark impact on the Hispanic and Vietnamese population has been sufficiently alleged. In addition, the Plaintiffs' Complaint provides extensive factual allegations regarding the number of less drastic and less discriminatory measures that the District had available to it but failed to take. Compl. ¶¶2, 33-36.
Not only did the District fail to take less discriminatory alternatives in regards to the Plaintiffs, its failure to provide information in Spanish or Vietnamese exacerbated the discriminatory effects on Hispanic and Vietnamese residents. See e.g., Village of Addison, 988 F.Supp. 1130, at 1155 (recognition that failure to provide Spanish-language notices to residents exacerbated discriminatory effect on Hispanics) (N.D. Ill. 1997). According to the Plaintiffs' Complaint, on the rare occasions when the District provided notice to the tenants, it provided such notices in English, Compl. ¶ 28-29, 32; limited notices in Spanish omitted crucial information or contained inaccurate or misleading information, Compl. ¶30-31; and tenants in the targeted buildings have not been notified, in any language, about relocation assistance or relocation plans. Compl. ¶38.
Based on the foregoing, the Plaintiffs' Complaint has sufficiently stated a claim against the District for intentional and impact discrimination in violation of Sections 3604(a) and (b) of the Act.
- Plaintiffs Have Stated a Claim that the District Has Made Housing Unavailable in Violation of Section 3604(a)
- PLAINTIFF TENANT ASSOCIATIONS HAVE STANDING UNDER THE FAIR HOUSING ACT
The District's argument that the remaining tenant associations' buildings are "not placarded for closing at the present time and that the [District] has no intention of placarding for closure in the future" and therefore, Plaintiffs do not have any cognizable claims for injury against the District, is insufficient to defeat the Plaintiffs' claims under the Act. As the court in Wai stated, "[n]othing in the FHA requires that before filing suit plaintiffs must . . . lose their homes" in order to have an actionable claim under the Act. Wai at 6. "The actual or threatened injury required by Art. III may exist solely by virtue of statutes creating legal rights, the invasion of which creates standing . . .." Havens at 373. The District's remaining argument regarding Plaintiffs' standing to bring claims under the Act is that they have not stated any allegations of a cognizable injury under Article III. Plaintiffs' injuries are cognizable in accordance with Village of Bellwood, 441 U.S. 91 (1979 ). Alternatively, Plaintiffs have representational standing to bring claims on behalf of their members.
- Tenant Associations Have Standing on their Own Behalf
Tenant associations have standing to bring a lawsuit under the Act on their own behalf. The Supreme Court has stated that, "[t]here is no question that an association may have standing in its own right to seek judicial relief from injury to itself and to vindicate whatever rights and immunities the association itself may enjoy." Warth at 511.
First, the Act contemplates enforcement suits by tenant associations such as Plaintiffs in this case. The statute authorizes a civil action by "[a]n aggrieved person," 42 U.S.C. 3613(a); defines an "aggrieved person" as "any person who . . . claims to have been injured by a discriminatory housing practice," 42 U.S.C. 3602(i)(1); and defines a "person" to include "associations" and "unincorporated organizations," 42 U.S.C. 3602(d).
Here, the Plaintiffs have alleged that the District's actions have caused, inter alia, deprivations of their rights to equal housing opportunities, of their rights to the provision of services and facilities, of housing, and of the right to live in an integrated community. Compl. ¶49. Noneconomic injuries have been found to be sufficient to provide standing. See, Village of Bellwood, at 112, citing, Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 734-735 (1972).
In Village of Bellwood, the Village municipality - a non individual - was held to have standing to bring a Fair Housing Act claim based on the fact that its injury was the loss of an integrated community. Id at 110. The Village alleged that the defendants' racial steering effectively manipulated the housing market in the Village. The Supreme Court "construed" such allegations as "affecting the village's racial composition, replacing what is presently an integrated neighborhood with a segregated one." Id. The Supreme Court went on to recognize that "there can be no question about the importance to a community of promoting stable, racially integrated housing." (Internal citations omitted). Id. at 111. Accordingly, the injury, which conferred standing to the Village was the loss of "racial balance and stability." Id. at 111.
There was no requirement that in order to suffer this injury, the Village had to have an articulated mission or purpose of promoting or desiring an integrated community. Similarly, in this case, Plaintiffs have alleged, in specific detail, that the District's alleged selective code enforcement against predominantly Hispanic and Vietnamese tenant buildings, which are also located in ethnically diverse census tracts in the District has caused injury by, inter alia, depriving them of the "right to live in an integrated community." Compl. ¶49. See also, Concerned Tenants Ass'n v. Indian Trails Apartments, 496 F.Supp. 522, 524-25 (N.D. Ill. 1980) (recognizing that a tenant association comprised only of tenants who suffered the injuries, itself necessarily suffers injury when its members are injured sufficient to confer standing under the Act). The Supreme Court's statement that an entity may suffer an injury to a stable and racially integrated community within a "relatively compact neighborhood," Village of Bellwood, 441 U.S. at 114, is not appreciably different from an entity's injury to a stable and racially integrated community within a single building. (9) For purposes of standing, the Plaintiffs have adequately alleged an injury - deprivation of an integrated community
While it is difficult to decipher the District's arguments, it also appears to argue that because the Plaintiffs' Complaint states that the tenant associations were formed "in response to the District's [threatened actions and code enforcement]", Compl. ¶¶6-9, Plaintiffs' mission or purpose, the District argues, is solely to address the District's actions against them. Therefore, according to the District, the Plaintiffs have not demonstrated any injury to such mission or purpose and, in fact, "owe their existence" to the District's actions, rather than suffering any injury to such purpose. Deft. Mot. 3. The District appears to confuse the injuries outlined in Havens, by a fair housing organization, with the injury articulated in Village of Bellwood, by a municipality.
In Havens, the Supreme Court was required to determine whether a fair housing organization had stated an injury that qualified as a "distinct and palpable injury." Havens at 372, quoting, Warth, 422 U.S. at 501, (1975). In that case, the fair housing organization alleged that its injury was frustration of its efforts to assist in providing equal access to housing through counseling and referral services and devotion of significant resources to identify and counteract defendants' practices. Havens at 378. Unlike the Village in Village of Bellwood and the Plaintiffs here, the fair housing organization in Havens did not allege, on its own behalf, a loss of a stable or integrated community as its injury. However, it did allege such an injury on behalf of its members, but the Supreme Court declined to address it. (10)
The Supreme Court in Havens did not state, as the District's argument appears to suggest, that the only injuries an organization or association could sustain for purposes of standing under the Act are injuries to a previously articulated mission or purpose. Rather, the Supreme Court in Havens considered whether the organization's stated claims of injury - frustration of purpose with consequent drain on resources - were sufficient to confer standing under the Act. Havens at 378. Accordingly, the Supreme Court supplemented, rather than replaced, the types of organizational injuries that could satisfy the standing requirements. Id. at 372 ("Our inquiry with respect to the standing issues raised in this case is guided by our decision in Village of Bellwood"). The Supreme Court in Havens did not alter its previous holding in Village of Bellwood wherein an injury to an entity's non-economic interest in an integrated community was sufficient to confer standing under Article III. Village of Bellwood at 110.
- Tenant Associations Have Standing to Assert Claims on Behalf of Their Members
The District's Motion to Dismiss fails to address the Plaintiffs' standing in their representative capacity. Even if the Plaintiff tenant associations are precluded from bringing an action against the District in their own right for injuries the associations suffered and will continue to suffer, the Supreme Court has held that an organization has standing to assert a claim on behalf of its members under Article III if it satisfies three requirements: 1) its members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right; 2) the interests it seeks to protect are germane to the organization's purpose; and 3) neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested requires the participation of individual members. Hunt v. Washington State Apple Advertising Comm'n, 432 U.S. 333, 343 (1977); and Warth, 422 U.S. 490 (1975).
In Hunt, a Washington state agency ("Commission") brought an action against the state of North Carolina on behalf of its member apple growers and dealers challenging the constitutionality of North Carolina's statute which prohibited the display of Washington State apple grades on closed containers shipped into the state. Id. In rejecting the defendant's arguments that the Commission was not a traditional voluntary membership organization with the requisite standing to assert the claims of its members, the Supreme Court stated, for all practical purposes, the Commission performs the functions of a traditional trade association and its purpose is the protection and promotion of the Washington apple industry. Hunt at 345 (stating that differentiating between the plaintiff commission and a traditional trade association representing the individual growers and dealers who collectively form its constituency exalts form over substance). Moreover, the Supreme Court recognized that the Commission "serves a specialized segment of the State's economic community which is the primary beneficiary of its activities, including the prosecution of this kind of litigation." Id.
First, there is no question that the individual members of the tenant associations would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right. The tenant associations are comprised exclusively of their current and former tenants, both of which suffer or have suffered from the District's closures, threats of closure, and selective code enforcement. (11) In addition to the deprivation of housing altogether, the individual tenants suffer from the deprivation of equal housing opportunities, equal provision of services and facilities, and an integrated community. Compl. 49. The aggregation of the individual tenants in each affected building into one organization for the purposes of asserting and defending their "collective rights and interests" is squarely within the principles recognized by the Supreme Court in conferring standing to bring an action in a representational capacity. Hunt at 345. Additionally, there are many possible practical purposes for asserting collective interests under a non-profit association, including, but not limited to, an individual tenant's fears of retaliation, limitations with his or her English proficiency, anxiety attendant to asserting individual claims in a complex and intimidating legal system, and time and financial constraints.
Second, the interests the organization seeks to protect - the rights enumerated in the Act - are germane to the organization's purpose. The tenant associations were formed in response to the District's allegedly discriminatory actions. Compl. ¶6. The District's actions target entire buildings, rather than particular units within the buildings or selective tenants. Thus, the very existence of the tenant associations is threatened by closure of their respective buildings, or threatened closures by causing tenants to leave the buildings to find alternative housing. The District's allegedly discriminatory actions may have served as the impetus to tenants to ultimately organize into a collective association. However, the filing of their Complaint was one of many of their activities. See Hunt at 344 (stating members are the primary beneficiaries of the associations' activities, including the prosecution of the litigation). The tenant associations represent the tenants and provide the means by which they express their "collective views and protect their collective interests". See Hunt, at 345.
Third, neither the claims asserted nor the relief requested by the Plaintiffs requires the participation of individual members. As stated above, the Plaintiffs allege that the District's actions targeted particular buildings. The tenants' primary interest is to enjoin the District from taking further action against such buildings. The Plaintiffs' Complaint seeks relief including declaratory relief, preliminary and permanent injunction, and monetary damages. Compl. ¶55. It can reasonably be supposed that any monetary payments to the tenant associations would "inure to the benefit of those members of the association actually injured." (12) Warth at 515. The fact that the Plaintiffs also seek monetary damages should not be a bar to their associational standing.
In deciding that a union had standing to sue for damages on behalf of its employee members, the Supreme Court in United Food and Comm'l Workers v. Brown Group, Inc., provided important guidance on this issue. 517 U.S. 544, 554-557 (1996). The Supreme Court in Brown Group found that the first two prongs of the associational standing inquiry are constitutional requirements under Article III, and that the third prong is a prudential consideration. Id.
The Supreme Court stated that "once an association has satisfied Hunt's first and second prongs assuring adversarial vigor in pursuing a claim for which member Article III standing exists, it is difficult to see a constitutional necessity for anything else." Brown Group at 556. Further, it stated that the third prong is "best seen as focusing on these matters of administrative convenience and efficiency, not on elements of a case or controversy within the meaning of the Constitution." Id. at 557. The Supreme Court recognized that Congress exercised its authority to abrogate prudentially imposed limitations to standing under the labor statute at issue in that case; therefore, plaintiff, labor union, had standing. Brown Group at 558. Similarly, the Supreme Court has recognized that Congress intended standing under the Fair Housing Act to extend to the full limits of Article III and that courts accordingly lack the authority to create prudential barriers to standing in suits brought under the Act. Village of Bellwood at 103, n. 9. Accordingly, because the Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged that they have standing under the first two prongs of the associational standing inquiry, and the third prong's prudential considerations should not be a bar to their standing, the Plaintiffs have representational standing to bring their claims on behalf of their members.
- Tenant Associations Have Standing on their Own Behalf
For the foregoing reasons, this Court should deny the District's Motion to Dismiss.
|Kenneth L. Wainstein
United States Attorney
District of Columbia
|William R. Yeomans
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
|Diane Houk, Special Litigation Counsel
Je Yon Jung, Trial Attorney
Ohio Bar No. #0067441
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington D.C. 20035-5998
1. Because there has been no discovery in this case and the District's Statement of Undisputed Material Facts in support of its alternative Motion for Summary Judgment is insufficient, as a matter of law, to support the District's Motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), the United States submits this amicus in Opposition to the District's Motion to Dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Should this court decide to consider the District's Motion for Summary Judgment, the United States respectfully requests an opportunity to file an amicus in Opposition to the District's Motion for Summary Judgment.
2. The United States does not express any view on the District's arguments regarding the District of Columbia Human Rights Act.
3. The United States has made no independent assessment of the facts alleged in Plaintiffs' Complaint but, for purposes of responding to Defendants' motion to dismiss, properly relies solely upon Plaintiffs' statement of their allegations in their original Complaint. The Plaintiffs have filed a Motion to File their First Amended Complaint and it is the United States' understanding that this court stayed its consideration of such Amended Complaint pending the District's Motion to Dismiss.
4. In response to the District's footnote four that the Plaintiffs failed to provide any authority for the proposition that a municipality can be held liable under the FHA for enforcing its Housing Code, these cases, along with the cases cited on pp. 10-11, provide several examples of FHA claims brought against municipalities for, inter alia, discriminatory enforcement or application of their zoning codes, building codes, and even a housing code, See, Town of Cicero.
5. The District's Motion to Dismiss refers to a debate between itself and the Plaintiffs regarding the possibility of a typographical error in Clifton II. While the United States agrees with the Plaintiffs that the opinions' language does appear to interchange the language of 3604(a) and (b), resolution of the debate is not critical to the court's denial of the District's Motion to Dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
6. Plaintiffs have also named the landlords of the four buildings as defendants. The District was the only defendant to file a Motion to Dismiss.
7. Any attempts by the District to focus this court's attention on the habitability of the housing should be summarily rejected. The allegations in Plaintiffs' complaint sufficiently allege that targeted properties are operating under valid licenses and certificates of occupancy, and are fit for human habitation. Compl. ¶26-27.
8. "Municipal officials acting in their official capacities seldom, if ever, announce on the record that they are pursuing a particular course of action because of their desire to discriminate against a racial minority." Town of Clarkton, 682 F.2d at 1064; City of Birmingham, 727 F.2d 560, 564 (6th Cir. 1984) (quoting same), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 821 (1984); see also City of Black Jack, 508 F.2d 1179, 1188 n.2 (8th Cir. 1974) ("'If proof of a civil right violation depends on an open statement by an official of an intent to discriminate, the Fourteenth Amendment offers little solace to those seeking its protection.'") (quoting Dailey v. City of Lawton, 425 F.2d 1037, 1039 (10th Cir. 1970), cert. denied, 422 U.S. 1042 (1975)).
9. Instead of looking to the Plaintiffs' Complaint, as it should in a Motion to Dismiss, the District points to the Plaintiffs' Reply Brief in Support of Their Application for a Temporary Restraining Order to argue that the Plaintiffs' description of injuries is limited to injuries suffered by individual tenants. Deft. Mot. p. 3. Notwithstanding Plaintiffs' alleged injuries in its Complaint to confer standing, as discussed above, the alleged injuries of its individual tenants (e.g. tenants leaving the building and searching for alternative housing), identified in the Plaintiffs' Reply Brief by the District, are injuries that are inextricable consequences to the Plaintiffs' deprivation of integrated housing.
10. The organization's complaint alleged, on behalf of its members, an injury to their benefits of an integrated community. Havens at 369. But because of a pending settlement addressing the organization's representational interests, it was not addressed. Id. at 379.
11. It is possible that some tenant members of the associations have moved and found alternative housing instead of waiting to see if the District would follow through with its threats of closure.
12. For example, in settlement of the 1418 W Street Tenants' Association's claims, the landlords agreed to pass title free and clear to the tenant association and pay the tenant association approximately $300,000 to begin the process of rehabilitating the building. Similarly, the tenant association at 1611 Park Road purchased the building at a foreclosure sale for $605,000, and the landlord entered a plea agreement that included a payment to the tenant association of $143,000 to help finance the purchase cost and to begin the redevelopment process. See, Plaintiffs' Notice of Filing First Amended Complaint p. 3.
Document Filed: June 12, 2001. > >