For Immediate Release:  Apr 1, 2011
2011, 04, 01

Law Reform Clinic Set to Represent Clients in Landmark Housing Trial

Law Reform Clinic Set to Represent Clients in Landmark Housing Trial

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Kristen McMahon
Director of Public Relations
Hofstra Law
Phone: 516.463.4252
E-mail: Kristen.D.McMahon@hofstra.edu

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — For the past several years, Hofstra Law School’s Law Reform Advocacy Clinic has represented nine Latino tenants who have sued the Village of Farmingdale under the Fair Housing Act. On Wednesday, March 30, 2011, United States District Court Judge Denis Hurley denied the Village of Farmingdale’s motion for summary judgment in the case and set the case for jury trial.

The lawsuit alleges that the village violated the Fair Housing Act by implementing a redevelopment plan that targeted a 54-unit apartment complex  in which the tenants were predominantly Hispanic resulting in their displacement from the building.

According to Stefan Krieger, professor of law and director emeritus of Hofstra Law’s Clinical Programs, Judge Hurley’s decision has “significant ramifications” in regard to municipal liability under the Fair Housing Act: 

  1. He concluded that a municipality can be liable under the Act even if the legislative body never voted to formally adopt a redevelopment plan;
  2. He found that a municipality can be liable under the Act for removal of Latino tenants even if the redevelopment of the building is directly carried out by a private developer; and
  3. He found that racial animus of a municipality can be shown under the Act with evidence of impropriety in its land use procedures; of local residents’ racially-charged blogs; of campaign literature playing on white residents’ fears of Latinos; and of discriminatory enforcement of traffic regulations targeting Hispanic day laborers.

“This decision is a testament to our clients’ perseverance in their quest for vindication for the wrongs done to them at the hands of the Village and is a tribute to the hard work of Hofstra law students working on their behalf,” said Krieger.

Since 2006, more than 40 Hofstra law students have dedicated themselves to the litigation of this case, under the supervision of Professor Krieger.

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The Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University is located 40 minutes from New York City in suburban Long Island. Hofstra Law is home to nearly 850 students, an alumni base of more than 10,600 members and a distinguished faculty of more than 50 professors, including many scholars recognized as national and international experts in their field. The law school is part of Hofstra University and is fully accredited by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association.

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