Although settlement discussions are continuing, the respondents in Township of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc., filed their merits brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on October 21.  (The Township’s opening brief was filed on August 26.)  The question presented in the case is whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act (FHA).  The respondents, current and former residents of a predominately minority residential area, challenged the Township’s plans to redevelop the area as having a disparate adverse impact on minorities.  Ballard Spahr is representing one of the defendants in the case. 

In their brief, the respondents argue that the FHA’s plain language is not limited to “purposeful discrimination” as asserted by the Township and encompasses practices with a discriminatory effect.  They also argue that HUD’s interpretation allowing disparate impact claims under the FHA is entitled to Chevron deference. 

Oral argument in the case is scheduled for December 4, 2013.