This Fair Housing Act lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) and Andre Baugh, a New Orleans landlord. The lawsuit alleged that Covington Specialty Insurance Company and two other insurers discriminated on the basis of race, sex and familial status by denying liability insurance (or charging higher premiums) to landlords who accept tenants with federal Housing Choice Vouchers.
The lawsuit alleged that the Covington’s policy had the effect of making it harder for voucher households—who are disproportionately African American, female-headed, and families with children—to access housing. The suit also alleged that the insurer’s discriminatory policies disproportionately affected predominately African-American neighborhoods in New Orleans, where voucher households are highly concentrated.
In an April 2018 settlement, Covington agreed to stop considering individuals’ source of income when determining pricing or eligibility for property or commercial liability insurance sold to owners of private rental properties. Covington also agreed to pay $160,000 to compensate plaintiffs for their damages and attorneys' fees.
The Relman Colfax litigation team was led by Steve Dane and Joe Wardenski, with assistance from co-counsel with Elizabeth Owen of GNOFHAC and Galen Hair of Scott, Vicknair, Hair & Checki.
Baugh v. Covington Specialty Insurance Company, No. 2:17-cv-09127 (E.D. La.)