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Legal Memorandum: Proving Unlawful Housing Discrimination

Issue: What is the burden of proof for showing discrimination against potential renters because of familial status?

Area of Law: Constitutional Law, Litigation & Procedure, Real Estate Law
Keywords: Familial status discrimination; Burden of proof; Potential renters
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 225 F. Supp. 2d 1293; 414 F.3d 715
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 05/01/2006

See Smith v. Mission Assocs. Ltd., 225 F. Supp. 2d 1293 (D. Kan. 2002) (granting summary judgment in the defendants’ favor, because there was no evidence of disparate treatment in violation of the FHA); Schanz, 998 F. Supp. at 789 (summary judgment in the defendants’ favor was warranted, where the plaintiff failed to show intentional discrimination; even if the plaintiff made out a prima facie case of discrimination, the defendants’ failure to offer an apartment to the plaintiff was because he did not meet the income requirements—a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason); Bell, 857 F. Supp. at 1556 (the plaintiff, who was required to show that race played a role in the defendants’ actions in order to make out a claim of race discrimination under the FHA, failed to show that he offered to pay near the asking price, so he did not establish that he applied for and was qualified to purchase the property).  When there is no evidence whatsoever of discrimination in violation of the FHA, the claim may be deemed frivolous and the court should dismiss.  Claiborne v. Wisdom, 414 F.3d 715 (7th Cir. 2005) (affirming the district court’s dismissal with prejudice of the plaintiff’s FHA claim and its finding that the claim was so frivolous as to warrant an award of fees against her).  See Johnson v. Duluth Housing & Redevelopment Authority, No. CIV 99-156 DW (D. Minn. Jan. 9, 2001) (granting summary judgment to the defendant on the […]

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