April 13, 2016
April 13, 2016:- From now on, developers can be sued for housing discrimination in Massachusetts even if they did not intend to discriminate and complied with all applicable laws.
In a major decision, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) held that “a disparate impact claim is cognizable even if a defendant who is a private owner adheres to statutory, regulatory, and contractual obligations.” The case is Burbank Apartments Tenants Association v. Kargman and it is consistent with Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. Like SCOTUS, the SJC rationalized its decision by analogizing to employment law: “[W]e conclude from our employment discrimination precedent that… [the disparate impact] theory of liability is cognizable under G.L. c. 151B, §§ 4(6), (7), and (11).”
For my earlier post on the subject, click here.