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Michael Allen
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(202) 728-1888


J.D., University of Virginia

B.S., Georgetown University

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia


Mr. Allen practices primarily in the area of civil rights litigation.  He represents individuals and organizations in cases and matters under the Fair Housing Act and related civil rights laws. A significant part of his practice is focused on the obligation to "affirmatively further fair housing," and he has brought successful cases under the False Claims Act and by way of HUD administrative complaints to enforce that obligation. He also leads the firm's disability rights practice. He has also written and lectured widely and appeared in electronic and print media articulating the firm's work in these areas.  

Prior to joining Relman, Dane & Colfax, Mr. Allen was Senior Staff Attorney at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law from 1995 to 2006, where he focused on civil rights policy development and litigation involving people with psychiatric disabilities.  Mr. Allen previously was an attorney with Legal Services of Northern Virginia from 1985 to 1995, with a focus on representing low-income clients in housing litigation and policy advocacy.

Professional Activities

Mr. Allen is a founding Member and Chair, Board of Directors with Pathways to Housing in Washington, D.C. from 2003 to present. Also, a Member, Board of Diectors with Yachad, the Jewish Housing and Community Development Corporation from 2003 to present. He is the author of many articles in the field, including:

Selected Published Cases

Mr. Allen's better-known cases include:

  • National Fair Housing Alliance v. S.C. Bodner Co., 844 F. Supp.2d 940 (S.D. Ind. 2012) (subsequent purchasers of covered multifamily dwellings may be liable for continuing to rent inaccessible units);
  • State of Connecticut Office for Protection and Advocacy v. State of Connecticut, 706 F. Supp.2d 266 (D. Conn.2010) (Protection & Advocacy agency has standing to pursue claim under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act; class certified);
  • McNamara v. Ohio Bldg. Authority, 697 F. Supp.2d 820 (N.D. Ohio, March 19, 2010) (Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act can impose non-discrimination obligations on private entities);
  • Overlook Mutual Homes, Inc. v. Spencer, 666 F. Supp.2d 850 (S.D. Ohio 2009) (emotional support animal can qualify as reasonable accommodation under Fair Housing Act without specialized training);
  • National Fair Housing Alliance v. A.G. Spanos Const., Inc., 542 F. Supp.2d 1054 (N.D. Cal. 2008) (standing and continuing violation theory in design and construction case brought under the Fair Housing Act);
  • Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York v. Westchester County, 495 F. Supp.2d 375 (S.D. N.Y. 2007) and 668 F. Supp.2d 548 (S.D. N.Y. 2009) (False Claims Act and obligation to affirmatively further fair housing). 

Honors and Awards

Mr. Allen has received numerous awards and honors, including the Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellowship (1985-86) and the Wasserstein Public Interest Visiting Fellow, Harvard University School of Law (2005).