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Housing Discrimination Lawsuit Won, March 2010

GHA&E partner William J. Hunt and associate Michael J. Rossi recently won a housing discrimination lawsuit in federal court on behalf of a non-profit organization in the City of Malden. The non-profit sought to purchase and renovate a licensed rooming house to provide housing to homeless and disabled adults in the community. Without explanation, the City’s building inspector refused to issue a building permit for the project and the Malden Planning Board later denied the non-profit’s application for a special permit. With the project in jeopardy, GHA&E sued on the grounds that the City’s wrongful denial of the building permit violated the Federal Fair Housing Act and other state constitutional and statutory provisions that protect disabled people against discrimination.

Soon after the suit was filed, GHA&E won an injunction on behalf of the non-profit, which prevented the City from interfering with or preventing the project. As a result of GHA&E’s efforts, the City issued a building permit and construction proceeded without interference. The residence is now home to 14 citizens. Based upon what the Court deemed to be GHA&E’s “unequivocal success” on the case, the Court ordered the City to pay the non-profit organization’s legal fees.

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