Case: Project Home v. City of Philadelphia

2:92-cv-07108 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Filed Date: Dec. 10, 1992

Closed Date: July 6, 1994

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In the early 1990s, the United States and a group of potential residents to a proposed home for homeless persons with mental illness and/or substance abuse problems, filed separate but related complaints in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the City of Philadelphia under the Fair Housing Act. In each case, the plaintiffs asked the Court to declare that the city's conduct constituted a violation of the Fair Housing Act by refusing to allow the use of a cert…

In the early 1990s, the United States and a group of potential residents to a proposed home for homeless persons with mental illness and/or substance abuse problems, filed separate but related complaints in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the City of Philadelphia under the Fair Housing Act. In each case, the plaintiffs asked the Court to declare that the city's conduct constituted a violation of the Fair Housing Act by refusing to allow the use of a certain building to house chronically homeless people who were mentally ill or recovering substance abusers. More specifically, the plaintiffs argued that though the building in question did not have a rear yard, as required by the Zoning Code, the building was built prior to the passage of the Zoning Code and therefore should be granted nonconforming status, meaning that it could be used as a housing facility so long as it was not extended in any way so as to increase the nonconformity.

Project H.O.M.E., a Pennsylvania non-profit organization, provides a continuum of services to homeless men who are mentally ill and/or recovering substance abuser. After acquiring two adjacent buildings at 1515 and 1523 Fairmount Avenue, H.O.M.E. attempted to get permission from the city to use these buildings as "Single Room Occupancy" (SRO) facilities which would benefit many of the residents who had been doing well in the shared facilities. Not only would the new facility provide successful current residents with more privacy and control over their environment, but it would open up beds in the shared rooms for homeless individuals who needed them.

On August 9, 1990, H.O.M.E. applied for a zoning and use permit for 1515-1523 Fairmount Avenue. The Philadelphia Department of Licensing and Inspections granted their permit. Two civic associations that had publicly opposed the introduction into the neighborhood of a new residential facility for handicapped persons, appealed the grant of the permit, arguing that the building failed to meet the requirements The building at 1515 Fairmont did not meet the requirements but because it was built before 1932 when the Zoning Code took effect, it constituted a permitted nonconforming structure.

On July 5, 1991, the Zoning Board upheld the permit, reasoning that charitable organizations were exempt under the Zoning Code from having a rear yard requirement. The civil associations appealed to the Court of Common Pleas which reversed the Zoning Board's decision on December 19, 1991, arguing that there was no charitable exemption in the Code. Project H.O.M.E. then appealed to the Commonwealth Court, which reversed the decision of the Court of Common Pleas and reinstated the permit on November 10, 1992. On February 10, 1993, the civil associations filed a petition for allowing of appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had not yet acted on that petition when the plaintiffs sued in federal district court.

On March 31, 1993, both the plaintiff United States and the defendant city of Philadelphia filed cross-motions for summary judgment. Oral arguments on these cross motions were set for November 3, 1993. After oral arguments, U.S. District Court Judge Louis H. Pollak issued an opinion stating that the plaintiffs had established a violation of the Fair Housing Act, and granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on November 19, 1993; he denied the city's motions for summary judgment. 838 F.Supp. 223.

The city appealed on November 22, 1993, and the judgment was affirmed. 30 F.3d 1488. The docket shows no further litigation. According to plaintiffs' counsel's website, after the district court "ordered the City to issue the necessary permits, . . . the project was completed and thousands of homeless persons have found decent housing, training, and medical services." The case is closed.

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (4/9/2009)

Saeeda Joseph-Charles (11/3/2016)

People


Judge(s)

Pollak, Louis Heilprin (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Dunne, John R. (District of Columbia)

Hancock, Paul F. (District of Columbia)

Handley, Harvey L. III (District of Columbia)

Votaw, Catherine (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Eichert, Michael F. (Pennsylvania)

Harris, Judith E. (Pennsylvania)

Jordan, James B. (Pennsylvania)

Russo, Debora M (Pennsylvania)

Judge(s)

Pollak, Louis Heilprin (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Dunne, John R. (District of Columbia)

Hancock, Paul F. (District of Columbia)

Handley, Harvey L. III (District of Columbia)

Votaw, Catherine (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Eichert, Michael F. (Pennsylvania)

Harris, Judith E. (Pennsylvania)

Jordan, James B. (Pennsylvania)

Russo, Debora M (Pennsylvania)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2:92-cv-07108

Docket

U.S. v. City of Philadelphia

July 6, 1994

July 6, 1994

Docket
168

2:92-cv-07108

Opinion

United States v. City of Philadelphia

838 F.Supp. 223

Nov. 19, 1993

Nov. 19, 1993

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated July 20, 2022, 3:02 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

Complaint. (mrs) Modified on 12/11/1992 (Entered: 12/11/1992)

Dec. 10, 1992

Dec. 10, 1992

Summons(es) issued Forwarded to: counsel 12/11/92 (mrs) (Entered: 12/11/1992)

Dec. 10, 1992

Dec. 10, 1992

Standard Case Management Track. (mrs) (Entered: 12/11/1992)

Dec. 10, 1992

Dec. 10, 1992

2

Answer to Complaint by DEFENDANT CITY OF PHILADELPHIA (Attorney JUDITH E. HARRIS), Certificate of Service. (gn) (Entered: 01/26/1993)

Jan. 25, 1993

Jan. 25, 1993

3

STIPULATION AND ORDER THAT THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA IS HEREBY GIVEN A TWENTY (20) DAY EXTENSION IN WHICH TO ANSWER, OR OTHERWISE PLEAD TO THE COMPLAINT OF PLAINTIFF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA'S RESPONSIVE PLEADING IS NOW DUE ON OR BEFORE 1/23/93 (ATTORNEY: JAMES B. JORDAN) ( SIGNED BY JUDGE LOUIS H. POLLAK ) 1/28/93 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (fe) (Entered: 01/28/1993)

Jan. 27, 1993

Jan. 27, 1993

4

Amended answer to complaint by DEFENDANT CITY OF PHILADELPHIA : amends [2 − 1] answer, Certificate of Service. (gn) (Entered: 01/29/1993)

Jan. 28, 1993

Jan. 28, 1993

5

ORDER, SET STATUS CONFERENCE FOR 9:00 2/3/93 IN ROOM 16613 ( SIGNED BY JUDGE LOUIS H. POLLAK ) 1/29/93 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED BY CHAMBERS. (gn) (Entered: 01/29/1993)

Jan. 29, 1993

Jan. 29, 1993

6

ORDER, SET SCHEDULING ORDER DEADLINES: DISCOVERY DEADLINE ON 3/17/93; DEADLINE FOR FILING OF DISPOSITIVE MOTIONS BY 3/31/93; PLAINTIFF'S PRETRIAL MEMORANDUM DUE 4/21/93; DEFENDANT'S PRETRIAL MEMORANDUM DUE 4/21/93 . IF MOTIONS ARE FILED, A JOINT PRETRIAL MEMO WILL BE DUE THREE WEEKS AFTER THE DISPOSITION OF SAID MOTIONS IN THIS ACTION REMAINS OPEN. ( SIGNED BY JUDGE LOUIS H. POLLAK ) 2/4/93 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (gn) Modified on

Feb. 4, 1993

Feb. 4, 1993

8

MOTION by DEFENDANT CITY OF PHILADELPHIA FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT , MEMORANDUM, CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE. (ph) (Entered: 04/01/1993)

March 31, 1993

March 31, 1993

9

STIPULATION AND ORDER, EXTENDING TIME FOR BOTH PLFF AND DEFT TO RESPOND TO CROSS MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT RESPONSE TO MOTION reset to 4/19/93 for [7 − 1] MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, reset to 4/19/93 for [8 − 1] MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ( SIGNED BY JUDGE LOUIS H. POLLAK ) 4/20/93 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (gn) (Entered: 04/20/1993)

April 20, 1993

April 20, 1993

10

STIPULATION AND ORDER, EXTENDING TIME FOR BOTH PARTIES TO RESPOND TO THE CROSS MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT RESPONSE TO MOTION reset to 4/26/93 for [7 − 1] MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, reset to 4/26/93 for [8 − 1] MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ( SIGNED BY JUDGE LOUIS H. POLLAK ) 4/20/93 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (gn) (Entered: 04/20/1993)

April 20, 1993

April 20, 1993

11

Memorandum by PLAINTIFF UNITED STATES in opposition to [8 − 1] MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, Certificate of Service. (gn) (Entered: 04/26/1993)

April 26, 1993

April 26, 1993

12

Response by DEFENDANT CITY OF PHILADELPHIA to [7 − 1] MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, Certificate of Service. (gn) (Entered: 04/27/1993)

April 26, 1993

April 26, 1993

13

Reply Memorandum by PLAINTIFF UNITED STATES in support of [7 − 1] MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, Certificate of Service. (gn) (Entered: 05/10/1993)

May 10, 1993

May 10, 1993

14

Notice of Decision by PLAINTIFF UNITED STATES (gn) (Entered: 05/24/1993)

May 24, 1993

May 24, 1993

15

Notice of Decision by PLAINTIFF UNITED STATES, Certificate of Service. (gn) (Entered: 07/21/1993)

July 21, 1993

July 21, 1993

16

Additional Submission of Fact by plff, Certificate of Service. (gn) (Entered: 10/28/1993)

Oct. 27, 1993

Oct. 27, 1993

17

ORDER, THAT ORAL ARGUMENT ON CROSS MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT WILL BE HELD ON 11/3/93 AT 10:00 A.M. IN COURTROOM 16 − B ( SIGNED BY JUDGE LOUIS H. POLLAK ) 10/28/93 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (gn) (Entered: 10/28/1993)

Oct. 28, 1993

Oct. 28, 1993

18

ORDER, MOTION HEARING set for 1:00 11/5/93 for [7 − 1] MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, set for 1:00 11/5/93 for [8 − 1] MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN COURTROOM 16 − B ( SIGNED BY JUDGE LOUIS H. POLLAK ) 11/3/93 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED BY CHAMBERS. (gn) (Entered: 11/03/1993)

Nov. 3, 1993

Nov. 3, 1993

19

Minute entry: Oral Argument 11/3/93. Argued sur: Cross motions for summary judgment. (gn) (Entered: 11/05/1993)

Nov. 4, 1993

Nov. 4, 1993

20

Minute entry: Telephone Conference 11/3/93. (gn) (Entered: 11/05/1993)

Nov. 4, 1993

Nov. 4, 1993

21

Supplemental Declaration of Mark E. Levin in support of the motions for summary judgment and declaratory relief. (gn) (Entered: 11/05/1993)

Nov. 5, 1993

Nov. 5, 1993

22

Minute entry: Oral argument 11/5/93. Argued sur: Cross motions for summary judgment. (gn) (Entered: 11/09/1993)

Nov. 9, 1993

Nov. 9, 1993

23

Supplemental Memorandum by DEFENDANT CITY OF PHILADELPHIA in support of [8 − 1] MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT and in opposition to plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, Certificate of service (ph) (Entered: 11/12/1993)

Nov. 10, 1993

Nov. 10, 1993

24

OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING [7 − 1] MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; DENYING [8 − 1] MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ( SIGNED BY JUDGE LOUIS POLLAK ) 11/19/93 ENTERED AND COPIES

Nov. 19, 1993

Nov. 19, 1993

25

ORDER THAT JUDGMENT IS ENTERED IN FAVOR OF THE PLFF, USA & AGAINST DEFT, CITY OF PHILA. ( SIGNED BY JUDGE LOUIS H. POLLAK ) 11/22/93 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (gn) (Entered: 11/22/1993)

Nov. 19, 1993

Nov. 19, 1993

26

Notice of appeal by DEFENDANT CITY OF PHILADELPHIA from the order entered on 11/19/93. Fee Status: $105.00 . Appeal record due on 12/22/93 Copies to: JUDGE LOUIS H. POLLAK , Clerk USCA, Appeals Clerk, and MICHAEL F. EICHERT, DEBORA M. RUSSO, JAMES B. JORDAN, E. HARRIS, HARVEY L. HANDLEY III, PAUL F. HANCOCK, JOHN R. DUNNE, CATHERINE VOTAW, Certificate of Service. (gn) (Entered: 11/23/1993)

Nov. 22, 1993

Nov. 22, 1993

27

Copy of Clerk's notice to USCA re: [26 − 1] appeal . (gn) (Entered: 11/23/1993)

Nov. 22, 1993

Nov. 22, 1993

Notice of Docketing ROA from USCA Re: [26 − 1] appeal USCA NUMBER: 93 − 2095 . 11/30/93 (gn) (Entered: 11/30/1993)

Nov. 29, 1993

Nov. 29, 1993

28

Copy of TPO form ref: [26 − 1] appeal . (gn) (Entered: 12/09/1993)

Dec. 8, 1993

Dec. 8, 1993

29

Transcript of Hearing 11/5/93. (kv) (Entered: 06/09/1994)

Dec. 30, 1993

Dec. 30, 1993

RECORD COMPLETE FOR PURPOSES OF APPEAL. (mc) (Entered: 01/06/1994)

Jan. 6, 1994

Jan. 6, 1994

30

Certified copy of order from USCA dated 7/5/94 Re: [26 − 1] appeal. Order by this court that the judgment of the district court entered 11/22/93 is hereby affirmed. Costs taxed against appellant. (gn) (Entered: 07/06/1994)

July 6, 1994

July 6, 1994

Case Details

State / Territory: Pennsylvania

Case Type(s):

Public Benefits/Government Services

Key Dates

Filing Date: Dec. 10, 1992

Closing Date: July 6, 1994

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The United States and a group of potential residents to a proposed home for homeless persons with mental illness and/or substance abuse problems.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

City of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, Philadelphia), City

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

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

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 1993 - None

Content of Injunction:

Discrimination Prohibition

Issues

General:

Housing

Poverty/homelessness

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

Least restrictive environment

Mental impairment