In a significant victory in the fight for fair lending, we secured a major jury verdict against New York-based Emigrant Savings Bank and Emigrant Mortgage Company for discriminatory mortgage lending. The June 2016 liability verdict was both the first case in which a jury held a bank accountable for lending practices that contributed to the country’s 2008 financial collapse, and the first reverse redlining case ever to be tried in federal court.
In October 2021, Relman Colfax obtained a precedent-setting $5.2 million jury verdict in a case involving the Town of Cromwell’s discrimination against a group home for men with mental health disabilities. Gilead Community Services, a non-profit serving people with mental health disabilities in Connecticut since 1968, sought to open a six-person home in Cromwell, Connecticut. Responding to the discriminatory opposition of neighbors, Cromwell waged a campaign that resulted in the closure of the home in August 2015.
This systemic housing discrimination case against the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) challenges Fannie Mae’s discriminatory maintenance of its “real estate owned” (REO) properties around the country.
In 2016, Relman Colfax settled the largest affordable housing accessibility case in the nation’s history, securing an important victory for people with disabilities in Los Angeles and adding at least 4,000 affordable and highly accessible housing units in the city. The firm separately settled with the City's Community Redevelopment Agency in 2017.
In this Fair Housing Act case challenging an Ohio landlord's discrimination against tenants based on race and familial status, Relman Colfax obtained a consent order in 2014 requiring that the landlord hire a professional management company to operate his apartment complexes and an $850,000 settlement.
In this disability rights case brought under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, Relman Colfax successfully challenged an Ohio city’s refusal to accommodate a resident’s physical disability by providing her access to an alleyway behind her home.
In 2008, Relman Colfax obtained a $10.8 million jury verdict for 67 plaintiffs challenging the refusal to provide water services to a predominately African-American community by the City of Zanesville and Muskingum County, Ohio.
On behalf of Texas Housers—a nonprofit advocacy organization that models solutions to the state’s critical housing and community development problems—the firm is advocating with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) to require Millennia Management Company LLC and Millennia Housing Management LTD., (“Millennia”) to maintain rental units in developments across the country “in decent, safe and sanitary condition.” Millennia is one of the largest owners and managers of project-based housing in the country, and a substantial number of its tenants are households of color.
R. and D. R., a young couple living near Philadelphia, applied for a home renovation loan from the Police and Fire Federal Credit Union (“PFFCU”) in February 2021, when S.R. was on maternity leave after the birth of their second child. Throughout that leave, she was receiving her full salary pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and had a firm date to return to work.
In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Congress appropriated funds under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to mitigate against future natural disasters. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocated more than $4 billion to Texas, and the governor designated the General Land Office (“GLO”) to administer those funds.
On August 5, 2020 Relman Colfax filed a Fair Housing Act administrative complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), alleging that the owners and operators of the RiverWoods Senior Living Community in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, discriminated on the basis of disability against Ruth Gural, who has progressive memory loss and needs some help with activities of daily living. After years of living peacefully in her own apartment, RiverWoods threatened to evict her because her adult son insisted on staying with her—beginning in March 2020—to provide her care and support during the COVID pandemic, when RiverWoods sought to bar all family, friends and private caregivers from even visiting residents.
On September 21, 2021, Relman Colfax filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the Town of Brookline, New Hampshire, its Planning Board, and its Selectboard discriminated on the basis of familial status, race and national origin—in violation of the Fair Housing Act—when they resisted the development of an 80-unit affordable “workforce housing” development proposed by Brookline Opportunities, LLC. The Town is 93% White, with very small African-American and Latino populations, has a high per household median income, and very few rental units
- National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) v. GSL Properties, Inc., DBG Properties LLC, DekkerPerichSabatini, et al.
Following a two-year investigation, NFHA alleged that the architects, developers and owners of 14 apartment communities in New Mexico had failed to design and construct those communities according to the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act. The principal defendants are GSL Properties, Inc., DBG Properties, LLC and DekkerPerichSabatini, an architectural firm.
- The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana v. Construction Management and Design, Inc., Property Maintenance and Management LLC et al.
Following an extensive investigation of 14 newly-constructed apartment properties in northern and eastern Indiana—including site visits and inspections—the Fair housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) identified multiple violations of the Fair Housing Act’s accessibility requirements. FHCCI approached the developers and owners of the properties with its findings, alleging that they had constructed the apartment buildings with inaccessible routes to ground floor units, to the accessible parking and other amenities, failed to provide accessible hardware for doors and built bathrooms that lacked accessible sinks and adequate turning spaces.
This lawsuit, brought under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq., alleges that the J.L. Gray Company, and its related entities, Logan Estates 2017, LLLP, Parkside Manor Limited Partnership, and JLG Properties LLC, submitted false statements, certifications and claims for payment with respect to whether up to 70 apartment complexes were built and operated in compliance with the federal architectural accessibility requirements in the Fair Housing Act, Section 504, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
This lawsuit alleges that a large San Antonio, Texas housing development and management company discriminates against low-income tenants with disabilities who need reasonable modifications to use and enjoy their apartments.
On January 19, 2021, Relman Colfax and its co-counsel filed a housing discrimination lawsuit against the Town of Fairfield (Connecticut) on behalf of subsidiaries of Newport Healthcare seeking to open two group homes for young adults experiencing anxiety, depression, trauma and related mental health disabilities. The amended complaint alleges that Fairfield officials violated the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Connecticut Fair Housing Act by withholding necessary approvals for more than two years and preventing the opening of the homes.
This lawsuit against the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) and its property manager, brought by two public housing residents under the Fair Housing Act and Fourteenth Amendment, alleges that the property manager sexually harassed women living in DCHA properties for years.
This lawsuit, brought on behalf of Amber Reineck House, its founder and President, Courtney Atsalakis, and the Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan, alleges that the City of Howell and its employees discriminated against people with disabilities by engaging in a concerted effort to prevent Amber Reineck House from opening a sober living home for women.
This Fair Housing Act lawsuit alleges that a powerful neighborhood association discriminated against a Chicago family attempting to renovate a single family home to make it accessible for their daughter.
In this lawsuit, Access Living, an independent living center, challenges the City of Chicago’s failure to provide accessible, affordable housing to people with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Fair Housing Act.
Relman Colfax filed suit against the City of Peoria, alleging that the City intentionally targeted enforcement of its “chronic nuisance ordinance” in predominantly African-American neighborhoods and against buildings with predominantly African-American tenants, in violation of the Fair Housing Act. On August 31, 2020, HOPE settled its claims. Pursuant to the settlement, the City amended the ordinance and police department policies to ensure nondiscriminatory enforcement of the Ordinance and to protect tenant rights.
Relman Colfax represents plaintiffs in this class action lawsuit against an Indianapolis realty company for operating a predatory and discriminatory rent-to-own scheme in the Indianapolis area.
This Fair Housing Act lawsuit against the City of LaGrange, Georgia challenged the City's utility service policies—including denying utility services to individuals with unpaid court debt and requiring a Social Security number to obtain utilities—for having an unlawful disparate impact on African Americans and Latinos.
This case against McIntosh County and the State of Georgia alleges that the denial of basic municipal services to one of the last Gullah-Geechee communities on Sapelo Island, Georgia violates plaintiffs' constitutional rights.
This Fair Housing Act case on behalf of an African-American tenant who experienced severe racial harassment by a neighbor challenges a landlord's failure to respond to neighbor-on-neighbor harassment.
This lawsuit, brought under the Fair Housing Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, and state law, challenged the Dallas Housing Authority’s cancellation of project-based housing subsidies that would have permitted adults with disabilities to live in integrated homes in the community.
In this Fair Housing Act lawsuit against a Virginia landlord, which challenged a racially discriminatory policy of rejecting all applicants with criminal backgrounds, the defendant agreed to adopt a new policy to ensure equal access to its properties.
This Fair Housing Act lawsuit brought by a fair housing organization and six women challenged a landlord's alleged pattern and practice of sexual harassment of female tenants and prospective tenants resulted in a damages settlement and consent decree containing innovative injunctive relief.
This Fair Housing Act lawsuit, filed on behalf of the a fair housing center and landlord, alleged that three insurance companies 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 rental subsidy vouchers.
- Fair Housing Rights Center in Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Morgan Properties Management Company, LLC
Relman Colfax obtained the first federal court decision holding that a landlord can violate the Fair Housing Act 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, resulting in a settlement including a policy change and damages.
In this Fair Housing Act case, Relman Colfax obtained a $2.45 million settlement on behalf of an affordable housing developer challenging municipality’s unlawful actions to obstruct a proposed affordable housing development based on bias-motivated community opposition.
This Fair Housing Act case challenged a Brooklyn apartment complex's refusal to rent units to formerly incarcerated individuals, under the complex's policy prohibiting anyone with a criminal record from living there, as racially discriminatory.
This successful Fair Housing Act lawsuit against the D.C. Housing Authority for failure to provide sign language interpreters resulted in settlement requiring substantial changes to policies and practices to ensure sign language interpreters are provided.
Jury verdict of $1 million in favor of families evicted from housing complex in Pahokee Florida because landlord sought to remove all children from the complex.
In this successful appeal of a homeowners association refusal to permit reasonable modifications to dwelling, the Sixth Circuit established the analytical framework for evaluating reasonable modification claims under the Fair Housing Act.
In this Fair Housing Act case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a real estate agent could be held liable for disability discrimination.
Federal court holds fifth-largest private apartment developer in the country liable for a “continuing violation” of federal accessibility requirements. Settlement required retrofitting of 12,300 apartment units at 82 apartment complexes in 11 states, with a total settlement value of nearly $15 million.
Multiple challenges to attempts to prevent construction of affordable, multi-family housing within St. Bernard Parish, New Orleans. After three evidentiary hearings in less than one year, the Court found that the Parish acted with racially discriminatory intent and that its actions had a discriminatory effect on African Americans.
After federal court granted summary judgment for the firm’s client, case settled, requiring County to spend nearly $52 million in County funds to develop at least 750 affordable housing units in high-opportunity neighborhoods.
Relman Colfax secured a trial victory for an African-American couple whose landlord removed and burned their belongings when they were out of town.
A jury verdict in favor of developer prevented by City of Saratoga Springs from building affordable housing community because of discriminatory opposition to project by neighbors was upheld on appeal by the Second Circuit.
News & Updates
In the Media
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 04.03.2020
- Connecticut Post, 02.25.2020
- NBC News, 01.23.2020
- Family Who Wants To Add Garage To Historic Home For Daughter In Wheelchair Sues Old Town Group Trying To Block ItBlock Club Chicago, 12.20.2019
- Fortune’s Fate: Landmark $1.1875 million settlement reached in civil rights suit / El destino de Fortune: Trascendental acuerdo de $1,1875 millones de dólares alcanzado en demanda de derechos civilesManhattan Times, 11.13.2019
- New York Daily News, 11.05.2019
- Syracuse.com, 06.20.2019
- Oswego County Today, 06.19.2019
- Chesterfield Observer, 06.12.2019
- Washington Post, 06.05.2019
- Richmond Times-Dispatch, 06.04.2019
- The Root, 06.04.2019
- New York Law Journal, 04.04.2019
- Cook County Record, 04.02.2019
- Sojourners, 03.18.2019
- Newsday, 03.17.2019
- Courthouse News Service, 12.14.2018
- New York Times, 08.17.2018
- BuzzFeed News, 08.09.2018
- McKnight's Senior Living, 07.27.2018