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Supreme Court soon will rule on 13 important cases
     (WASHINGTON, May 28, 2015) -- he Supreme Court is heading into the final month of its annual term.
     In a potentially historic ruling, the court will decide whether same-sex couples have a right to marry nationwide, culminating a two-decade legal and political fight for marriage equality.
     Another much-anticipated decision will be whether the Obama administration may continue to subsidize health insurance for low- and middle-income people who buy coverage in the 36 states that failed to establish an official insurance exchange of their own and instead use a federally run version.
     If the court rules against the Obama administration, about 8.6 million people could lose their subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.
     Between now and late June, the court will hand down more than two dozen decisions on matters such as politics, civil rights, free speech and air pollution. Several of these cases have been pending for months, suggesting the justices have been sharply split. FULL STORY at flcourier.com

Tentative settlement reached in discrimination case
     (EFFINGTON, ILL., May 28, 2015) -- An attorney representing three former residents of Four Seasons Estates Mobile Home Park in a housing discrimination case said Wednesday that the issue has tentatively been settled — but declined to provide details.
     In the case filed in federal court last year, authorities alleged systematic attempts by the mobile home park to keep African-Americans from living there.
     The plaintiffs’ attorney, Thomas Kennedy III of Alton, declined additional comment in an e-mail to the Effingham Daily News. A settlement conference had lasted well into Tuesday evening, he noted. FULL STORY at effinghamdailynews.com

HUD and Virginia landlord settle allegations of discrimination against tenants with disabilities
     (WASHINGTON, May 26, 2015) -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today an agreement with Roanoke, Virginia-based Retirement Unlimited, Inc. resolving allegations of discrimination against residents with disabilities in two of the company’s rental properties. The settlement requires Retirement Unlimited to pay $169,500 in damages. Read HUD’s agreement with Retirement Unlimited.
     The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. This includes requiring persons with disabilities to pay additional security deposits or to buy liability insurance because they use motorized wheelchairs.
     The case came to HUD’s attention when two residents and Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME), a non-profit fair housing organization based in Richmond, Virginia, filed complaints alleging that Retirement Unlimited required residents who use motorized wheelchairs or scooters to pay a $1,500 security deposit, acquire a minimum of $100,000 in liability insurance, and sign an agreement stating that approval of the motorized wheelchairs could be withdrawn if payments to maintain the required insurance policies were not made. FULL STORY at portal.hud.gov

Tennessee home owners association settles disability discrimination lawsuit for $156,000
     (NASHVILLE, May 26, 2015) -- The Chestnut Bend Home Owners Association (CBHOA) in Franklin, Tenn., has settled a federal lawsuit filed against it in early 2012 for $156,000.
     The Plaintiffs, Charles and Melanie Hollis and their youngest two children, both of whom have Down Syndrome, filed the suit on Feb. 2, 2012, with Larry Crain of Crain, Schuette & Associates, a Brentwood law firm, and Tracey McCartney, Executive Director of the Tennessee Fair Housing Council, representing them. Meagan Dolleris, the Council’s staff attorney, also assisted in the litigation.
     The suit alleged that, throughout most of 2011, the CBHOA’s Architectural Review Committee (ARC) refused to allow the Hollis family to create a sun room to be used as a therapeutic area for the young children to receive physical therapy and to play in a safe environment, either because they disagreed with the family’s design choices or deemed the applications incomplete. Because of the manifestations of the children’s disabilities, the Hollises needed the sun room to house therapy equipment for stimulation and development. FULL STORY by the Tennessee Fair Housing Council

HUD & Associated Bank reach historic $200 million settlement of 'REDLINING' claim
     (WASHINGTON, May 26, 2015) -- he U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced an agreement with Associated Bank, N.A. (Associated) to resolve a disparate treatment redlining case, one of the largest redlining complaints brought by the federal government against a mortgage lender. At approximately $200 million, it is the largest settlement of this kind HUD has ever reached.
     The settlement stems from a HUD Secretary-initiated complaint alleging that from 2008-2010, the Wisconsin-based bank engaged in discriminatory lending practices regarding the denial of mortgage loans to African-American and Hispanic applicants and the provision of loan services in neighborhoods with significant African-American or Hispanic populations. Read the agreement here.
     "This settlement sends a strong message that HUD does not tolerate practices that unfairly restrict an equal and open housing market," said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. "Discriminatory lending practices have too often cut off too many credit-worthy families from the opportunities they need to thrive. This agreement will ensure that more Americans can fulfill their hopes and aspirations." FULL STORY at portal.hud.gov

Wall Street Could Win Big If SCOTUS Guts Fair Housing Act
     (WASHINGTON, May 22, 2015) -- If the state of Texas prevails in a civil rights case about to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, landlords and developers will have an easier time defending themselves in housing discrimination lawsuits.
     But the biggest beneficiary of a win for Texas could well be Wall Street.
     The case alleges that the way Texas allocates low-income housing credits violates the 1968 Fair Housing Act, an issue with little direct connection to banking. But trade groups representing banks and other financial services companies hope that the high court will set a legal precedent in its ruling that could also be used to defend against lending discrimination lawsuits. FULL STORY by Reuters

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