Victory! Nationwide Injunction Against HUD


Victory! Fair Housing Organizations Secure Stay and Nationwide Preliminary Injunction Against HUD

Judge Mark Mastroianni of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts has issued a stay and nationwide preliminary injunction against Secretary Ben Carson and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), halting HUD’s overhaul of the disparate impact protections of the Fair Housing Act. The injunction prohibits the agency from implementing a new rule that would have taken effect today and would radically undercut the ability of victims of housing discrimination to challenge policies and practices that seem neutral, but have a disproportionate, discriminatory impact on people of color, women, immigrants, and people with disabilities. 

In a lawsuit filed in September —the first of its kind in the country — Plaintiffs Massachusetts Fair Housing Center and Housing Works claim the new rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which functions as a critical judicial check on agency action. The suit drew support and declarations from over a dozen community-based organizations, as well as amicus briefs from nationally-recognized partners in the battle for fair housing. In his opinion, Judge Mastroianni noted that it is likely the plaintiffs will succeed on their claim the rule is arbitrary and capricious, as the rule does not appear to accomplish either of HUD’s stated aims. 

“We are extremely pleased with the court’s decision,” said Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Executive Director of Lawyers for Civil Rights. “As we face both a global pandemic and an ever-worsening housing crisis, it is imperative that our most vulnerable community members know there are robust legal protections to combat barriers to housing opportunity.” 

“This decision is a victory for our courageous plaintiffs, for our tireless community allies, and for the rule of law,” said Lauren Sampson, Staff Attorney at Lawyers for Civil Rights, who successfully argued the groundbreaking preliminary injunction motion on behalf of the plaintiffs. “We will continue to hold this Administration accountable for its violations of law and continued attacks on the rights of people of color and immigrants.”

“The court acted correctly and cautiously in pausing the implementation of a poorly drafted rule that would have thrown victims, advocates, and judges into chaos,” said Scott Lewis, Partner at Anderson & Kreiger, a law firm providing pro bono support in the case. “Staying the rule while the court holds a full adjudication on the merits protects our clients from irreparable harm and is in the public interest.” 

Lawyers for Civil Rights and Anderson & Kreiger are co-counsel to the plaintiffs, Massachusetts Fair Housing Center and Housing Works

The decision granting the preliminary injunction is available here: