Case: Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co.

3:70-cv-01754 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Filed Date: Aug. 18, 1970

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1970, two residents of the Parkmerced complex of apartments and town houses in San Francisco filed a lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1982 and the fair housing provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that defendant Metropolitan Life Insurance Company was engaging in discriminatory housing practices. Plaintiffs claimed that, because of the discriminatory practices, they lost the social benefits of li…

In 1970, two residents of the Parkmerced complex of apartments and town houses in San Francisco filed a lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1982 and the fair housing provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that defendant Metropolitan Life Insurance Company was engaging in discriminatory housing practices. Plaintiffs claimed that, because of the discriminatory practices, they lost the social benefits of living in an integrated community, they missed business and professional advantages which would have accrued if they had lived with members of minority groups, and they suffered embarrassment and economic damage in social, business, and professional activities from being "stigmatized" as residents of a "white ghetto."

On February 10, 1971, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Judge Robert H. Schnacke) dismissed both the complaint and the complaint in intervention due to lack of standing, noting that the plaintiffs had not alleged, "nor can they, that they themselves have been denied any of the rights granted by Title VIII or by 42 U.S.C. § 1982 to purchase or rent real property." Trafficante v. Metropolitan, 322 F.Supp. 352 (N.D. California 1971). On August 6, 1971, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Judge Elizabeth J. Jameson) affirmed the District Court's order of dismissal. Trafficante v. Metropolitan, 446 F.2d 1158 (9th Cir. 1971). The Supreme Court granted certiorari on February 22, 1972. Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 405 U.S. 915 (1972). On December 7, 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court (Justice William O. Douglas) reversed the Circuit Court order, holding that the definition in § 810(a) of "person aggrieved" as "any person who claims to have been injured by a discriminatory housing practice," shows a congressional intention to define standing as broadly as is permitted by Article III of the Constitution, and petitioners, being tenants of the apartment complex, have standing to sue under § 810(a). Trafficante v. Metropolitan, 409 U.S. 205 (1972). On remand to the District Court, the case was subsequently settled.

We have no further information on this matter.

Summary Authors

Brandon Brown (7/11/2007)

People


Judge(s)

Carter, Oliver Jesse (California)

Douglas, William Orville (District of Columbia)

Jameson, Elizabeth J. (California)

Powell, Lewis Franklin Jr. (District of Columbia)

Schnacke, Robert Howard (California)

White, Byron Raymond (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bomse, Stephen V. (California)

Brown, Margaret D. (California)

Clyde, George H. Jr. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Kilmartin, Richard J. (California)

Judge(s)

Carter, Oliver Jesse (California)

Douglas, William Orville (District of Columbia)

Jameson, Elizabeth J. (California)

Powell, Lewis Franklin Jr. (District of Columbia)

Schnacke, Robert Howard (California)

White, Byron Raymond (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bomse, Stephen V. (California)

Brown, Margaret D. (California)

Clyde, George H. Jr. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Kilmartin, Richard J. (California)

Shea, Robert M. (California)

Steefel, Edward R. (California)

Other Attorney(s)

Browning, James L. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Greenberg, Jack (New York)

Griswold, Erwin N. (District of Columbia)

Nabrit, James M. III (New York)

Norman, David L. (District of Columbia)

Schwelb, Frank E. (District of Columbia)

Turner, William Bennett (California)

Wallace, Lawrence G. (District of Columbia)

Wiggers, Edward (District of Columbia)

Williams, Oscar (California)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Chambers, Richard Harvey (Arizona)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Motions to Dismiss

Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company

Dec. 8, 1970 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Memorandum Opinion and Order Dismissing Complaint and Complaint in Intervention

Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company

322 F.Supp. 352

Feb. 10, 1971 Order/Opinion

[Order Affirming District Court Dismissal]

Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

446 F.2d 1158

Aug. 6, 1971 Order/Opinion

Brief for the United States as Amicus Curiae

Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company

Supreme Court of the United States

Oct. 1, 1971 Pleading / Motion / Brief

[Cert. Granted]

Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company

Supreme Court of the United States

405 U.S. 915, 92 S.Ct. 945, 30 L.Ed.2d 784

Feb. 22, 1972 Order/Opinion

Order [Reversing and Remanding]

Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company

Supreme Court of the United States

409 U.S. 205, 93 S.Ct. 364, 34 L.Ed.2d 415

Dec. 7, 1972 Order/Opinion

Brief for the United States as Amicus Curiae

Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

None Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Title Description External URL

The Oyez Project, Trafficante v Metropolitan Life Ins., 409 U.S. 205 (1972).

Oyez Project

Information about the Supreme Court litigation in this case, including the written opinion and an audio recording of the oral argument. Feb. 7, 1972 http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1972/1972_71_708/

Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company

Oyez

Summary of Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and oral argument recording. Nov. 7, 1972 https://www.oyez.org/cases/1972/71-708

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 18, 1970

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Tenants of apartment complex challenging allegedly racially discriminatory practices of landlord. Because of landlord's discrimination against nonwhites, the tenants say they lost social benefits of living in an integrated community.

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Private Entity/Person

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

U.S. Supreme Court merits opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement