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Case Name NAACP, Boston Chapter v. Boston Housing Authority PH-MA-0002
Docket / Court 88-T-1155 ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Public Housing
Case Summary
This is a case about racially segregated public housing in Boston. On June 14, 1988, the Boston chapter of the NAACP filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The plaintiff sued the Boston Housing Authority (BHA), the mayor of Boston, the ... read more >
This is a case about racially segregated public housing in Boston. On June 14, 1988, the Boston chapter of the NAACP filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The plaintiff sued the Boston Housing Authority (BHA), the mayor of Boston, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Communities and Development, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981-1983, 3604, 3608; and Massachusetts state law.

The plaintiffs claimed that the BHA maintained racially segregated public housing by discouraging Black applicants to apply to its site-specific waiting lists in the predominantly white neighborhoods of South Boston, Charlestown, and East Boston. The plaintiffs also alleged that the BHA had violated multiple court orders and compliance agreements from previous lawsuits dating back to 1962, as recounted in Boston Housing Authority v. Atlanta Int'l Ins. Co. (where the defendants sued its insurance company to pay for litigation costs and damages). 781 F.Supp. 80 (D. Mass. 1992).

The case was assigned to Judge Joseph L. Tauro. According to a later opinion, the plaintiffs filed for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction on July 12, 1988. We do not have additional information about the contents or the outcome of that motion.

Although we don't have access to the initial litigation documents, it appears that on the first day scheduled for trial, the parties asked for a private conference with the judge. Judge Tauro agreed to work with both parties in order to reach a settlement instead of continuing with litigation.

After more than a year of negotiation, the court approved a settlement on October 4, 1989. As part of the agreement, the parties stipulated that the plaintiff class "include all minority applicants to the BHA who sought or inquired about BHA housing prior to June 14, 1988, and who have claimed or may claim to have been the subject of any discrimination based on race with respect to obtaining such housing." 723 F. Supp. 1554 (D. Mass. 1989).

The BHA agreed to integrate its white housing developments and pay damages. The BHA would pay $2,500 to each class member, except for those "housed as emergencies." Those housed as emergencies in developments where minorities predominated would receive $1,000. For minorities on a waiting list to live in the neighborhood of Charlestown as of February 1, 1988, the BHA would pay $500. The BHA also agreed to pay all named plaintiffs an aggregate amount of $120,000. Id.

Half of the BHA's payments was to be paid by April 15, 1990; another 25% would be paid for each of the following years. The payments would go into a Community Benefit Fund containing $250,000-$500,000 in order to promote fair housing efforts in Boston. This fund was jointly administered by the NAACP and the BHA. The BHA also agreed to provide quarterly progress reports. Id.

As stipulated by the settlement, the plaintiffs filed separately for attorneys' fees. On March 16, 1993, the court approved a settlement for the attorney's fees. We do not know the result of the settlement.

This case has finished.

Lauren Yu - 02/10/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Housing Authority
Discrimination-area
Housing Sales/Rental
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Housing
Housing assistance
Pattern or Practice
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Racial segregation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1981
42 U.S.C. § 1982
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
State law
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Defendant(s) Boston Housing Authority
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Massachusetts Executive Office of Communities and Development
Mayor of Boston
Plaintiff Description All minority applicants to the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) who sought or inquired about BHA housing prior to June 14, 1988, and who have claimed or may claim to have been the subject of any discrimination based on race with respect to obtaining such housing.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filed 06/14/1988
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  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. Mass.
08/24/1993
1:88-cv-1155
PH-MA-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Mass.
10/04/1989
Opinion (723 F.Supp. 1554)
PH-MA-0002-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
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Judges Tauro, Joseph Louis (D. Mass.) show/hide docs
PH-MA-0002-0001 | PH-MA-0002-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Arnwine, Barbara R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PH-MA-0002-0001
Cohen, Nadine M. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PH-MA-0002-0001
Peterson, Mary N. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PH-MA-0002-0001
Steinberg, Laura (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PH-MA-0002-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Bluestein, Richard M. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PH-MA-0002-0001
Budd, Wayne A. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PH-MA-0002-0001
Lundberg, Janet Steckel (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PH-MA-0002-0001
Solomon, Rod (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PH-MA-0002-0001
Wallis, Albert W. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
PH-MA-0002-0001

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