Cert denial brings same-sex marriage to many more states

Posted on October 7th, 2014 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Antidiscrimination law, Marital property, Sexual orientation.

The Supreme Court’s refusal to take certiorari in a number of cases means that same-sex marriage will become legal in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, and soon afterwards in Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming bringing the total number of jurisdictions to 31 (including the District of Columbia) plus at least 5 Indian nations. In addition a ruling by a three judge panel in the 9th Circuit on Oct 7, 2014 will likely open up Nevada and Idaho as well, making a total of 33 jurisdictions. States that still ban same-sex marriages include Alaska, Montana, Arizona, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Jessica Meyers, Appeals rejected, way cleared for wider same-sex marriage: court action likely to affect 11 more states, Boston Globe, Oc. 6, 2014.

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No easement by necessity when parcel is landlocked because of eminent domain

Posted on August 10th, 2014 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Servitudes, Takings.

When a taking of property by eminent domain to build a highway bifurcated a parcel, one part became landlocked but obtained access to a public road by permission over neighboring property. When that permission ended many years later and the parcel became landlocked the owner sought an easement by necessity over the neighbor’s land but the court found the traditional requirements for such an easement to be lacking. Since the parcel had not become landlocked when severed from the neighboring land there was no basis for imposing an obligation on that neighbor to create an easement for access to the roads. Nor did the owner obtain a prescriptive easement because access to the land had been by permission. No claim was made for a constructive trust or easement by estoppel, alternative theories that might have been relevant if the owner of the servient estate had induced the owner of the landlocked parcel to invest in reliance on the easement. The implication of the case may be that the owner should have received a greater amount of just compensation at the time of the exercise of the eminent domain power given the landlocked nature of the property. Clifton v. Wilkinson, 748 S.E.2d 372 (Va. 2013).

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Tribal sovereign immunity precludes tax foreclosure action against tribe

Posted on August 3rd, 2014 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Tribal property.

The Supreme Court’s recent reaffirmation of the long-standing rule that that Indian nations have sovereign immunity from suit in the absence of waiver by the tribe or abrogation by Congress, Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Cmty., 134 S.Ct. 2024 (2014),  led the Second Circuit to reaffirm its earlier decision to deny a county the power to foreclose on tribal land for failure to pay state property taxes. Cayuga Indian Nation v. Seneca Cnty., 2014 WL 3746795 (2d Cir. 2014). While having a right without a remedy would seem to render the right meaningless, the oddity of this situation can be attributed to the vagaries of federal Indian law and casts doubt on the wisdom of earlier decisions that authorized the state to tax tribal land. For the earlier Second Circuit decision, see Oneida Indian Nation of N.Y. v. Madison Cnty., 605 F.3d 149 (2d Cir. 2010), vacated, 131 S.Ct. 704 (2011). The Supreme Court decision holding that tribal land is subject to state taxes at least when it was held by non-Indians in fee simple and bought back by the tribe even if it is within the original borders of tribal territory and the cession of land was never lawfully ratified by statute or treaty. City of Sherrill, NY v. Oneida Indian Nation of N.Y., 544 U.S. 197 (2005).

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West and Lexis have “fair use” rights to publish searchable versions of briefs

Posted on July 16th, 2014 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Intellectual property.

Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern Districit in New York   held that legal publishers West and Lexis did not violate copyright law by publishing searchable versions of lawyers briefs. Their conduct was a protected “fair use” because it was transformative, changing the purpose and character of the works. White v. West Publ’g Corp., 2014 WL 3057885 (S.D. N.Y. 2014).

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State did not dispossess owners and thus did not “take’ lands in violation of the constitution merely by asserting ownership

Posted on July 16th, 2014 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Takings, Title issues, Trespass, Water rights.

The Texas Supreme Court affirmed its ruling that the border between state-owned submerged lands and private lands along the coast is the “mean higher high tide line” or the mean location of the high tide line over the regular tidal cycle of 18.6 years. Porretto v. Tex. Gen. Land Office, 2014 WL 2994436 (Tex. 2014). In various ways, agents of the state of Texas has acted so as to claim public rights in property that is on the “private” or landward side of the line. The Texas General Land Office (GLO) claimed that it owns lands that the Texas Supreme Court says are privately owned; that office also requested that tax records be changed to indicate state ownership of those lands. These statements have made it harder for private owners to sell those lands. However, since the GLO ended its bid to change the tax rolls to claim public ownership of those lands and, “even though the [GLO] lawyers’  statements injured the [landlowners]“, the state did not actually dispossess the owners and therefore did not “take” their property without just compensation in violation of the takings clause.

The court also held that the line separating public and private ownership does not change because of state renourishment of beaches. “The State does not gain the dry beach by dumping sand on it,, nor does it lose what was before the wet beach, even if the renourishment pushes the MHHT [mean higher high tide] line farther seaward, which is usually the purpose of renourishment.”

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No prescriptive easement for underground sewer pipe because the use was not open and notorious

Posted on July 11th, 2014 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Easements, Servitudes, Trespass.

The Massachusetts Land Court has held that no prescriptive easement can arise no matter how long a sewer pipe has traversed a neighbor’s property because the non permissive use was not “open and notorious” and there were no other indications that the pipe was there. 143-145 Nahant Rd, LLC v. Mastoras, (Mass. Land Ct. 2014), 2014 WL 2548094, 42 Mass. Lawyers Weekly 1879 (July 7, 2014). With no easement, the use was likely a trespass although that was a question on remand.

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Massachusetts SJC considers remedies for seller’s breach of promise to sell

Posted on July 10th, 2014 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Real estate transactions, Title issues.

In K.G.M. Custom Homes, Inc. v. Prosky, 10 N.E.3d 117 (Mass. 2014), the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts held that a buyer can choose to seek either specific performance or damages when a seller breaches the promise to sell. The issue was hard because Massachusetts allows only specific performance as a remedy for anticipatory breach and the complaint had alleged only anticipatory breach. Because the issue of actual breach was fully litigated and the court found the seller to have committed an actual breach, the judge was justified in giving the plaintiff a choice of remedies. Massachusetts law also provides that a liquidated damages clause does not prevent an aggrieved party from seeking specific performance of a real estate transaction. The court also affirmed the rule that every contract contains an “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.” That covenant “exists so that the objectives of the contract may be realized.”

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Mortgage can be equitably reformed because of mutual mistake

Posted on July 10th, 2014 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Mortgages, Real estate transactions, Statute of frauds.

In a classic application of a traditional doctrine of contract law, the Massachusetts Land Court allowed a mortgage document to be reformed because of mutual mistake. Citibank, N.A. v. Heywood, 2014 WL 2158409 (Mass. Land Ct. 2014). While courts are very reluctant to amend written property documents or contracts because of unilateral mistake, it is standard practice to ignore the written terms of the agreement, despite the statute of frauds, when the evidence shows that it does not reflect the intent of both parties. The court noted that [A] court acting under general principles of equity jurisprudence has broad power to reform, rescind, or cancel written instruments, including mortgages, on grounds such as fraud, mistake, accident, or illegality” as long as the mistake was mutual.

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Robo-signing mortgage servicer may have violated state false document statute

Posted on July 10th, 2014 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Consumer protection, Mortgages, Real estate transactions, Statute of frauds, Title issues.

The Ninth Circuit held that a mortgage servicer that allegedly engaged in robo-signing may well have violated an Arizona statute, Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-420, that criminalizes filing false property title documents with the state recording offices. In re Mortg. Electronic Registrations Systems, Inc (Robinson v. Am. Home Mortg. Serv. Inc.), 2014 WL 2611314, 2 014 U.S. App. LEXIS 10934 (9th Cir. 2014). There was  evidence that trustee’s sale documents were notarized in blank and signed later by a person other than the one who was supposed to sign the document. Such signings were also done in bulk (robo-signing) and because not signed by the correct person were forged. In addition, notaries are supposed to witness the signature not notarize a blank document before any signature appears. The case is notable because the servicer was MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.). Judge William Fletcher engaged in a detailed discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of the MERS system.

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Trademark Trial and Appeal Board cancels trademark for Washington pro football team name

Posted on June 21st, 2014 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Antidiscrimination law, Intellectual property, Tribal property.

In another case in a long-running saga, the Patent and Trademark Office cancelled the federal registration for the “Washington Redskins” on the ground that the name is disparaging in violation of Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act of 1946, 15 U.S.C. §1052(a). Blackhorse v. Pro-Football, Inc., U.S. P.T.O. Canc. No. 92046185 (June 18, 2014).

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Contractual power to modify condo declaration held to be complete defense to claim of deceptive conduct under state consumer protection law

Posted on June 21st, 2014 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Condominiums, Consumer protection, Real estate transactions, Servitudes.

The Seventh Circuit found no deceptive conduct within the meaning of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (ICFA) when a condo developer substantially changed the governing documents after the condo sales. Goldberg v. 401 North Wabash Venture LLC, 2014 WL 2579939 (7th Cir. 2014). The case concerned Trump Tower in Chicago which contains hundreds of residential condominium units and hundreds of hotel condominium units as well as substantial retail space and other facilities. The purchase agreement gave TrumpOrg the “right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to modify the Condominium Documents.” Writing for the three-judge panel and applying Illinois law, Judge Posner held that this clause was sufficient to immunize TrumpOrg from any claim of deceptive conduct. Thus the hotel condo owners had no rights when TrumpOrg “greatly curtailed the owners’ rights in the hotel facilities.” Nor did the conduct violate the statute governing condominiums.

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First Circuit supports MERS

Posted on June 12th, 2014 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Mortgages, Real estate transactions.

The First Circuit reaffirmed its view of the validity of the MERS system under Massachusetts law. Mills v. U.S. Bank, (1st Cir. 2014) (reaffirming Culhane v. Aurora Loan Services of Nebraska, 708 F.3d 282 (1st Cir.2013)). The court explained that there was no conflict between MERS’s role as the “mortgagee” and MERS’s role as the nominee (agent) for the mortgagee (the actual Lender to whom promises were made under the note). Thus the note could be transferred from bank to bank while MERS held “legal title” to the mortgage, giving MERS the power to transfer legal title to the final note holder to allow it to foreclose on the property after default by the mortgagor. According to the court the “MERS framework…separates the legal interest [in the mortgage] from the beneficial interest [in the underlying debt]” and is valid. This separation is valid under Massachusetts law which allows the note to be held by one person and the mortgage (or right to foreclose) held by someone else.

In particular, the court found no contradiction between the mortgage language that described MERS both as the “mortgagee” and the nominee for the lender, rejecting the plaintiff’s argument that one cannot be both the principal and the agent. Rather, the court explained that “MERS validly serves both as the holder of ‘bare legal title as mortgagee of record’ and as ‘nominee for the member-noteholder.’”

One caution is that the First Circuit may or may not be accurately predicting how the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would interpret its mortgage law and foreclosure statutes.

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Oregon and Pennsylvania join the states with same-sex marriage

Posted on May 28th, 2014 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Antidiscrimination law, Marital property, Sexual orientation.

For the first time, federal court rulings seem to have brought same-sex marriage the states. Most of the states that have recognized such marriages have done so through state court rulings or legislation. However, federal court rulings have increasingly found same-sex marriage bans to violate the equal protection clause of the federal constitution. Most such rulings of federal district courts are on appeal and most were stayed during that appeal. However, the governors of both Oregon and Pennsylvania declined to appeal the rulings and no other parties appear to have been given standing to do so. Geiger v. Kitzhaber, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68171 (D. Ore. 2014); Whitewood v. Wolf, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68771 (M.D. Pa. 2014); That seems to place those states in the same-sex marriage column bringing the total number of jurisdictions with same-sex marriage to twenty (19 states plus the District of Columbia). The list includes California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawai`i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington.

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Easement can be narrowed by servient estate owner

Posted on February 17th, 2014 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Easements, Servitudes, Statute of frauds, Title issues.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Martin v. Simmons Props., Inc., 2014 WL 128537 (Mass. 2014), that the servient estate owner is entitled to narrow an easement as long as this does not interfere with the uses for which the easement was initially created. The court applied the traditional rule that easements are encumbrances on land and to be construed narrowly. At the same time, the touchstone was the intention of the parties that created the easement, determined both by the language in the easement and the circumstances at the time of creation of the easement. Because the documents and plan creating the easement did not specify an exact width of the easement or require that it be kept open through its full extent, the easement owner was entitled only to such use as was needed to afford access to the dominant estate. The court also reaffirmed the traditional rule that nonuse of an easement is not sufficient to establish abandonment of it.

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Scotland recognizes same-sex marriage

Posted on February 5th, 2014 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Marital property, Sexual orientation.

The Scottish Parliament passed the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill allowing and recognizing same-sex marriage. It is the 17th country to do so. read article The vote was an astonishing 105-18.

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Owners who lost title to their homes through nonjudicial foreclosure are entitled to raise defenses to eviction

Posted on January 13th, 2014 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Consumer protection, Mortgages, Real estate transactions, Title issues.

The Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has ruled that owners may make affirmative defenses to eviction claims by banks that acquired title to their property through a private or nonjudicial foreclosure. Bank of America v. Rosa, 466 Mass. 613 (2013). Those defenses may challenge the way in which the bank acquired title to the property through the foreclosure process and and power of the bank to foreclose in the first place. They may also include any equitable defenses that would defeat the claim for a right to possession of the property (the right to evict).

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Same-sex marriage gets a foothold in Utah and Ohio

Posted on December 24th, 2013 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Antidiscrimination law, Marital property, Sexual orientation.

A federal district court judge in Utah struck down the state’s marriage laws to the extent they disallowed same-sex couples to marry. Kitchen v. Herbert, (D. Utah 2013). Holding the right to marry to be a fundamental constitutional right and denial of that right to same-sex couples a violation of the equal protection clause in the U.S. Constitution, the judge refused to stay his opinion. As a result hundreds of couples began applying for and receiving marriage licenses. The decision is being appealed by the state of Utah and may be overturned by the Tenth Circuit. In a related ruling, a federal district court judge in Ohio ruled it unconstitutional for Ohio to deny marriage status to same-sex couples married out of state when one dies in-state. Obergefell v. Wymyslo, 2013 WL 6726688 (S.D. Ohio 2013).  the judge ordered that the death certificates record the fact that the decedent was married. read article

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Same-sex marriage in New Mexico

Posted on December 24th, 2013 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Antidiscrimination law, Marital property, Sexual orientation.

The Supreme Court of New Mexico opened the state to same-sex marriages in the case of Griego v. Oliver,  2013 WL 6670704 (N.M. 2013). It interpreted New Mexico statutes as denying the right of same-sex couples to marry and then held those statutes unconstitutional under the equal protection clause in Article 18 of Section II of the New Mexico Constitution. The court unanimously held that the statutes created a classification based on sexual orientation and that such statutes should be subject to intermediate scrutiny because the class of gay and lesbian persons has a history of being subject to discrimination and “deep-rooted prejudice against their integration into society.”

Applying that standard of review, the court found the classification unconstitutional. The state justified denying same-sex couples the right to marry on the ground that male-female marriages promoted “responsible procreation and child-rearing.” Although this is a legitimate government interest, the court found no relation between it and the decision to deny marriage to same-sex couples, partly because “fertility has never been a condition of marriage” and even if it was, same-sex couples can procreate and raise children responsibly. The court found that the “purpose of the New Mexico marriage laws is to bring stability and order to the legal relationships of committed couples by defining their rights and responsibilities as to one another, their property, and their children, if they choose to have children.” Given that purpose, the state could show no legitimate government interest in denying the civil status of marriage to same-sex couples.

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Court finds sriracha hot sauce plant to be a nuisance

Posted on December 17th, 2013 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Nuisance.

The city of Irwindale in the Los Angeles area brought suit to shut down a plant that manufacturers hot sauce made from sriracha chilis.  Neighbors complained that the hot sauce manufacturer  caused them great discomfort from the odors of the plant, that they suffered from headaches, and that the plant made their eyes water and their throats burn. read article  On the other hand some residents suffered no ill effects while others found the effects fleeting and inconsistent. The state superior court judge must have believed the complaints because he issued an injunction ordering the plant to cease the operations that were causing the offensive odors.read article The court did not order the plant closed, just to act to mitigate the problems it was causing.

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Housing discrimination by town officials still a problem

Posted on December 8th, 2013 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Antidiscrimination law, Consumer protection, Due process, Fair Housing Act, Leaseholds, Real estate transactions.

A number of recent cases has revealed the persistence of racial discrimination affecting municipal decisions about housing. The Sixth Circuit found, for example, in Hidden Village, LLC v. City of Lakewood, Ohio, 734 F.3d 519 (6th Cir. 2013), that town officials may have engaged in a campaign of harassment designed to induce African American residents to move out of town. The case involved a Lutheran religious organization that helped young people released from foster care or juvenile detention to enter society. The organization found a helpful landlord willing to rent apartments to the organization’s clients. At first the town officials argued that this amounted to an institutional use in violation of the zoning law but the town planning commission found otherwise. At that point, the complaint alleges that town officials began a campaign of police harassment that involved citations for minor offenses and unreasonable searches of apartments.

The Sixth Circuit concluded that the landlord had standing to sue to claim violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. §§1981-1982 and the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3601 et seq. The court also held that plaintiffs had presented a viable substantive due process claim. The court noted that the due process clause “protects landlords against irrational restrictions on how they use their property. Rationality may be a low bar. But the government flunks even that test when it tries to prevent a landlord of any race from renting to tenants based on their race.

The court also found a potential violation of §3617 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3617 which makes it illegal “to coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of any right granted or protected [by the Fair Housing Act].” Although federal courts have been confused on the issue, the Sixth Circuit held that a §3617 violation could be shown even if there was no underlying violation of another section of the Fair Housing Act. In this case, for example, no one denied the youths housing or granted them discriminatory terms. Nonetheless, the facts sufficiently alleged that the town sought to interfere with their enjoyment of the right to obtain housing without regard to race.

In a second case, the Eastern District of New York held that a city violated the Fair Housing Act when it rezoned several parcels to prevent the building of low- and middle-income housing. The court found that the facts supported a finding of liability under both a discriminatory treatment and disparate impact theory. MHANY Mgmt Inc. v. Incorporated Village of Garden City, 2013 WL 6334107 (E.D.N.Y. 2013). read article The court found a discriminatory treatment claim (intentional racial discrimination) because there was sufficient evidence  to conclude that animus because of race was a significant factor in the denial of the housing opportunity. Evidence to that effect was shown by the fact that exclusion of low-income housing would impose a greater impact on African Americans than on whites, there was a history of racial bias in the city, and the sequence of events leading up to the denial of the housing opportunity that suggested a racially discriminatory motive. Although the city gave legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons for the change in the zoning law, the plaintiffs undermined those justifications by showing that the proposed development would not significantly affect traffic and that other reasons given by the city were not supported by the available evidence. The court thus found that the proffered justifications were pretextual.

The court also found a disparate impact claim. Although the city gave legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons for its decision (reducing traffic and providing for townhouse construction), it did not show that these goals could not be achieved in a less discriminatory manner or in a manner that did not perpetuate racial segregation.

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No mandatory duty to record titles or mortgages so no evasion of law by MERS

Posted on November 27th, 2013 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Mortgages, Real estate transactions, Statute of frauds, Title issues.

Several lawsuits have been in progress arguing that MERS violated state recording statutes by not recording mortgage assignments and thus cheating recording offices out of fees they otherwise would have earned. Interpreting Illinois law, the Seventh Circuit rejected that claim as have other courts that addressed the issue. Union County v. MERSCORP, Inc., 2013 WL 6017394 (7th Cir. 2013) (applying Ill. law). The court explained that Illinois law agrees with almost all other states in providing a voluntary recording system that is intended to protect those who record; that system does not require property transactions to be recorded for them to be valid. It merely protects bona fide purchasers from prior claims against which they had no notice.

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Google library book project held to be a fair use under copyright law

Posted on November 21st, 2013 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Copyright, Intellectual property.

A federal district court has upheld Google’s library book project as an authorized fair use under the federal Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §101 et esq., Authors Guild, Inc. v. Google, Inc., 2013 WL 6017130 (S.D.N.Y. 2013). The court upheld the power of Google to scan copyrighted books held by libraries and to give those libraries digital copies of those scans. It also upheld Google’s power to make the text of those books searchable so that researchers could view snippets of those books and could search the books for particular phrases, words or concepts. The court ruled both practices to constitute a fair use, 17 U.S.C. §107. In determining that the ability to search the digital copies and to view snippets was a fair use, the court found that the use was transformative, did not supplant or supersede the originals, and was not designed to make a profit.

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Settlement of Mount Holly case prevents Supreme Court from addressing disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act

Posted on November 21st, 2013 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Antidiscrimination law, Consumer protection, Fair Housing Act.

The Supreme Court has twice in recent years accepted certiorari in cases to decide whether disparate impact claims are available under the Fair Housing Act. Both cases settled before the Supreme Court could determine the issue. The most recent was Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc. v. Twp. of Mt. Holly, 658 F.3d 375 (3d Cir. 2011). The prior case was Gallagher v. Magner, 619 F.3d 823 (8th Cir. 2010). Another lawsuit is in process called Am. Ins. Ass’n v. U.S. Dep’t of Hous. & Urban Dev. (D.D.C., filed 06.26.13),  brought by the insurance industry to challenge the disparate impact regulations promulgated this year by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). read article Those regulations define when disparate impact claims are available and are consistent with the general outlines of the doctrine as it been developed by all the Circuit courts.  24 C.F.R. § 100.500(a)–(b).

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Testers have standing to sue for violations of the public accommodation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Posted on November 13th, 2013 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Antidiscrimination law, Consumer protection.

In Houston v. Marod Supermarkets, 2013 WL 5859575 (11th Cir. 2013), the Eleventh Circuit ruled that testers have standing to bring suits claiming violation of the public accommodation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The mere fact that one enters property for the purpose of testing compliance with the ADA rather than to purchase products does not deprive the plaintiff of standing to sue for violation of the law. In an odd coda, however, the court noted that injunctive relief was only appropriate if the plaintiff could show injury from the store’s failure to comply with access requirements. The fact that he claimed he would return to the store in the future and that it was located 30 miles from his house was sufficient to show “injury in fact” and give him standing to seek injunctive relief.

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Hawai`i, Illinois & New Jersey join the states that allow and recognize same-sex marriage

Posted on November 13th, 2013 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Antidiscrimination law, Marital property, Sexual orientation.

After passage of same-sex marriage laws in both Hawai`i and Illinois and constitutional litigation in New Jersey, seventeen (17) jurisdictions in the US recognize and allow same-sex marriage. The list includes: California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawai`i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington.

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