A Morrison & Foerster pro bono team, together with co-counsel the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, won a motion for summary judgment on behalf of the Equal Rights Center in its housing discrimination claims against Belmont Crossing Apartments, LLC (Belmont) and Oakmont Management Group, LLC (Oakmont) in Washington, D.C. Superior Court Judge John Campbell ruled that Belmont and Oakmont violated the D.C. Human Rights Act (DCHRA) by refusing to allow prospective tenants to use temporary subsidies for rent and security deposit payments.
According to Judge Campbell’s order, “The plaintiff has clearly established, through uncontradicted evidence, that defendants implemented a policy to refuse to rent to potential tenants who sought to use short-term vouchers as a source of rental payments.” Judge Campbell also ruled that vouchers, regardless of the source or duration, are to be treated as a source of income for paying rent within the meaning of the DCHRA. Judge Campbell rejected the defendants’ argument that they should escape liability because their policy was motivated by business interests, not discriminatory animus, finding that defendants’ motive is irrelevant “when a policy is ‘discriminatory on its face.’” (citing to Feemster v. BSA Ltd. Partnership, 548 F.3d 1063, 1070 (D.C. Cir. 2008).
The MoFo team was led by Washington, D.C. associates Timothy Gallivan and Michele Trichler, as well as senior counsel G. Brian Busey.
For more information, please see the Equal Rights Center press release.