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Disparate impact case fails to obtain Supreme Court review

According to The Inquirer out of Philadelphia, Mount Holly Township settled its Mount Holly Gardens housing discrimination case by agreeing to build 44 homes in a blighted neighborhood, providing those homes to families already living there. The publication wrote:

"This is what the plaintiffs have always wanted: to be able to stay in their community once it's been revitalized," said Olga Pomar, a South Jersey Legal Services lawyer who has represented the plaintiffs throughout the case. "We've been seeking this for 10 years."

But the settlement is a major blow for lenders that want clarity on the disparate impact legal theory that plaintiffs attorneys have been using in housing discrimination cases. The U.S. Supreme Court was set to review the Mount Holly Township case to decide if lending discrimination cases can stand on the grounds that a lending practice alone — without intent to discriminate — can be considered discriminatory if it has a disparate impact on a minority group. The lending industry wants an 'intent to discriminate' standard to dominate and had hoped the Mount Holly case would finally gain the industry some clarity at the Supreme Court level. 


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