HDLI assists its members by filing briefs as amicus curiae
(friend of the court) in appropriate appellate cases, subject to
approval by HDLI's Board of Directors.
Bridgewaters v. Boston Housing Authority
On January 7, 2009 the Supreme Judicial Court of
Massachusetts handed down its
decision in Bridgewaters v. Boston Hous. Author.
involving a case where the housing authority argued, inter alia,
that it did not have a duty to consider whether a mentally disabled
tenant that committed a vicious violent act upon another tenant
was entitled to a reasonable accommodation that would avoid his
eviction from public housing. The tenant argued that he suffered
from bipolar disorder, that he had been unmedicated at the time
of the attack, and that the housing authority had a duty, but failed,
to explore the feasibility of a reasonable accommodation of his
disability before concluding that continuation of his tenancy would
constitute a threat to the safety of other tenants. Reversing prior
court decisions upholding the tenant's eviction, the supreme court
held that, by regulation, prior to moving to evict the tenant, a
housing authority has a duty to make an individualized assessment
as to whether a proposed accommodation will eliminate the direct
threat posed by the tenant. The court held that such an assessment
should be based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical
knowledge or on the best available objective evidence to ascertain:
the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability
that the potential injury will actually occur; and whether reasonable
modifications of policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate
the risk. It is important to note that this decision does not prevent
a housing authority from evicting a disabled tenant where it can
demonstrate that no accommodation is available that would protect
the health or safety of other tenants. Rather, it underscores the
requirement that housing authorities not automatically reject a
request for accommodation before making the individual assessment
as to whether the proposed accommodation would eliminate the disabled
tenant's direct threat to the health or safety of others.
is available here.
Ohio Civil Rights Comm. v.
Akron Metro. Housing Authority
HDLI submitted an amicus
brief in support of the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority. The
Supreme Court of Ohio, in a 7-0 decision, rejected the creation
of a “hostile living environment” claim in Ohio. You can access
the decision and HDLI’s
HDLI filed briefs to the Minnesota Supreme
Court in Hinneberg
v. Big Stone County Housing and Redevlopment Authority and
in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Johnson
v. Housing Authority of Jefferson Parish et al.
HDLI has been amicus to the
United States Supreme Court in these three cases:
Virginia v. Hicks,
The Housing Authority of the City of Dallas v.
Highlands of McKamy IV and V Community Improvement Association,
HUD v. Rucker, No. 00-1770