Responding to a letter sent to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit by Wells Fargo Bank about last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Texas Dep’t of Housing and Commun. Affairs v. The Inclusive Commun. Proj., Inc., No. 13-1371, 576 U. S. ____ (2015), CCL President Robert S. Peck advised the Court that rather than prop up arguments made by the bank the decision fully supported CCL’s client, the City of Miami. In Inclusive Communities, the Supreme Court held that the Fair Housing Act (FHA) authorizes disparate impact claims, and thereby rejected the bank’s argument that disparate impact claims may not be made under the FHA. Under the high court’s decision, valid disparate impact claims challenge practices that have a “‘disproportionately adverse effect on minorities’ and are otherwise unjustified by a legitimate rationale.”

Wells Fargo’s June 29th letter focused on dicta in the decision that reminded litigants that reliance on statistical disparity alone was insufficient. Instead, it said that a “robust causality requirement” requires pleadings to connect a defendant’s “policy and a disparate impact.” Peck pointed out that Miami’s Complaint did precisely that with extensive allegations of bank policies that produced the statistical disparities.

Peck argued the case before the Eleventh Circuit on May 19, while also arguing similar lawsuits on appeal that day on behalf of Miami against Bank of America and Citigroup. The three cases remain under advisement.