SCOTUS to Review City of Miami Fair Housing Case

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to review a case involving a lawsuit brought by the City of Miami against Bank of America and Wells Fargo alleging the banks engaged in discriminatory lending practices that resulted in reduced property tax revenues. The complaints were initially dismissed by a Miami federal district court but were reversed by the Eleventh Circuit, which stated Miami had standing under the Fair Housing Act to sue the banks because the city demonstrated a nexus between the alleged injuries and the banks’ conduct. ABA and several financial and housing groups filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the banks, requesting that the Supreme Court review the case.

In the brief, ABA argued that the Eleventh Circuit adopted an overbroad view of FHA standing to allow municipalities to sue over economic injuries. In enacting the FHA, ABA explained, Congress sought to protect an individual’s right to fair housing, rather than municipalities claiming economic interests. The brief argued that this new interpretation was neither “necessary nor appropriate” to enforce the FHA’s anti-discrimination objectives.