In late 2021, State Street Corporation (State Street) hired Relman Colfax to complete an independent civil rights audit. The audit examined State Street’s business policies, practices, products, and services from a civil rights perspective. The final audit report was published on May 30, 2023.
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 had progressive memory loss and needed 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 Harry 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.
Relman Colfax filed HUD administrative complaints on behalf of Ernesto and Corina Zuniga and the Housing Equality Center of Pennsylvania (“HECP”), alleging that CM Bucks Landing 120, LLC, and Residential Management (NY), Inc. (“Respondents”) violated the Fair Housing Act by adopting and enforcing policies that discriminated on the basis of national origin, race, and family status.
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 October 6, 2021, Relman Colfax filed a lawsuit in Indiana federal court alleging that Old National Bank engaged in lending discrimination in Indianapolis in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
- 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, 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.
The firm represented a fair housing organization in developing initiatives with a lender that are designed to ensure that individuals who are on, or plan to be on, maternity, paternity or adoptive leave receive fair and equal access to mortgage loans.
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 lawsuit, brought on behalf of an organization and two individuals against HUD challenging its delay of the Small Area Fair Market Rent pilot program, secured a decision allowing poor families in major markets around the country to immediately use rental subsidies to move to higher-opportunity areas.
S. Pratt, Criminal Background Screening in Housing: Emerging Enforcement Tools, Federal Bar Association's Civil Rights Insider (Winter 2020)
S. Pratt, Fair Housing Act at Fifty, 53 U. Rich. L.R. 1021 (2019)
S. Pratt, Civil Rights Strategies to Increase Mobility, Yale Law Journal Forum (2017)
S. Pratt, Exclusionary Zoning in the Spotlight, Federal Bar Association's Civil Rights Insider (Fall 2017)
R. Schwemm & S. Pratt, Disparate Impact under the Fair Housing Act: A Proposed Approach (2010)
The Future of Fair Housing: Report of the National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (Dec. 2008)
S. Pratt & M. Allen, Addressing Community Opposition to Affordable Housing Development: A Fair Housing Toolkit, Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania (2004)
S. Pratt, M. Allen, and B. Milstein, “Reconstructing Fair Housing,” National Council on Disability (2001)
“Damages for Embarrassment and Humiliation in Housing Discrimination Cases,” Ky. Comm. on Human Rts. (1983)
In the Media
- Indiana Lawyer, 09.01.2022
- Tampa Bay Times, 09.15.2021
- Commonwealth of Virginia, 04.30.2021
- Vox, 02.17.2021
- New York Times, 09.03.2019
- Sojourners, 03.18.2019
- House panel hearing is Tuesday on HUD's failed oversight of Cairo public housing ... and HUD wasn't invitedThe Southern Illinoisan, 09.22.2018
J.D., University of Arizona
B.A., St. Andrews Presbyterian College
- District of Columbia