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Supreme Court of the United States
November 8, 2016, Argued; May 1, 2017, Decided1
[*193] Justice Breyer delivered the opinion of the Court.
The Fair Housing Act (FHA or Act) forbids
“discriminat[ing] against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race . . . .” 42 U. S. C. §3604(b).
It further makes it unlawful for
“any person or other entity whose business includes engaging in residential real estate-related transactions to discriminate against any person in making available such a transaction, or in the terms or conditions of such a transaction, because of race . . . .” §3605(a).
The statute allows any “aggrieved person” to file a civil action seeking damages for a violation of the statute. §§3613(a)(1)(A), 3613(c)(1). And it defines an “aggrieved person” to include “any person who . . . claims to have been injured by a discriminatory housing practice.” §3602(i)(1).
The city of Miami (City) claims that two banks, Bank of America and Wells Fargo (Banks), intentionally issued riskier mortgages on less favorable terms to African-American and Latino customers than they issued to [***7] similarly situated white, non-Latino customers, in [**685] violation of §§3604(b) and 3605(a). App. 185-197, 244-245, 350-362, 428. The City, in amended complaints, alleges that these discriminatory practices have (1) “adversely impacted the racial composition of the City,” id., at 232, 416; (2) “impaired the City’s goals to assure racial integration and desegregation,” ibid.; (3) “frustrate[d] the City’s longstanding and active interest in promoting fair housing and securing the benefits of an integrated community,” id., at 232-233, 416-417; and (4) [*194] disproportionately “cause[d] foreclosures and vacancies in minority communities in Miami,” id., at 229, 413. Those foreclosures and vacancies have harmed the City by decreasing “the property value of the foreclosed home as well as the values of other homes in the neighborhood,” thereby (a) “reduc[ing] property tax revenues to the City,” id., at 234, 418, and (b) forcing the City to spend more on “municipal services that it provided and still must provide to remedy blight and unsafe and dangerous conditions which exist at properties that were foreclosed as a result of [the Banks’] illegal lending practices,” id., at 233-234, 417. The City claims that those practices violate the FHA and that it is entitled to damages for the listed injuries.
The Banks respond that the complaints do not [***8] set forth a cause of action for two basic reasons. First, they contend that the City’s claimed harms do not “arguably” fall within the “zone of interests” that the statute seeks to protect, Association of Data Processing Service Organizations, Inc. v. Camp, 397 U. S. 150, 153, 90 S. Ct. 827, 25 L. Ed. 2d 184 (1970); hence, the City is not an “aggrieved person” entitled to sue under the Act, §3602(i). Second, they say that the complaint fails to draw a “proximate-cause” connection between the violation claimed and the harm allegedly suffered. In their view, even if the City proves the violations it charges, the distance between those violations and the harms the City claims to have suffered is simply too great to entitle the City to collect damages.
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581 U.S. 189 *; 197 L. Ed. 2d 678 **; 2017 U.S. LEXIS 2801 ***; 137 S. Ct. 1296; 26 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 552; 2017 WL 1540509
BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION, et al., Petitioners (No. 15-1111) v. CITY OF MIAMI, FLORIDA
Notice: The LEXIS pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.
Subsequent History: Motion granted by City of Miami v. Bank of Am. Corp., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 14288 (11th Cir. Fla., May 30, 2018)
Prior History: [***1] ON WRITS OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT
City of Miami v. Wells Fargo & Co., 801 F.3d 1258, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15443 (11th Cir. Fla., Sept. 1, 2015)City of Miami v. Bank of Am. Corp., 800 F.3d 1262, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15444 (11th Cir. Fla., Sept. 1, 2015)
Disposition: No. 15-1111, 800 F. 3d 1262, and No. 15-1112, 801 F. 3d 1258, vacated and remanded.
injuries, discriminatory, cases, zone, neighborhood, proximate cause, foreclosures, complaints, housing, aggrieved person, cause of action, quotation, marks, practices, village, Banks, court of appeals, property value, foreseeability, tax revenue, zone-of-interests, protects, damages, lending practices, integrated, aggrieved, borrowers, vacancies, dwelling, municipal service
Business & Corporate Compliance, Public Health & Welfare Law, Housing & Public Buildings, Fair Housing, Civil Rights Law, Contractual Relations & Housing, Fair Housing Rights, Fair Housing Act, Prohibited Conduct, Leasing & Sales, Enforcement Actions, Constitutional Law, Case or Controversy, Standing, Elements