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.
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
- 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.
Clover Group Inc. and its affiliates, which own and manage properties in six states, refuse to provide reserved parking spaces and require extra payments for reasonable accommodations needed by seniors with disabilities.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
J. Relman & R. Colfax, Fair Housing Implications of "Essential Workforce" Housing, The Florida Housing Coalition (2012)
Case Note: Denied Water Service Because of Race, 43 Clearinghouse Rev. 7-8 (2009)
R. Colfax, "Housing Choice Voucher Discrimination: Another Obstacle to Achieving the Promise of Brown," in The NIMBY Report, Fifty Years Later: Brown v. Board of Education and Housing Opportunity (2004)
In the Media
- WBTW News 13, 02.14.2019
- Courthouse News Service, 12.14.2018
- BuzzFeed News, 08.09.2018
- #BikingWhileBlack: NAACP and Black Motorcyclists Sue Myrtle Beach, SC, for Discrimination During ‘Black Bike Week’The Root, 05.25.2018
- The Post and Courier, 02.27.2018
- The Nation, 07.15.2016
- New York Times, 06.27.2016
- wkyc.com, 08.25.2014
J.D., Yale Law School
A.B., Harvard University, magna cum laude
- District of Columbia
- New Mexico
- Hon. Thelton E. Henderson, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California