Presentation on theme: "Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. Fair Housing Project Volunteer Attorney Training Kirkland & Ellis LLP December 4, 2014."— Presentation transcript:
Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. Fair Housing Project Volunteer Attorney Training Kirkland & Ellis LLP December 4, 2014
Betsy Shuman-Moore Fair Housing Project Director Danielle McCain and Jessica Schneider Fair Housing Project Staff Attorneys The Chicago Lawyers' Committee seeks to eliminate discrimination and poverty by providing free legal services to people with civil rights problems and nonprofit organizations that need help with transactional issues. Main projects: Fair Housing Hate Crimes Employment Opportunity Voting Rights Educational Equity TLP - Community Development, Nonprofit and Small Business Assistance Settlement Assistance Project
AGENDA/ LEARNING OBJECTIVES After the training you will be able to… A)Identify the top three priorities of the Fair Housing Project – raise awareness of fair housing as an important civil rights issue, eliminate housing discrimination, promote fair & equal housing B)State three benefits to taking a Fair Housing case C)Be able to: - identify protected classes and applicable laws -be able to evaluate where a case should be filed -understand FHP’s values, importance of fair housing and our co- counsel relationship
Chicago has been and today is still one of the most segregated cities in the United States. Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968: - Passed in 1968 in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - One of the most aggressive and powerful civil rights laws - Contains unique language requiring governments that receive federal HUD money to “Affirmatively Further Fair Housing” Overview
What does Fair Housing mean to you? Why do we need laws against housing discrimination?
The right for all people to: live where they choose have access to housing (seek, rent, or buy) and enjoy the full use of their homes without : unlawful discrimination, interference, coercion, threats, or intimidation by owners, landlords or real estate agents or any other persons. (source IDHR) What is Fair Housing?
FERGUSON: AN EXAMPLE Noah Berger, AP “No doubt, private prejudice and suburbanites’ desire for homogenous affluent environments contributed to segregation in St. Louis and other metropolitan areas. But these explanations are too partial, and too conveniently excuse public policy from responsibility. A more powerful cause of metropolitan segregation in St. Louis and nationwide has been the explicit intents of federal, state, and local governments to create racially segregated metropolises.” The Making of Ferguson, Public Policies at the Root of its Troubles Richard Rothstein - October 15, 2014
FAIR HOUSING LAWS Federal Fair Housing Act: Covers most housing in the United States 42 USC § 3601 Illinois Human Rights Act: Covers most housing in Illinois 775 ILCS 5/3-101 Cook County Human Rts. Ord.: Covers most housing in Cook County Sec. 42-30 Chicago Fair Housing Ord.: Covers nearly all housing in Chicago Muni Code 5-8-010
PROTECTED CLASSES AND DEADLINES Federal Race, color Race, color Religion Religion Sex Sex National origin National origin Physical and mental disability Physical and mental disability Familial status Familial statusState Federal plus: Sexual Orientation Sexual Orientation Ancestry Ancestry Age (40+) Age (40+) Marital Status Marital Status Military Discharge Status Military Discharge Status Order of Protection Status – new in 2010 – only Illinois Order of Protection Status – new in 2010 – only IllinoisCounty Federal and State plus: Source of Income (including Section 8 effective 2013) Source of Income (including Section 8 effective 2013)City Federal, State, and county plus: Source of income (including Section 8) Source of income (including Section 8) Deadlines Deadlines One year to file with HUD, two years to file in court One year to file with IDHR, two years to file in court 180 days
(UN)FAIR HOUSING IN CHICAGO THEN Patterns of segregation did not occur organically Public and private mechanisms directly intended to restrict housing choice for minority households including: Lending Practices, redliningSiting of HUD-funded housing Violence and rioting against those who choose to integrate Racial steering and restrictive covenants
(UN)FAIR HOUSING IN CHICAGO NOW Outright discrimination in housing is not as evident today, but it still exists. Examples: “Soft Steering” Discrimination in lending and the differences in care and upkeep of bank-owned properties Continued discrimination by landlords and other housing providers
CHOICE OF FORUM: ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES IDHR File charge, investigation, substantial evidence standard, IDHR files complaint with Illinois Human Rights Commission Advantages: Agency staff expertise in FH law and practice Disadvantages: same as HUD, in addition no punitive damages, lawyers unfamiliar with process HUD File complaint, 100 days to investigate, conciliation, final report, reasonable cause standard, HUD files charge with Justice Dept. Advantages: Agency staff expertise in FH law and practice; investigation and conciliation is binding Disadvantages- slow process, no control over quality of investigation and final report
CHOICE OF FORUM: ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES CHICAGO COMMISSION (SOURCE OF INCOME) Advantage: punitive damages, administrative law judge expertise in FH law and practice Disadvantage: same as HUD, lawyers unfamiliar with process COOK COUNTY COMMISSION (SOURCE OF INCOME) Advantage: administrative law judge expertise in FH law and practice Disadvantage: same as HUD, lawyers unfamiliar with process, no punitive damages
CHOICE OF FORUM: STATE AND FEDERAL COURT Advantages: in charge and control of process, may save time, have jury trial, punitive damages available Disadvantages: Often judges have no experience in fair housing law Pursuing both- advantage of Agency investigation, and useful discovery for case
INVESTIGATION We investigate in several different ways whether a fair housing intake is supported by evidence, or if we want to build on what we already have It can build a case when it might be only one person's word against another's Investigate by checking out the building, if that is related to the complaint Investigate by testing Phone test or site test. Testing evidence is widely accepted as evidence supporting complaints Either in court or at an administrative agency Testing is something the Lawyers' Committee is uniquely equipped and positioned to do
TESTING It can make the difference in a complaint, and therefore the difference between someone unrepresented and someone who finds representation It really makes a difference to have your involvement as pro bono attorneys We can guide you through the process of understanding testing Both the fair housing organizations (like CLC) and testers have standing to sue
RELIEF/REMEDIES Equitable relief is important to CLC as a civil rights organization, and so we ask it be important to you too Examples: o Fair housing training for staff, including landlords, property managers, anyone having contact with potential tenants provided at their expense o Displaying clear signs about fair housing rights o Handing out notices to tenants about their fair housing rights o Training on source of income discrimination and housing choice vouchers o You can get creative
LEGAL OR ILLEGAL? Ms. Rivera has a 15-year-old son. She called Mr. Sanchez, a landlord, after seeing an ad for his apartment. Many families in the building have children. She viewed and liked the apartment; Ms. Rivera and Mr. Sanchez agreed to meet the next day to sign the lease. That day, Ms. Rivera returned to the building with her son. While they were talking, her son climbed onto a common room table and refused to come down, simply repeating “nononononononono.” Mr. Sanchez appeared angry; he refused to rent the apartment to Ms. Rivera.
LINDO, HUD, & CLC V. GODLEWSKI Case Against Landlord for Posting This Discriminatory Sign HUD ALJ awarded: Complainant Lolita Lindo $18,000 in damages for emotional distress and $2000 for expenses and inconvenience -Complainant CLC $24,394 for frustration of mission and diversion of resources -$11,000 civil penalty -Attorneys’ fees of $56,742 -Injunctive relief including an order preventing respondent from transferring any real estate until he satisfied the judgment. $112,136 total monetary award
RODRIGUEZ V. MARRONE, ANTI-PUERTO RICAN DISCRIMINATORY HARASSMENT AND HATE CRIME CASE, CIR. CT. OF COOK COUNTY Lawsuit against neighbor brought under Illinois Human Rights Act, Illinois Hate Crime Act, and torts of assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress Jury awarded: $140,000 in compensatory damages $380,000 in punitive damages Judge awarded: $76,201 attorneys’ fees & costs
LEGAL OR ILLEGAL? The Harvey family has a Housing Choice Voucher. Ms. Harvey finds an apartment to rent in Oak Park and visits the unit with her sister. The next day, Mr. Harvey drops off the application and paperwork to the owner, Mr. O’Keefe. Mr. Harvey is African American and Ms. Harvey is white. The owner originally told Ms. Harvey he would rent to her, but then misses four appointments with the HACC inspectors because he is “too busy” to deal with it.
CHICAGO LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE – VOLUNTEER ATTORNEY CO-COUNSEL RELATIONSHIP Co-counsel relationship between CLC attorneys and law firm volunteers CLC has civil rights expertise and the law firms have litigation expertise We seek all possible relief: damages, affirmative relief in the public interest, and attorneys’ fees Attorneys’ fees are an important part of our budget and we seek them in all cases We need volunteer attorneys to succeed in fighting housing discrimination and breaking down segregation – Thank you!
Betsy Shuman-Moore, Fair Housing Project Director Danielle McCain and Jessica Schneider, Fair Housing Project Staff Attorneys QUESTIONS?? COMMENTS??