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Case Name U.S. ex rel. Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York, Inc. v. Westchester Co. FH-NY-0012
Docket / Court 1:06-cv-02860-DLC ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Attorney Organization Relman, Dane & Colfax
Case Summary
On April 12, 2006, the Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York ("ADC") filed this lawsuit under the False Claims Act against Westchester County in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York. In False Claims Act cases, sometimes called "qui tam" actions, the private ... read more >
On April 12, 2006, the Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York ("ADC") filed this lawsuit under the False Claims Act against Westchester County in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York. In False Claims Act cases, sometimes called "qui tam" actions, the private instigator of the case is called the "relator"; the plaintiff is the United States, and the relator seeks damages because of harm caused to the United States; by statute, those damages go mostly the federal government with the relator keeping a share. Represented by the law firm Relman & Dane, ADC asked the Court for monetary and injunctive relief, claiming that Westchester County, in violation of the False Claims Act, falsely certified that it was in compliance with certain provisions of the Fair Housing and Community Development Acts, resulting in over $45 million in damages to the United States. As normally occurs in False Claims Act cases, the complaint was filed under seal, to give the U.S. time to review it and decide whether to join in the litigation. This was the first case ever in which fair housing litigation was conducted via a False Claims Act case. The U.S. initially declined to intervene, and the complaint was unsealed and served on Westchester in January 2007.

ADC claimed that between 2000 and 2006, the County falsely certified that the County had affirmatively furthered fair housing. The suit alleged that the County failed to analyze impediments to fair housing choice based on race or municipal resistance, and chose not to take appropriate steps to overcome such impediments.

The County moved to dismiss, but the Court (Judge Denise L. Cote) rejected that motion in July 2007. 495 F.Supp.2d 375 (S.D.N.Y. 2007). After discovery, in February 2009, Judge Cote granted partial summary judgment for ADC, 668 F.Supp.2d 548 (S.D.N.Y. 2009). The Court found that the County had not analyzed the racial impact of various practices as it claimed it had, and had thereby submitted false certifications to the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"). Since the County had submitted false certifications to receive approximately $52 million from HUD, it was liable for over $150 million in damages pursuant to the treble damages provision of the FCA. A trial was scheduled to determine whether the violation had been willful.

In April 2009 (under the new Obama administration) the U.S reconsidered its decision not to intervene and elected to proceed with this action, filing its own complaint on August 10, 2009. The Government's complaint alleged violations of the FCA and of the Housing and Community Development Act. Simultaneously, the Government submitted an executed settlement of the litigation, agreeable to all parties. Under the settlement, the County agreed to spend $52 million to develop new affordable housing in white municipalities of the County, and also to pay $7.5 million as a relator's share to the ADC, and $2.5 million in attorney's fees.

In addition, the settlement required Westchester to: 1) adopt as its policy the elimination of residential segregation, and to implement the settlement in a way that develops housing on those Census blocks that currently have the lowest concentrations of African‐Americans and Latinos, 2) take legal action against resistant municipalities where needed to fulfill the affirmatively furthering fair housing purposes of the settlement, and 3) conduct a new analysis of impediments to fair housing choice that examines barriers based on race or on municipal resistance. The agreement included penalty provisions for non‐compliance. In addition, performance of the obligations was to be done by an independent monitor, and the parties agreed that the Court would retain jurisdiction over the case. Specific remedial plans were to be implemented through 2016.

On July 13, 2011, HUD notified the County that it had failed to meet a consent decree requirement when the County Executive vetoed legislation to incorporate corrective actions to promote source-of-income legislation and plans to overcome exclusionary zoning practices. On November 17, 2011, the Monitor submitted a report stating that the County breached its obligation in the consent decree. The County formally objected to this determination on December 7, 2011. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein sustained the County's objection, concluding that it did not violate its duty to promote source-of-income legislation. The U.S. then filed an objection with the district court, seeking review of the Magistrate Judge's decision.

On May 3, 2012, Judge Cote overruled the Magistrate Judge's opinion, and adopted all sections of the Monitor's original report. 2012 WL 1574819 (S.D.N.Y. 2012). On May 15, 2012, the County filed a Notice of Appeal with the United States Court of Appeals. Defendant moved for a stay during appeal, but Judge Cote denied that motion on May 17, 2012. On May 29, 2013, the Court of Appeals (Judge Rosemary S. Pooler) affirmed the District Court decision, agreeing that the County violated the terms of the consent decree, and allowing the full adoption of the Monitor's Report. 712 F.3d 761 (2nd Cir. 2013).

Over the next several years, the monitor found instances of noncompliance, which were addressed in court. In particular, the monitor found that the county breached § 33(c) by not timely creating, funding, and implementing sufficient public information campaigns to "broaden support for fair housing and to promote the fair and equitable distribution of affordable housing in all communities, including public outreach specifically addressing the benefits of mixed-income housing and racially and ethnically integrated communities." The monitor found these breaches to be in bad faith. The court contended that as a result of this breach, the county hindered itself from meeting one of its chief settlement obligations - ensuring the development of at least 750 new affordable housing units. On June 27, 2016, the court ordered the release of videotapes of depositions taken from County officials in 2015 in response to this noncompliance, and that the tapes be made available to the public. The County appealed the order, but the Second Circuit affirmed the order on March 10, 2017.

The monitor also found the County to be in noncompliance with § 32 of the Settlement, which required it to complete "an analysis of impediments to fair housing choice within its jurisdiction (AI)." Accordingly, on July 18, 2016, the court ordered the County to "retain a consultant to prepare an AI that is acceptable to HUD." The County appealed this order as well, but the Second Circuit again affirmed the district court's decision on June 21, 2017. 689 F. App'x 71 (2d Cir. 2017).

However, according to a news article on July 14, 2017 the Trump Administration HUD accepted a version of the county's AI that the county legislature's majority leader described as "essentially the same" as the previous version which had been rejected by HUD the year prior. Since the settlement required the County to take actions only through 2016, after HUD's position changed, there were no more issues remaining in the case.

On November 20, 2017, the defendants submitted their final monthly status report and there has been no substantive docket activity since November 2017. The case is now closed.

Dan Osher - 06/28/2013
Asma Husain - 02/14/2016
Virginia Weeks - 02/22/2018
Hope Brinn - 05/03/2020
Jonah Hudson-Erdman - 10/28/2020

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Content of Injunction
Comply with advertising/recruiting requirements
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Goals (e.g., for hiring, admissions)
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Housing Sales/Rental
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
Disparate Impact
Housing assistance
Racial segregation
National Origin/Ethnicity
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
Defendant(s) Westchester County
Plaintiff Description Anti-Discrimination Center of New York, in the interest of minorities who were unable to obtain affordable housing in predominantly white communities in Westchester County. Since this is a "qui tam" action, ADC appears in the stead of the United States, which was the victim of the alleged false claims at issue in the case.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Relman, Dane & Colfax
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2009 - 2017
Filed 04/12/2006
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Overcoming Structural Barriers to Integrated Housing: A Back-to-the-Future Reflection on the Fair Housing Act's "Affirmatively Further" Mandate
Date: 2001-2012
By: Robert G. Schwemm (University of Kentucky Faculty)
Citation: 100 Ky. L.J. 125 (2011-2012)
[ Detail ]

  Housing Settlement
Westchester County
Date: Aug. 9, 2010
By: Westchester County
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Origins of Fair Lending Litigation
Date: Dec. 4, 2008
By: Andrew Nash (Washington University in St. Louis Law Student)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
FH-NY-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
not recorded
Anti-Discrimination Center Wins Unprecedented $62.5 Million Settlement In Housing De-Segregation Case Against Westchester County
FH-NY-0012-0001.pdf | Detail
False Claims Act Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial
FH-NY-0012-0007.pdf | Detail
Opinion and Order [ECF# 48] (495 F.Supp.2d 375)
FH-NY-0012-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Defendant's Memorandum in Support of Motion of Summary Judgment [ECF# 86]
FH-NY-0012-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Memorandum in Support of Motion For Partial Summary Judgment [ECF# 90]
FH-NY-0012-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion & Order [ECF# 118] (668 F.Supp.2d 548)
FH-NY-0012-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 137] (2009 WL 970866)
FH-NY-0012-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Opinion and Order [ECF# 299] (2009 WL 1108517)
FH-NY-0012-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Order of Settlement and Dismissal [ECF# 320]
FH-NY-0012-0009.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 396] (2012 WL 917367 / 2012 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 36017)
FH-NY-0012-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion & Order [ECF# 402] (2012 WL 1574819 / 2012 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 62424)
FH-NY-0012-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 122-1] (712 F.3d 761)
FH-NY-0012-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Letter to Judge Denise Cote from Craig Gurian [ECF# 464]
FH-NY-0012-0013.pdf | External Link | Detail
Opinion and Order [ECF# 659] (2020 WL 3945679)
FH-NY-0012-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Cote, Denise (S.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0012-0002 | FH-NY-0012-0003 | FH-NY-0012-0004 | FH-NY-0012-0006 | FH-NY-0012-0009 | FH-NY-0012-0010 | FH-NY-0012-0014 | FH-NY-0012-9000
Gorenstein, Gabriel W. (S.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
FH-NY-0012-0011 | FH-NY-0012-9000
Pooler, Rosemary S. (N.D.N.Y., Second Circuit) show/hide docs
Monitors/Masters Johnson, James E. (New York) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allen, Michael Gerhart (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0012-0005 | FH-NY-0012-9000
Cenawood, Sean Chance (New York) show/hide docs
Cott, James (New York) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0012-0009 | FH-NY-0012-9000
Dane, Stephen M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0012-0005 | FH-NY-0012-9000
Eshkenazi, Lara K. (New York) show/hide docs
Flannery, John Martin (Connecticut) show/hide docs
Gurian, Craig (New York) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0012-0007 | FH-NY-0012-0013 | FH-NY-0012-9000 | FH-NY-0012-9000
Kennedy, David J. (New York) show/hide docs
Relman, John Peter (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0012-0005 | FH-NY-0012-9000
Stroup, Robert H (New York) show/hide docs
Torrance, Benjamin H. (New York) show/hide docs
Yankwitt, Russel Marc (New York) show/hide docs
Defendant's Lawyers Adin, Justin Richard (New York) show/hide docs
Alesio, Lori Ann (New York) show/hide docs
Arcuri, Carol F. (New York) show/hide docs
Brady, Shannon Sarles (New York) show/hide docs
Cardoso, Anthony Francisco (New York) show/hide docs
Castro-Blanco, James Francis (New York) show/hide docs
Corcoran, Carrie (New York) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0012-0008 | FH-NY-0012-9000
Gerson, Stuart M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0012-0008 | FH-NY-0012-0009 | FH-NY-0012-9000
Kalish, Michael A. (New York) show/hide docs
FH-NY-0012-0008 | FH-NY-0012-9000
Meehan, Robert F (New York) show/hide docs
Miklave, Matthew Thaddeus (New York) show/hide docs
Rodriguez, Adam (New York) show/hide docs
Rotini, Melissa-Jean (New York) show/hide docs
Sokoloff, Brian S. (New York) show/hide docs
Other Lawyers Levy, Jerrold M. (New York) show/hide docs
Rosman, Michael E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Wang, Mariann Meier (New York) show/hide docs

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