Industry Groups File Amicus Briefs in Disparate Impact Case

Industry Groups File Amicus Briefs in Disparate Impact Case

Homebuilding, insurance, and financial services industry groups have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to find that the law does not allow disparate-impact discrimination claims to be heard under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) in a case over an allegedly disproportionate allocation of property tax credits to minorities in Texas.

In 2008, the Inclusive Communities Project Inc. (ICP) lodged its disparate impact claim under the FHA, accusing the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs of disproportionately allocating tax credits to properties in minority-populated areas. ICP demanded an injunction requiring the department to allocate low-income housing tax credits in the Dallas metropolitan area in a manner that creates as many low-income housing tax credit-assisted units in nonminority census tracts as there are in minority census tracts, according to court filings. Ultimately, the district court ruled in favor of ICP on its disparate impact claim and imposed a structural injunction on the department.

The amicus briefs were part of ICP’s suit against the Texas department. The industry groups also took issue with a HUD rule purporting to establish burden-of-proof standards in disparate impact claims.

The plain language of the law says that a violation of the FHA requires that there be a proof of intent to discriminate, not merely a disproportionate effect that results from a policy that on its face is neutral, the groups said in amicus briefs filed Nov. 24.