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The sole requirement for standing under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C.S. § 3601 et seq., is the U.S. Const. art. III minima of injury in fact. To meet this requirement, a plaintiff need only allege that as a result of the defendant's discriminatory conduct he has suffered a distinct and palpable injury.
Plaintiff, Anna Harris, was a tenant of an apartment complex owned by the defendants at the time she filed an action under the Fair Housing Act for racial discrimination. During the pendency of the action, she moved from the apartment complex. The district court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on two independent grounds. First, the district court dismissed plaintiff’s action for lack of standing. As an alternative and independent basis for dismissing the case, the district court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff failed to produce any admissible evidence supporting her claims of racial discrimination. Plaintiff appealed.
Did the plaintiff have a standing to bring an action under the Fair Housing Act?
The court reversed the dismissal of the Fair Housing Act claim, holding that plaintiff, under the liberal U.S. Const. amend. III minima of injury in fact liberal standing requirement, had necessary standing to bring an action under the Act. Plaintiff, as an aggrieved person, suffered a distinct and palpable injury resulting from differential treatment she received as tenant. Plaintiff was injured directly by eviction notices given contrary to established policy. The court held that plaintiff established a prima facie case of discrimination under Act. Plaintiff raised a genuine factual question as to whether defendants' nondiscriminatory reasons were pretextual.