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Case Name Hollman v. Cisneros PH-MN-0001
Docket / Court 4:92-cv-00712 ( D. Minn. )
State/Territory Minnesota
Case Type(s) Public Housing
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On July 27, 1992, fourteen minority families and the NAACP filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq., against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Minneapolis Public Housing ... read more >
On July 27, 1992, fourteen minority families and the NAACP filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq., against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, the Minneapolis Community Development Agency, and the city of Minneapolis.

The plaintiffs, represented by the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis, sought injunctive relief, claiming that the defendants' administration of Minneapolis public housing programs created and perpetuated racial segregation. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that public housing in Minneapolis was located, built, and operated under a longstanding policy of de jure racial segregation dating back to the 1930s, and that the defendants failed to remedy this segregation. For a detailed account of the origins of this suit and the history of Minneapolis public housing policy, see: Timothy L. Thompson, Promoting Mobility and Equal Opportunity: Hollman v. Cisneros, 5-SPG J. Affordable Housing & Community Dev. L. 237 (1996).

On July 5, 1994, the District Court (Judge James M. Rosenbaum) certified a class of all minority households participating in or on the wait list for public housing and section 8 voucher programs.

Three years into this case, and after two years of negotiations and extensive public hearings, the parties settled the lawsuit by signing a consent decree. The decree's terms are encompassed in an order, entered by the District Court (Judge Rosenbaum) on April 20, 1995. The agreement's stated purpose was:
[T]o set out a series of actions to be taken by Defendants which will promote equal housing opportunity, expand and maximize geographic choice in assisted housing, and encourage racial integration, by (1) deconcentrating racially concentrated public housing projects, (2) improving living conditions in remaining family public housing units, (3) relocating public housing units to areas outside of minority concentrations, (4) improving administration of the Section 8 Existing Housing program so as to remove barriers to effective choice, (5) expanding access to application opportunities for assisted housing, (6) developing means to encourage expansion of low-income housing opportunities in suburban cities in the metropolitan area, and (7) ensuring Defendants remain committed to preserving and expanding location choice and the goals of fair housing.
The consent decree contemplated a term of seven years to accomplish these goals, during which the District Court retained jurisdiction to resolve disputes between the parties. For a discussion of the implementation of the consent decree and the resultant social and political tensions, see: Ciara Carolyn Torres, Housing in the Heartland: An Examination of the Hollman v. Cisneros Consent Decree, the Politics of Racial Concentration and the Possibilities Offered by Democratic Experimentalism, 17 Nat'l Black L.J. 98 (2003).

For several years, the parties operated under the terms of the decree with little involvement by the court. During this time, the defendants began to demolish the 770 public housing units and relocate the 770 families at the center of the lawsuit. They also provided class members with an additional 900 section 8 vouchers, and began construction of the replacement housing.

In the late 1990s, there was a rental housing shortage in Minneapolis. This unforeseen occurrence prompted the NAACP, in its capacity as individual plaintiff, to move for a preliminary injunction and a modification of the consent decree. Specifically, the NAACP asked the District Court (Judge Rosenbaum) to enjoin the defendants from continuing demolition of the remaining public housing units, and to order the defendants instead to rehabilitate the old units, thereby better serving the immediate housing needs of the class members. The District Court denied the motion, reasoning that such an injunction and modification was beyond the scope of its dispute resolution power contemplated by the parties when signing the consent decree. Shortly thereafter, the defendants demolished the remaining units.

As work under the consent decree continued, it became apparent that the defendants would need more than seven years to fulfill their obligations. Accordingly, in July 2002, the parties extended the term of the decree and the jurisdiction of the District Court until November 1, 2004. In March 2004, the parties reaffirmed this extension, and the court ordered the case to be closed on November 1, 2004, allowing petitions to reopen the case until October 1, 2006.

Robert Lake - 06/29/2015

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Housing Authority
Housing Sales/Rental
Race discrimination
Housing assistance
Pattern or Practice
Public assistance grants
Racial segregation
Sanitation / living conditions
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Asian/Pacific Islander
Type of Facility
Causes of Action Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
Defendant(s) City of Minneapolis
Minneapolis Community Development Agency (MCDA)
Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA)
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Plaintiff Description Fourteen minority families residing in public housing and the Minnesota NAACP, individually and on behalf of a class of minority households participating in or on the wait list for public housing and section 8 voucher programs in Minneapolis.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1995 - 2004
Filed 07/27/1992
Case Closing Year 2004
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Hollman v Cisneros: The Hollman Consent Decree, A Policy Analysis
Augsburg University
Date: Dec. 21, 2004
By: David C. Broberg
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Urban Institute Baseline Assessment of Public Housing Desegregation Cases
Date: 2000
By: George Galster et al. (Urban Institute, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Faculty)
Citation: (2000)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

Court Docket(s)
D. Minn.
PH-MN-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Minn.
Consent Decree
PH-MN-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
D. Minn.
Order [ECF# 182]
PH-MN-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Minn.
Order [ECF# 222]
PH-MN-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Minn.
Stipulation and Order Regarding Production of Remaining Replacement Public Housing Units and Utilization of Remaining Vouchers [ECF# 229]
PH-MN-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Minn.
Stipulation and Amended Consent Decree [ECF# 274]
PH-MN-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Minn.
Stipulation and Order [ECF# 278]
PH-MN-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Noel, Franklin L. (D. Minn.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
Rosenbaum, James Michael (D. Minn.) show/hide docs
PH-MN-0001-0001 | PH-MN-0001-0002 | PH-MN-0001-0003 | PH-MN-0001-0004 | PH-MN-0001-0005 | PH-MN-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cooperstein, Eric T (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Dorsey, James E (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Hayes, Dennis Courtland (Maryland) show/hide docs
Magavern, Samuel D II (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Moyer, Cynthia A (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Rones, Stephanie (Maryland) show/hide docs
Thompson, Timothy L (Minnesota) show/hide docs
PH-MN-0001-0003 | PH-MN-0001-0005 | PH-MN-0001-9000
Vecsey, Corrina (Minnesota) show/hide docs
White, Thomas J (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Wider, Dorinda L (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Defendant's Lawyers Booth, Waverly Eby (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Burstein, Fred (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Cann, John D (Minnesota) show/hide docs
PH-MN-0001-0003 | PH-MN-0001-0005 | PH-MN-0001-9000
Carlson, Mary Ellen (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Diaz, Nelson A (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Gengler, William A. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Ginder, Peter W (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Humes, Joan D. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
PH-MN-0001-0005 | PH-MN-0001-9000
Hunger, Frank W. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Lansing, Carol E (Minnesota) show/hide docs
PH-MN-0001-0005 | PH-MN-0001-9000
Leitner, Patricia (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PH-MN-0001-0006 | PH-MN-0001-9000
Lewis, Donald M (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Lillehaug, David L (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Lindgren, Jay R (Minnesota) show/hide docs
McFarland, Dylan J (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Nauen, Charles N. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Newman, Niki M (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Norton, Michael T (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Schroeder, Tami L (California) show/hide docs
Seitel, Andrew H (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Small, Robert M (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Smith, Louis N (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Staunton, Kevin P (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Theisen, David D (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Thompson, Mark D (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Weismann, Anne L (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Other Lawyers Kushner, Jordan S. (Minnesota) show/hide docs

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