Could the third time be the charm? Today, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari filed in May 2014 by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (Texas DHCA) in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.
The case gives the Supreme Court its third opportunity since 2012 to rule on the issue of whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act. The prior two cases, Twp. Of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc. and Magner v. Gallagher, were both settled after the completion of briefing but before the Court could hear oral argument and answer the question presented. This time around the Court granted the certiorari petition without first soliciting the views of the Solicitor General.
The Texas DHCA’s certiorari petition presented two issues: (1) whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the FHA; and (2) if disparate impact claims are cognizable under the FHA, what standards and burdens of proof should apply. The Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari is limited to the first question. An industry favorable ruling on this question by the Supreme Court would have implications with respect to the analogous issue of whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Thus, this significant development also is of interest to non-mortgage creditors.
On October 16, 2014, Ballard Spahr attorneys will discuss this development and recent CFPB fair credit developments in a webinar, “Auto Finance II: Fair Credit,” from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET. The registration form is available here.