Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
SOUTHERN DIVISION


TERRI L. HAMAD, et al.,
     Plaintiffs,

v.

Case No. 00-72555
JUDGE CORBETT O'MEARA
MAGISTRATE JUDGE MARC L. GOLDMAN

WOODCREST CONDOMINIUMS
ASSOCIATION, et al.,
     Defendants.

___________________________________

BRIEF OF THE UNITED STATES AS AMICUS CURIAE
IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL
SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS'
CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES

The United States, through the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has responsibility for enforcing the Fair Housing Act (hereinafter, "the Act" or "the FHA"). See 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610-3612, 3614. Moreover, in view of the limited resources available to the United States for enforcement, private actions such as the present one play an important role in enforcing the Act. See Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 409 U.S. 205, 211 (1972). Therefore, the United States has a substantial interest in the proper interpretation of the Act and in ensuring that private parties who have been injured by discriminatory practices are able to bring suit.

This brief addresses three legal issues: (1) whether plaintiffs who were denied the opportunity to live in second or third floor units of a condominium development because they were a young couple who intended to have children, and who allege that the discriminatory restriction on children interfered with their ability to sell their first floor unit, have standing to sue under the Fair Housing Act; (2) whether a third floor resident of a condominium complex, who is in the process of securing legal custody of her minor nephew, has standing to challenge a published rule that prohibits children from living on the second and third floors of the complex; and 3) whether a rule that prohibits children from living on the second and third floors of a housing complex discriminates on the basis of familial status in violation of the Act.

BACKGROUND
  1. Facts
    1. The Hamads

      In July 1997 plaintiffs Terri and Akram Hammad, a young married couple, inquired about purchasing a condominium unit at Woodcrest Condominiums ("Woodcrest"), a three story forty-four unit condominium development located in Monroe, Michigan. The Hamads looked at three units at the property, one first floor unit and two third floor units. August 7, 2000 Deposition of Terri Hamad (T. Hamad Dep.) at 74-76, attached to Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Support of Partial Judgment on the Pleadings, et al. (Pl. Mem.) as "Tab F." The Hamads preferred one of the third floor units, which had newer appliances and was generally in better condition than the unit on the first floor. The first floor unit was partially underground, received less natural light, was damp and in need of paint. T. Hamad Dep. ("Tab F") at 80-82; Transcript of Motions Hearing before the Honorable John Corbett O'Meara, Judge, Nov. 21, 2000, Case No. 00-72555 at 25 (Tr. Motions Hg.).

      Even though the Hamads preferred a third floor unit, they allege that they purchased the less desirable first floor unit as a result of defendants' practices and policies. Barbara Diedrich, Woodcrest's property manager, told the Hamads that if they "were even thinking about having children," they should buy a first floor unit because of the Condominium Association's rule "forbidding children in second and third floor units." Aug. 7, 2000 Deposition of Akram Hamad (A. Hamad Dep.) at 71, 27, attached to Pl. Mem. as "Tab G"; see also, T. Hamad Dep. ("Tab F") at 81-82. Because they thought they would have to move from a second or third floor unit if they had a child, they took the first floor unit. A. Hamad Dep. ("Tab G") at 71; (T. Hamad Dep.) ("Tab F") at 81-82.

      The "rule" to which Ms. Diedrich referred is a provision in the Condominium Association's bylaws that restricts children to first floor units. Aug. 3, 2000 Deposition of Woodcrest Designated Representative, Barbara Dietrich (Woodcrest Dep.), at 8-10, attached to Pl. Mem. as "Tab C." Woodcrest, in accordance with the rule, refuses to allow families with children to purchase second and third floor dwellings. Id. See also, Defendants' Counterclaim at ¶ 3; and Woodcrest Dep. ("Tab C") at 9-10. The bylaws also provide that owners who become parents while living in a second or third floor unit must vacate the unit within a year after having or adopting a child. Woodcrest Dep. ("Tab C")at 51; Fourth Amendment to Master Deed of Woodcrest Condominium, dated March 9, 1989, attached to Pl. Mem. as "Tab D." Defendants do not dispute that the rule prohibiting children from residing in second and third floor units has been consistently enforced. In fact, they admit telling every prospective resident about the rule. Woodcrest Dep. at 47-51, 72-74, 79-80 ("Tab C").

      Ms. Hamad gave birth to a son after the Hamads moved to Woodcrest. Amended Complaint at 5, ¶ 14. Defendants admit that because of the policy restricting children to the first floor, the Hamads were not able to relocate to a second or third floor unit. Answer to Amended Complaint at ¶ 14. Defendants also admitted that when the complaint and answer were filed, the Hamads were "the only residents [of the complex] who had a child." Id. The Hamads put their property up for sale and moved out in July of 2000. Amended Complaint at 5, ¶ 15. However, the unit has not yet sold. Id. at ¶¶ 15-17.

    2. Kayla (Kidwell) Joyella

      Plaintiff Kayla Joyella is a unit owner who has lived in a third floor dwelling at Woodcrest for more than a year. Pl. Mem. at 3. She is in the process of securing legal custody of her nephew, Brandon, who is expected to be released from a State juvenile facility within the next several months. The social worker assigned to the matter has recommended that Brandon be released to Ms. Joyella. Moreover, Ms. Joyella's brother, Brandon's father, has relinquished the "guardianship" of his son to Joyella. Pl. Mem. at 8, citing Aug. 21, 2000 Affidavit of Kayla Kidwell Joyella (Joyella Aff.) and Aug. 3, 2000 letter from her brother, attached thereto ("Tab H"); see also, Tr. Motions Hg. at 10.

      In March of 2000, Ms. Joyella asked Woodcrest property manager, Barbara Diedrich, if her nephew could live with her in her third floor condominium. Diedrich, citing the rule prohibiting minors from occupying second and third floor units, replied that he could not. Amended Complaint at 6, ¶¶ 19-20. On May 22, 2000, several members of Woodcrest's Board of Directors signed a document officially denying Ms. Joyella's request to have her nephew live with her on the ground that children were prohibited from living in second and third floors units because the "noise" they were expected to create would disturb co-owners. May 22, 2000 Statement of Woodcrest Condominium Board Members, attached to Joyella Aff. ("Tab H"); Amended Complaint at 6, ¶ 21. If Ms. Joyella's suit is unsuccessful, she plans to move out of Woodcrest to a home that will accommodate her and Brandon.

  2. Procedural History

    Plaintiffs filed a civil action against defendants on June 6, 2000, asserting claims for relief under the Fair Housing Act and several state law causes of action. Plaintiffs seek, inter alia, compensatory and punitive damages, a declaratory judgment that defendants's policies and practices violate the Fair Housing Act, and injunctive relief that bars application of the defendants' rule prohibiting families with children from living on the second and third floors. In addition to claiming that the restriction on families with children violates the Fair Housing Act, plaintiffs allege that defendants have retaliated against them for bringing this lawsuit, in violation of Section 818 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3617.

    After some discovery, the parties filed cross motions for summary judgment and this Court held a hearing on these motions on November 22, 2000. This Court stated that it was inclined to dismiss the Hamad's claim that the defendants' rule violated the Fair Housing Act for "[lack of] standing." With respect to Ms. Joyella's claims, this court delayed issuing a ruling and asked plaintiffs to report on the status of Ms. Kidwell's attempts to obtain custody of her nephew within 45 days of the hearing.

ARGUMENT
  1. The Hamads Have Standing Because They Claim That Defendants' Restriction on Where Children May Reside Has Injured Them

    Defendants argue (Defendant's Memorandum at 15) that the Hamads lack standing because they own a first floor unit which is not restricted to families with children, and therefore, can be sold to any willing buyer. This argument misconceives both the nature of plaintiffs' claims and the breadth of a plaintiff's standing to sue under the Fair Housing Act. First, the Hamads' are not claiming merely that have been injured because they have had difficulty selling their unit. Rather they claim they were injured in the past when the defendants steered them toward a less desirable first floor unit because they were a young couple who intended to have children. Second, the Hamads claim that the restriction on families with children adversely affects the market value of their unit because prospective buyers, especially families with children, are less willing to purchase a unit in a building that does not permit children in two thirds of the units and has other policies that discourage children. Both alleged injuries are sufficient to confer standing. (1)

    1. The Hamads Have Standing To Seek Damages Based On Having Been Steered To A Less Desirable First Floor Unit

      As defendants concede (Defendants' Memorandum at 14), a plaintiff need not be a member of a "protected class" to have standing to sue under the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act defines an "aggrieved person" to include any persons who "claim[] to have been injured by a discriminatory housing practice." See 42 U.S.C. 3602(i)(1). As the Supreme Court has noted, this provision demonstrates that "Congress intended standing under [the Fair Housing Act] to extend to the full limits of Art. III" and that the courts accordingly lack the authority to create prudential barriers to standing in suits brought under the Fair Housing Act. (2) See Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman, 455 U.S. 363, 372 (1982) ("the sole requirement for standing . . . under [the statute] is the Art. III minima of injury in fact."); Gladstone, Realtors v. Village of Bellwood, 441 U.S. 91, 103, n. 9 (1979). It is, therefore, immaterial that the Hamads did not have children at the time that they first sought housing at Woodcrest. The protections of the Fair Housing Act extend to any person who is injured by a discriminatory housing practice, even if their personal rights to fair housing are not implicated. See, e.g., Gladstone, Realtors, 441 U.S. at 103 n. 9 (1979); Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 409 U.S. 205, 208-209 (1972); Gorski v. Troy, 929 F. 2d 1183, 1189 (7th Cir. 1991)(plaintiff suing under the FHA need not be a member of the class that was the object of discrimination to satisfy injury-in-fact requirement); Smith v. City of Cleveland Heights, 760 F.2d 720, 721 (6th Cir. 1985) (" black resident of the integrated Cleveland Heights community who was not himself steered from the City, had standing to pursue [an FHA] action" because he sustained injury as a result of the steering of others). To satisfy Article III, the plaintiff must simply show "that he personally . . . suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of the putatively illegal conduct of the defendant." Gladstone, Realtors v. Village of Bellwood, supra, 441 U.S. at 99.

      Judged under this standard, the Hamads have proffered sufficient evidence to establish that they were injured by the defendants restriction on families with children and that they therefore have standing to seek damages for defendant's conduct. As noted previously, Ms. Diedrich told the Hamads that they should buy a first floor unit, rather than a third floor unit, if they were "even thinking" of having children. Although the Hamads thought the third floor units they inspected were more desirable, they decided to purchase a first floor unit because they did not want to have to move if they later had children. These facts are sufficient to establish that the defendants' restrictions on families with children adversely restricted the housing choices of the Hamads.

    2. The Hamads Also Have Standing To Enjoin The Continued Enforcement Of The Restriction On Families With Children Based On Evidence That the Restriction Affects the Marketability Of Their Unit

      In addition to claiming that the restriction on families with children injured them in the past, the Hamads also claim they are currently being injured because the restriction has made it more difficult to sell their unit and has reduced its market value. Complaint at 5, ¶¶ 15-17; Pl. Reply at 11-12, citing deposition transcripts and recording contained in Tab 16 attached thereto. See also, Aff. of Leo Boykin attached to Def. Mem. as Exhibit H (Monroe real estate agent testified to belief that children were not allowed at Woodcrest). This and additional evidence emerging as a result of ongoing discovery is sufficient to support standing to seek damages and injunctive and declaratory relief to eliminate the discriminatory restriction. (3) See, e.g., Heights Community Congress v. Hilltop, supra, 774 F.2d 135, 138 (6th Cir. 1985)(city has standing to challenge conduct that contributes to, or threatens to contribute to, a diminution in property values).

  2. Plaintiff Joyella Has Standing Because She Has Sustained a Cognizable Injury And Is Threatened With Future Harm

    Ms. Joyella has alleged that she suffered injury, including emotional distress and violation of her civil rights, as a result of defendants' oral (March 2000) and written (May 22, 2000) denials of her request to have her minor nephew live with her in her third floor apartment. Amended complaint at 7-8. She has also alleged that her request for custody has been jeopardized because she is unable to assure the Wayne County probate court that she has a home for Brandon. Tr. Motions Hg. at 5. Ms. Joyella has, therefore, been given the Hobson's choice of risking custody of Brandon or losing her home in the event she is awarded custody. These injuries, and the continuing threat of future injury, are sufficient to confer standing on Ms. Joyella to maintain suit under the Act.

    1. Ms. Joyella Has Been And Continues To Be Discriminated Against on the Basis of Familial Status

      Section 804 of the Fair Housing Act ("the FHA" or "the Act") (42 U.S.C. § 3604) prohibits discrimination in housing based on familial status. The Act defines "familial status" to include as "one or more individuals (who have not attained the age of 18 years) being domiciled with a parent," 42 U.S.C. § 3602(k), or other person having legal custody of such individual or individuals, or, "the designee of such parent or other person . . . with the written permission of such parent or other person." 42 U.S.C. § 3602(k)(1)-(2)(emphasis added). Moreover, the Act's protections against discrimination based on familial status extend not only to persons who have obtained legal custody of children, but also to "any person who is . . . in the process of securing legal custody of any individual who has not attained the age of 18 years." 42 U.S.C. § 3602(k)(2)(emphasis added).

      The evidence in this case shows that Ms. Joyella has asked the state agency which currently has custody of Brandon to release him to her care, that Brandon's father has consented to this arrangement and has relinquished guardianship to Ms. Joyella in writing, that the state has inspected Ms. Joyella's condominium to ensure it is suitable for Brandon, and that the state intends to recommend that Ms. Joyella be given custody. See Pl. Mem. at 8; and Tr. Motions Hg. at 10. Ms. Joyella is thus "in the process of securing legal custody", see 42 U.S.C. 3602(k)(2), of Brandon and comes within the definition of the class protected by the Act.

      Because Ms. Joyella has been subjected to "discrimination" within the statutory definition set forth in 42 U.S.C. 3602(k)(2) she has necessarily suffered injury sufficient to confer standing. An "injury" sufficient to establish standing occurs whenever the defendant invades a legally cognizable interest. See Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992). The "injury required by Art[icle] III may exist solely by virtue of statutes creating legal rights, the invasion of which creates standing." Id. at 578; accord Public Citizen v. United States Dep't of Justice, 491 U.S. 440, 449 (1989) (plaintiffs who are denied information sought under the Freedom of Information Act have standing to challenge denial; they are not required to show any harm other than the denial of information itself); Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman, 455 U.S. 363, 373-374 (1982) (testers who alleged that they were given false information had standing by virtue of Fair Housing Act provision making it unlawful to misrepresent the availability of housing based on race). The legal interest at issue in this case is that of persons who are designees of a parent or other legal custodian or who are in the process of securing legal custody of children to be free from adverse housing decisions based on their attempts to bring a child into their home. Because the defendants' refusal to permit Ms. Joyella to have her nephew reside with her invaded that interest, she has standing.

      Because Ms. Joyella is complaining of a past and continuing injury that violates the Act, defendants' ripeness argument (Defendant's Memorandum at 18) lacks merit. Defendants argue that Ms. Joyella' claim is not justiciable because she has not yet obtained custody of her nephew and, therefore, "can only state that someday she may suffer some discrimination." Ibid.

      As noted above, however, Ms. Joyella is not complaining solely of the threat of future discrimination. Rather she has shown past and ongoing discrimination against her because she is in the "process of securing legal custody" of her nephew.

      The Seventh Circuit's decision in Gorski v. Troy, 929 F.2d 1183, 1189-90 (7th Cir. 1991), in which the United States also participated as amicus curiae, is virtually indistinguishable from the situation in this case. In Gorski, the plaintiffs resided on the second floor of an apartment complex where children were not permitted above the first floor. When the plaintiffs sought approval from the State to become foster parents, they asked their landlord for permission to have a child live with them on the second floor and the landlord refused. The district court dismissed the Gorskis' suit on the same reasoning urged by defendants here: that the plaintiffs' claims would not be ripe until they actually obtained custody of a foster child. The Seventh Circuit reversed, holding that the Gorskis sustained injury because of their attempt to qualify as foster parents. Gorski, 929 F.2d at 1189. For similar reasons, Ms. Joyella also has standing and her claim is fully justiciable.

    2. Ms. Joyella Has Established A Sufficient Threat Of Future Injury to Maintain Standing

      Even if Ms. Joyella did not come within the Act's specific definition of discrimination based on familial status, she would still have standing because of the injury threatened by defendants' conduct. As the Seventh Circuit observed in Gorski, plaintiffs' ability to sue "does not rest exclusively on their having attained familial status. While the FHA uses the definition of 'familial status' to define what constitutes prohibited housing discrimination, it does not limit standing to persons within the class defined by that term." Id. at 1188. The 1988 amendments to the Fair Housing Act amended the definition of "aggrieved person" to include any person who: "(1) claims to have been injured by a discriminatory housing practice; or (2) believes that [he or she] will be injured by a discriminatory housing practice that is about to occur." 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i). This definition is consistent with decisions of the Supreme Court regarding the elements necessary to establish standing under the Act. See, e.g., Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., supra, 409 U.S. 205 (1972); Gladstone, Realtors v. Village of Bellwood, supra, 441 U.S. 91 (1975); Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman, supra, 455 U.S. 363, 379 (1982).

      Here, Ms. Joyella has established that she will continue to be injured by discriminatory conduct on the part of the defendants through their continued refusal to allow Brandon to live with her. This threat is sufficiently immediate that Ms. Joyella has already investigated alternative housing arrangements for her and Brandon to avoid the possibility that the State may deny her custody because Woodcrest will not allow her to reside in her unit with her minor nephew. For the purposes of establishing standing, "[t]he injury that must be alleged may be either a past or a future injury." Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless v. City of Cincinnati, 56 F.3d 710, 715 (6th Cir 1995)(citation omitted).

      Ms. Joyella is seeking, inter alia, a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief in this matter. "The potential for injury need only be 'sufficient[ly] immedia[te] and real," not "absolutely" immediate and real, to warrant issuance of a declaratory judgment. Kelley v. E.I. DuPont De Nemours and Co., 17 F.3d 836, 845 (6th Cir. 1994) (citations omitted). "A declaratory judgment [and injunctive relief] generally [are] sought before a completed injury-in-fact has occurred." Peoples Rights Organization, Inc. v. City of Columbus, 152 F.3d 522, 527 (6th Cir. 1998)(citations omitted). "[A]n individual does not have to await the consummation of threatened injury to obtain preventive relief[;]" rather, she need only "demonstrate a significant possibility of future harm to justify pre-enforcement relief." Id. Ms. Joyella is challenging a rule that has been uniformly applied by the defendants in the past and will almost certainly continue to be enforced in the future. Accordingly, she is entitled to preventive relief as well as damages for past harm.

  3. Defendants' Refusal To Permit Families With Children To Reside On the Second and Third Floors Violates The Act

    Because the plaintiffs have standing, it will be necessary to reach the merits of the plaintiffs' claims. Section 804(a) of the Act makes it unlawful "to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of . . . familial status . . . ." 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a) (emphasis added). Section 804(b) makes it unlawful "to discriminate against any person in the terms [or] conditions of sale or rental of a dwelling" because of familial status. 42 U.S.C. 3604(b)(emphasis added). Section 804(c) makes it unlawful "to make, print or publish, or cause to be made printed or published any notice, statement or advertisement with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates [a] preference, limitation, or discrimination based on . . . familial status." 42 U.S.C. 3604(c) (emphasis added).

    Thus, the plain language of the statute refutes defendants' argument (Defendants' Memorandum at 22) that their policy is lawful because some -- but not all -- units are available to families with children. A discriminatory restriction on any "dwelling" violates the Act, even if some dwellings are made available on a non-discriminatory basis. Defendants' policy clearly makes two-thirds of the dwellings at Woodcrest unavailable to families with children.

    Hence, adopting and enforcing a written rule that prohibits families with children from living on the second and third floors of a condominium violates sections 804(a), (b) and (c) of the Fair Housing Act. See Fair Housing Congress v. Weber, 993 F. Supp. 1286, 1293 (C.D. Cal. 1997) (holding that similar rule violates Act). Indeed, the regulations issued pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 3615 by the Department of Housing and Urban Development specify that it is unlawful to "assign any person to a particular floor of a building, because of . . . familial status". See 24 C.F.R. 100.70(c)(4).

    Interpreting the Fair Housing Act to permit restrictions such as those adopted by the defendants would contravene the structure and purpose of the statute. The Fair Housing Act uses the same language to prohibit discrimination against families with children that it uses to prohibit discrimination based on race and other protected classes. See 42 U.S.C. 3604. Just as relegating racial minorities to a particular floor or section of a building violates the Fair Housing Act, limiting families with children to first floor apartments is no less unlawful. See Robert G. Schwemm, Housing Discrimination: Law and Litigation at 11-105 (1999)("[h]ousing providers cannot segregate families with children in certain areas of a housing complex any more than racial minorities could be restricted in this way."). Congress intended to provide the same protections to families with children as those afforded other classes of individuals covered by the Act. See, "Implementation of the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988," 54 Fed. Reg. 3232, 3236 (Jan. 23, 1989)("the legislative history of the Fair Housing Act and the development of fair housing law after the protections of that law . . . support the position that . . . families with children must be provided the same protections as other classes of persons.").

    Furthermore, permitting landlords to evade the prohibition on discrimination against families with children by setting aside certain portions of their building for adults only would defeat Congress's intent to open the vast majority of the nation's housing units to families with children. See, e.g., 134 Cong. Rec. S10547 (daily ed. Aug. 2, 1988)(remarks of Sen. Hatch)("housing that is reserved for adults only severely compounds the problem" of serious shortages of housing for families with children). In fact, the House Judiciary Committee Report concluded that a prohibition on familial status discrimination was necessary in part because many landlords, while not excluding children altogether, nevertheless imposed restrictions on the units children could occupy. See H. R. Rep. No. 100-711 at 19-21 (1988). The report also noted that state laws were not adequate, in part because a number of them "allow families to be segregated within a complex." Id. at 19. Thus Congress condemned the very types of restrictions that defendants claims are acceptable.

    Finally, defendants contend (Def. Mem. at 20, 23-24) that their restriction is justified by the need to keep the complex quiet for residents. Such concerns do not justify excluding children from all or any portion of a building. See, e.g., 54 Fed. Reg. 3232 (Jan. 25, 1989); United States v. Grishman, 818 F. Supp. 21, 23 (D. Me. 1993); United States v. Tropic Seas, Inc., 887 F. Supp. 1347, 1361 (D. Hawaii 1995). Plainly no court would permit landlords to limit the units occupied by women, or racial or ethnic minorities based on such stereotypes about their behavior or paternalistic concerns about health or safety. See, e.g., International Union v. Johnson Controls, Inc., 499 U.S. 187 (1991). There is no basis for adopting a different rule here.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, the defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment should be denied and the plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment should be granted.

Respectfully submitted,


SAUL A. GREEN
United States Attorney
BILL LANN LEE
Assistant Attorney General

By: PAMELA J. THOMPSON (P26056)
Assistant U.S. Attorney
211 W. Fort Street, Suite 2001
Detroit, Michigan
(313) 226-9770

JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief
TIMOTHY J. MORAN
Deputy Chief
NANCY F. LANGWORTHY
U.S. Department of Justice
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, DC 20035-5998
(202) 616-8925

1. The Hamads also claim that Barbara Diedrich prevented their son from playing outside and they and Ms. Joyella allege that their rights to associate with families with children were impaired by defendants' restrictive policies. Amended Complaint at 5; Pl. Mem. at 8. If there is sufficient evidence in the record to support these claims, plaintiffs have standing to maintain them, as well. See, e.g., Smith v. City of Cleveland Heights, supra, 760 F.2d 720 (6th Cir. 1985).

2. As the Court explained in Gladstone, Realtors v. Village of Bellwood, 441 U.S. 91, 99 (1979), generally, the question of standing "involves both constitutional limitations on federal-court jurisdiction and prudential limitations on its exercise." The prudential limitations require that a plaintiff assert only injuries "peculiar to himself or to a distinct group of which he is a part" and "assert [only] his own legal interests, rather than those of third parties." Id. at 100 (footnote omitted). However, Congress may legislatively "expand standing to the full extent permitted by Art. III, thus permitting litigation by one 'who otherwise would be barred by prudential standing rules.'" Id. (quoting Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501 (1975). The Bellwood Court held that because Congress intended standing under the FHA "to extend to the full limits of Art. III, the normal prudential rules [did] not apply[.] [A]s long as the plaintiff suffers actual injury as a result of the defendant's conduct, he is permitted to prove that the rights of another were infringed." Id. at 103, n. 9.

3. Discovery in this case is continuing, and recent deposition testimony indicates that families and individuals are reluctant to move into the complex because of defendants' discriminatory policies toward children. See, e.g., Deposition of Alan L. Haynes, December 29, 2000 at 22, 26. Rule 56(c) contemplates "adequate time for discovery," Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in the non-movant's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Thus, there is evidence in the record sufficient to support a reasonable inference that defendants' discriminatory policies are making it more difficult for the Hamads to sell their unit.


Document Filed: January 5, 2001. > >

Updated August 6, 2015

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