The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in November to decide whether cities can sue discriminatory, predatory mortgage lenders for violations of the Fair Housing Act
SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 7, 2016) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced that the City and County of San Francisco has joined 25 other cities and counties in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court today in support of the City of Miami in its federal suits seeking to hold Bank of America and Wells Fargo liable under the Fair Housing Act for discriminatory predatory lending practices. The banks have argued that cities lack standing under the Fair Housing Act to hold predatory lenders accountable for the economic harms that their practices inflict on cities.
Prepared by the San Francisco and Los Angeles City Attorneys Offices, the brief contends that cities are entitled to sue under federal fair housing laws to hold discriminatory actors liable for the harm they cause. As the brief argues, predatory lending practices targeting minority communities are a form of discrimination that hurts minority neighborhoods and cities themselves. In enacting the Fair Housing Act, Congress intended to give cities a powerful tool to address housing discrimination and protect vulnerable communities.
“Since its enactment, the Fair Housing Act has been one of the most critical pieces of legislation that advances racial equality and allows cities to address discriminatory lending practices from financial institutions,” said Herrera. “Oftentimes, the victims targeted by these loans are unlikely to bring civil lawsuits and cities have played an important role in challenging the discrimination their communities face. It is essential that cities be permitted to continue to use the Fair Housing Act as a way to hold institutions accountable and secure housing equality for everyone.”
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on November 8. The consolidated cases are Bank of America Corp. v. City of Miami and Wells Fargo & Co. v. City of Miami, Nos. 15-1111 and 15-1112.