University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
Title "The Origins of Fair Lending Litigation"
Date Dec 4, 2008
Author Andrew Nash
Author Institution Washington University in St. Louis
Author Role Law Student
Paper [ PDF ]
External Link
Abstract This paper describes the origins of fair lending litigation in the 1970s. It documents two litigation strategies, one aimed at discriminatory lenders in local communities and a second at the federal lending regulators. Together, these two litigation strategies helped to establish the basic anti-lending discrimination framework that remains in place today. Rather than view these two strategies as distinct, however, this paper argues that they represented complementary efforts to establish an effective anti-discrimination strategy at local and national levels.

Part I provides a brief background on lending discrimination and early efforts to combat it. Part II describes the emergence of fair lending damages lawsuits in the 1970s; Laufman v. Oakley Building and Loan Company, the case that established that the Fair Housing Act prohibits redlining, receives extensive treatment. In Part III, the paper provides a detailed litigation case study of National Urban League v. Comptroller of the Currency, the class action lawsuit filed in 1976 against the four federal bank regulatory agencies that sought to compel federal action to eliminate racial discrimination in lending. This case study is based upon the litigation files of lead plaintiffs’ attorney William L. Taylor, which are stored at the Library of Congress, as well as upon interviews with several key litigation participants. Part IV concludes.

This Resource Relates To
case categoryFair Housing/Lending/Insurance
case issueHousing
case National Urban League v. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (FH-DC-0002)
case Laufman v. Oakley Building & Loan Company (FH-OH-0008)
person Taylor, William L. (DC)
person Laufman, Robert Franklin (OH)

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