Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: June 17, 2013
  • Case #: 11-1507
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 658 F.3d 375 (3d Cir. 2011)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3604, includes disparate impact claims.

Petitioner created a redevelopment plan for a neighborhood that was primarily composed of low income housing. The redevelopment plan in effect eliminated all low-income housing options in favor of more expensive homes. Respondent filed suit against Petitioner in District Court claiming that the Petitioner violated the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), 42 U.S.C. §3604 by discriminating against minorities with the redevelopment of the neighborhood. Respondent used statistical data to show that the redevelopment plan disparately impacted minorities.

The District Court granted a summary judgment in favor of the Petitioner, stating that the Respondent had not established their prima facie case of discrimination under the FHA. Respondent appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit which held that the District Court erred by granting a summary judgment and that Respondent had established a prima facie case. The Court went on to hold that there was no established test to measure disparate impact claims but in general there was no requirement that a discriminatory intent needed to be proved. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed the summary judgment and remanded for further proceedings.

Petitioner appealed this ruling to the Supreme Court of the United States. Petitioners argue that the disparate impact claims should not a cognizable in the FHA because the plain language of the FHA does not include disparate claims nor does it require them to further the purpose of the FHA. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide whether the FHA, 42 U.S.C. §3604, includes disparate impact claims.

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