Settlement Reached in Civil Rights Case Involving Municipal Redevelopment Rights

Just weeks before the US Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral argument in the case of Township of Mount Holly v. Mount Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, the LegalTimes Blog reports that the parties reached a settlement.  As a result, the case will now be dismissed.

In this case, a group of residents challenged a municipal redevelopment project on the grounds that the Township’s use of eminent domain to acquire property for redevelopment had displaced a number of minority residents in the predominantly minority neighborhood.  The claim was that while the decision to target this neighborhood for this redevelopment project was not explicitly because of race but that the project had a disparate impact on minority individuals, thereby discriminating on the basis of race as prohibited by the Fair Housing Act.

Because of the settlement, the Court will not be able to address the question of whether or not residents can bring a disparate impact claim for redevelopment projects like this, but a number of appellate courts have recognized such a claim.  Municipalities should be aware of the unintended impacts of projects like this and should be prepared to articulate the rational and non-discriminatory reasons that necessitate the projects.

Posted by / November 15, 2013 / 0 Comments
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Municipal Law
Patrick Fanelli

Patrick Fanelli

Mr. Fanelli is a founding partner of Fanelli Willett Law Offices, one of Blair County's newest law firms. Patrick focuses his practice on helping public and private employers navigate the increasingly regulated landscape of labor and employment law, while also serving as a respected school lawyer on behalf of various Pennsylvania school districts and other public entities, which turn to him for assistance in the collective bargaining process or as a general solicitor. Read More about Attorney Fanelli

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