Click on the links below to read about our closed cases:
- Port Wentworth
- Pitt v. City of Portsmouth, Va
- King v. City of Blakely Housing Authority
On October 22, 2003, the Lawyers’ Committee, Fletcher Farrington and the law firm of Dickstein Shapiro filed a complaint against the City of Port Wentworth, Georgia, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia on behalf of several individual plaintiffs, the class of similarly situated individuals, and the North Port Wentworth Citizens Council in Steele v. City of Port Wentworth, Georgia, CV-4-03-211. The complaint alleged that the City discriminatorily failed to provide water and sewer facilities to a predominantly African-American community in Port Wentworth, thereby violating the federal Fair Housing Act, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Civil Rights Act of 1871, the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the Georgia Fair Housing Act and Article I, § I, Paragraph II of the Constitution of the State of Georgia. The parties dismissed the Complaint without prejudice and Plaintiffs then re-filed the case on August 3, 2005, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia as CV-4-05-135.
In January 2001, the Lawyers’ Committee filed a motion to enforce a 1995 settlement between the Wynwood Community Economic Development Corporation and the City of Miami, Florida, on behalf of Wynwood in the Circuit Court for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida in a case styledWynwood Community Economic Development Corporation, Inc., v. the City of Miami, 94-12875. Wynwood’s 1994 complaint alleged that the city had discriminated against it on the basis of national origin in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution by obstructing the creation of a foreign trade zone in the heavily Puerto Rican neighborhood of Wynwood in Miami, Florida. The case was settled in 1995 and the 2001 motion to enforce the 1995 settlement alleged that the city had violated the settlement in the following respects: by refusing to provide the plaintiff with a deficient or correct deed; by delaying the application for a HUD loan to assist Wynwood’s development; by failing to apply for the full $10 million in assistance specified in the settlement agreement; by refusing to reimburse the plaintiff for $17,000 in architectural expenses; by failing to treat the plaintiff as a CDBG entity and consider its grant applications in good faith; by failing to express support for the plaintiff and treat the plaintiff like other similarly situated entities, and by publicly maligning the plaintiff in the press, and refusing to consider the plaintiff for a seat on the city’s International Trade Board.
On August 11, 2005, the Lawyers Committee and their clients, an extended African-American family, announced the settlement of their discrimination claims against a vacation rental condominium resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which barred them from using its swimming pool. Among other things, the settlement provides the plaintiffs with an undisclosed monetary compensation, requires the Homeowners’ Association agreed to issue a written apology to the family members, to conduct fair housing training for individuals involved in the day-today management of Baytree III, and to inform its members of its policy of non-discrimination.
On June 27, 2002, the Lawyers’ Committee and the law firm of Katten Muchin Zavis Rosenman filed a class action complaint against the City of Portsmouth Virginia in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
On June 21, 2000, the Lawyers’ Committee and the law firm of Proskauer Rose filed a class action complaint against the City of Blakely Housing Authority in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. The complaint alleged that the housing authority had maintained a segregated public housing program and that the housing authority had discriminated against its African American tenants in the terms of conditions of the housing provided. The Lawyers’ Committees plaintiffs included several individual plaintiffs as well as the Concerned Citizens Committee of Blakely and Early County, Georgia. The Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity found that the defendants had engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination thus precipitating an investigation by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. HUD then referred the case to the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). DOJ filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia on June 10, 2002. A consent decree requiring the executive director of the housing authority to resign and the defendants to pay $252,500 in compensatory damages, train employees on fair housing law, and establish new admissions policies and procedures to ensure that applicants are treated in a non-discriminatory manner was entered on March 21, 2005.
Read the Lawyers’ Committee’s 2000 complaint here.
Read DOJ’s 2002 complaint here.
Read the 2005 consent decree here.