Jump to Navigation

The Firm

Relman, Dane & Colfax is a civil rights law firm based in Washington, D.C., with additional offices in Ohio and New Mexico. We litigate civil rights cases in the areas of housing, lending, employment, public accommodations, education, and police accountability. Our national practice includes individual and class action lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs who have suffered discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, national origin, color, religion, sex, disability, age, familial status, source of income, and sexual orientation.

The firm also provides legal counsel to progressive companies that demonstrate a commitment to best practices in the way they conduct business. Such counsel includes representation of financial institutions in reporting to their regulators on fair lending and fair servicing issues.  We conduct investigations and provide counseling regarding consumer protection, privacy, lending, employment, whistleblower, and federal regulatory matters.  Our practice also includes analysis and strategy regarding public policy issues and proposed legislation affecting civil rights.

In the News

Relman, Dane & Colfax Files Amicus Brief Supporting Planned Parenthood Suit Against Trump Administration
Relman, Dane & Colfax recently filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on behalf of a coalition of 19 cities and counties supporting Planned Parenthood's challenge to a Trump Administration action that threatens to upend long-standing federal funding for contraceptive and reproductive health services. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)--without first giving notice or asking for comment--abruptly added new criteria for funding recipients, such as emphasizing abstinence counseling, working with faith-based organizations, and providing unrelated services at the same location. The cities' brief supports Planned Parenthood's argument that HHS's action violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). To read more and review the brief click here.

Federal Court Upholds Jury Verdict in Predatory Lending Case
Relman, Dane & Colfax has secured another victory on behalf of eight individual plaintiffs in its ongoing litigation against Emigrant Savings Bank. On August 30, 2018, Judge Sterling Johnson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York upheld a June 2016 jury verdict finding that Emigrant's predatory loans violated the Fair Housing Act and other civil rights laws. Concluding that a waiver provision signed by two of the plaintiffs was void, and that the jury's award was insufficient to make the plaintiffs whole, the Court ruled that they are entitled to a new trial on damages. To read more and review the Court's decision click here.

Relman, Dane & Colfax Sues Dallas Housing Authority for Denying Community-Based Housing to People with Disabilities
On August 6, 2018, Relman, Dane & Colfax filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, challenging the cancellation by the Housing Authority of the City of Dallas (DHA) of a Project-Based Voucher (PBV) rent subsidy program that would have permitted people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DDs) to live in integrated homes in the community. The lawsuit--filed on behalf of Community for Permanent Supported Housing, a non-profit group based in Plano, and five mothers of adults with I/DDs who were deprived of the benefits of the program--alleges that DHA's actions violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act, and state law. To read more and the Complaint click here.

Relman, Dane & Colfax Sues Missouri Senior Living Community for Refusing Housing to Same-Sex Couple
On July 25, 2018, Relman, Dane & Colfax filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri against Friendship Village Sunset Hills, a senior living community in St. Louis County, and its parent company, FV Services, Inc. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mary Walsh and Bev Nance, a married lesbian couple, who were denied housing at Friendship Village because they are a same-sex couple. The lawsuit alleges that Friendship Village violated the federal Fair Housing Act and Missouri Human Rights Act by discriminating against Walsh and Nance on the basis of sex. To read the complaint click here.

Relman, Dane & Colfax Sues Largest Private "Student Housing" Provider For Alleged Discrimination Against Families With Children
On July 24, 2018, Relman, Dane & Colfax filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky alleging that Asset Campus Housing, Inc., which claims to be the largest third-party student housing management company in the country, discriminates against families with children at a number of its properties in Michigan and Kentucky by enforcing a discriminatory one-person per bedroom occupancy policy. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Lexington Fair Housing Council, the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan, the National Fair Housing Alliance, and Maya Moss--a college student with a young child who rents housing from the Defendant in Louisville, Kentucky. To read more click here.

Federal District Court Judge Finds that FHA Requires Landlord to Accommodate Rental Dues Dates for Tenants with Disability Benefits
On June 29, 2018, Judge Barclay Surrick ruled in favor of Plaintiff Fair Housing Rights Center in Southeastern Pennsylvania ("FHRC") by finding that a landlord can violate the Fair Housing Act ("FHA") by maintaining a policy of refusing to consider the reasonable accommodation requests of disabled tenants or prospective tenants who seek to alter their rent due dates to correspond with the receipt of their disability benefits. To read more along with the Court's Opinion click here.

Amended Complaint and Renewed Motion for Preliminary Injunction Filed in Affirmatively Furthering Litigation Against HUD; New York State Seeks to Intervene; Amicus Briefs Filed in Support
On May 23, 2018--just two weeks after Relman, Dane & Colfax and its co-counsel sued the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on behalf of National Fair Housing Alliance, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service and Texas Appleseed for suspending the AFFH Rule--HUD published three Federal Register notices, seeking to undermine the Assessment of Fair Housing process by withdrawing the Assessment Tool that local governments are required to use in that process. To read more along with the Amended Complaint and all the accompanying documents click here.

Relman, Dane & Colfax Sues City of Chicago for Failure to Ensure Its Affordable Housing Program is Accessible to People With Disabilities
On May 13, 2018, Relman, Dane and Colfax filed a lawsuit alleging that the City of Chicago's affordable housing program is inaccessible to people with disabilities. The complaint--filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on behalf of Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago--alleges that since 1988 the City directed hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funding to private developers to create an Affordable Rental Housing Program (with more than 50,000 units) that does not comply with the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), and the Fair Housing Act. To read more and the Complaint click here.

Relman, Dane & Colfax Sues HUD Over Rollback of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule
Relman, Dane & Colfax filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on May 8, 2018, alleging that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) unlawfully suspended a federal requirement that local and state governments address segregated housing patterns as a condition of receiving HUD funding. The lawsuit--filed on behalf of the National Fair Housing Alliance, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service and Texas Appleseed--seeks immediate reinstatement of that requirement and of HUD's obligation to review the fair housing performance of its funding recipients. To read more along with the Complaint and Preliminary Injunction click here.

Relman, Dane & Colfax Sues Wisconsin for Discriminating Against Transgender Medicaid Enrollees
Relman, Dane & Colfax filed a federal lawsuit on April 30, 2018 against the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on behalf of two transgender Wisconsin residents who have been denied medically necessary care under a discriminatory state regulation that categorically bars coverage for transition-related treatments. Click here to read the Complaint and Press Coverage.

Relman, Dane & Colfax Sues Nation's Largest Private Prisoner Transportation Company for Prisoner Abuse
Relman, Dane & Colfax filed a Complaint today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia on behalf of Edward Kovari against Prisoner Transportation Services and two of its subsidiaries (PTS). Mr. Kovari alleges that PTS subjected him to extreme and inhumane conditions of confinement over 18 days while transporting him from Winchester, Virginia to Houston, Texas, in an overcrowded prison transport van. To read more and the Complaint click here.

Relman, Dane & Colfax Challenges HUD Over Failure to Ensure Civil Rights Compliance in Houston
On March 20, 2018, Relman, Dane and Colfax filed a complaint on behalf of the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service challenging the failure of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to require the City of Houston to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that HUD has known for years that Houston is one of the most segregated cities in the country (as well as the most segregated city in the state of Texas) and that the City has routinely capitulated to racially motivated opposition to the construction of affordable housing in high-opportunity areas. In spite of that knowledge, HUD has consistently awarded Houston over $ 30 million of funding each year. Click here to read the complaint and exhibits.