Fair Housing Act Disparate Impact Changes Halted - Massachusetts District Court Issues Stay and Injunction Against HUD

On October 25, 2020, Judge Mark Mastroianni of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued a stay and nationwide preliminary injunction against Secretary Ben Carson and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

This move halts HUD's changes to the disparate impact protections of the Fair Housing Act. The injunction prohibits the agency from implementing a new rule that would have would removed the ability of victims of housing discrimination to challenge policies and practices that have a disproportionate, discriminatory impact on people of color, women, immigrants, and people with disabilities. 

The first in the nation lawsuit was brought by the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center and Housing Works - who were represented by Lawyers for Civil Rights. The suit claimed the new rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and drew support and declarations from over a dozen community-based organizations, including Harborlight Community Partners (HCP) and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI). 

In his opinion, Judge Mastroianni sided with the plaintiffs' claim that the rule is arbitrary and capricious, as the rule does not appear to accomplish either of HUD’s stated aims. 

The decision granting the nationwide preliminary injunction against HUD can be found here