Frank C. Morris, Jr., Quoted in “Attorneys React to Supreme Court Texas Fair Housing Case”


Frank C. Morris, Jr., a Member of the Firm in the Litigation and Employee Benefits practices, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in Law360, in “Attorneys React to Supreme Court Texas Fair Housing Case.” (Read the full version — subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

“The decision is a distinctly circumscribed approval of FHA disparate impact claims. Lower courts must promptly 'examine with care whether a plaintiff has made out a prima facie case of disparate impact.' A plaintiff 'must point to a defendant’s policy or policies causing [any] disparity' to satisfy a 'robust causality requirement' to protect 'defendants from being held liable for racial disparities they did not create.' The court said a plaintiff 'will not easily be able to show' that a developer’s decision 'to construct a new building in one location rather than another' creates disparate impact. The court said its strict disparate impact limitations are 'necessary to protect potential defendants against abusive disparate impact claims.' Even if the court’s exacting disparate impact claim standards are met, any relief must be 'race neutral.' The court does endorse use of race neutral policies to encourage housing diversity and specifically references its similar position as to race neutral employer diversity efforts. In short, Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion sanctions disparate impact claims only if they can survive close scrutiny and overcome legitimate business decisions relying on both subjective and objective factors.”