Stanton Square, LLC v. The City of New Orleans
On December 29, 2023, the United States filed a Statement of Interest in Stanton Square, LLC, v. The City of New Orleans (E.D. La.), a case brought under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), the U.S. Constitution, and state law. The complaint in this case alleges, in part, that Defendants violated the FHA and Title VI when they relied on the discriminatory objections raised by constituents to unlawfully block Plaintiff from developing a multifamily apartment complex that complied with all relevant zoning requirements. Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint. In its Statement of Interest, the United States argues that the Complaint sufficiently alleged facts to support the plaintiff’s claims, specifically that (1) Defendants’ moratorium on the proposed development is more likely to have a disparate impact on Black and Hispanic residents of New Orleans, (2) comments that do not directly reference a protected class may nevertheless be indicative of discriminatory animus, (3) Defendants can be held liable under the FHA for yielding to the discriminatory objectives and views of constituents opposing the development, and (4) in making housing unavailable, the moratorium harmed both Plaintiff and prospective residents of the apartment complex. The United States also argues that Plaintiff sufficiently alleged discrimination based on race, color, or national origin by a federally assisted program or activity in support of its Title VI claim.