Jaimes v. Toledo Metropolitan Housing Authority

Decision Date24 June 1985
Docket NumberNos. 83-3443,83-3472 and 83-3561,s. 83-3443
PartiesJosie JAIMES, Tomas Gonzales, Clarence Turner, and Patricia Davis, Plaintiffs- Appellees, v. TOLEDO METROPOLITAN HOUSING AUTHORITY; John Landry; Frank B. Daig, Jr.; Dorothy Dennis; John Chadwell; Carlton Siegel, Maurine Layson; United States Department of Housing & Urban Development; Samuel R. Pierce, Secretary of HUD; Alfred C. Moran, Administrator of HUD; Judith Y. Brachman, Director of HUD, Columbus, Ohio, Defendants-Appellants.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit

William M. Connelly (LEAD), Kevin E. Joyce (argued), Connelly, Soutar & Jackson; Charles A. Matuszynski, Toledo, Ohio, for Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority.

Anthony J. Steinmeyer, Michael Kemmel, Marc Johnston, Dept. of Justice, Civil Division, Washington, D.C., Patrick J. Foley, Asst. U.S. Atty., Toledo, Ohio, Edward G. Weil, Anthony J. Ciccone, Jr. (argued), Office of General Counsel, Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, Washington D.C., for HUD.

Glen C. Galbreath (argued), Michael Warren, A.B.L.E., Inc., Joseph R. Tafelski, Toledo, Ohio, Janet E. LaBella, Bruce Gelber, National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing, Washington, D.C., for plaintiffs-appellees.

Before LIVELY, Chief Judge, WELLFORD, Circuit Judge, and GIBBONS, District Judge. *

WELLFORD, Circuit Judge.


This action was filed on February 15, 1974, with the plaintiffs, members of minority groups, alleging violations of the fifth, thirteenth and fourteenth amendments, the Civil Rights Act of 1870 (the "Civil Rights Act"), 42 U.S.C. Secs. 1981, 1982, and 1983, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VI"), 42 U.S.C. Secs. 2000d-2000d-6, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 ("Title VIII"), 42 U.S.C. Secs. 3601-3631, and the Housing Act of 1937 (the "Housing Act"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. Secs. 1437-1437j. Basically, the allegations are that the Toledo Metropolitan Housing Authority, now the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority ("LMHA"), as owner and operator of some 3000 units of public housing, has engaged in past de jure segregation, has failed to adequately correct this past illegal conduct, and continues to countenance segregation in its public housing. More specifically, plaintiffs allege that LMHA not only has actively discriminated in the administration and operation of its existing housing, but has also made a concerted effort to place public housing in predominantly minority areas.

Plaintiffs are four low-income minority individuals. The district court certified them to represent a class of individuals including

all low-income minority persons residing in the Toledo metropolitan area who, by reason of their race and poverty are unable to secure decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the Toledo metropolitan area, at rents or prices they can afford without assistance from the Toledo [now Lucas] Metropolitan Housing Authority, and who would like to have the opportunity to live in public housing in suburban communities outside the City of Toledo.

This case was conditionally certified in April of 1975, at which time the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") was also joined as a defendant. The case was tried in January of 1978, and over five years later, on May 12, 1983, the district court rendered its opinion. The district court concluded that through the efforts of both LMHA and HUD, there existed intentional discrimination and segregation. The court therefore ordered injunctive and other equitable relief, and also awarded compensatory and punitive damages to three of the four named plaintiffs.


Lucas County encompasses four separate municipalities, 1 six separate villages, 2 and several townships. In 1970, the census reported 484,370 inhabitants of Lucas County. Of these, approximately 88 percent were white, 11 percent were black, and less than 1 percent were either of Mexican-American or some other origin. 3 According to the 1970 census report, approximately 97 percent of the black population and 86 percent of the Mexican-American population lived in the City of Toledo. 4 This is in contrast to the fact that in 1970, Toledo accounted for only about 79 percent of the Lucas County population. 5

Lucas County, in 1970, was divided into 128 census tracts. Of these, 20 comprise what have been defined as "Black Impacted" areas, while 35 comprise "Minority Concentrated" areas. 6 Some 54 census tracts have either no blacks or less than a 1 percent non-white population residing in them. The majority of white residents in the county reside in these areas, while the overwhelming majority of Lucas County blacks live in Black Impacted areas.

Until 1953 LMHA exercised a de jure policy of segregation. 7 As a result, housing projects built during this time were specifically built with no objective to bring about desegregation of public housing. Of the first seven projects built, four were placed in that section of Toledo where most blacks lived, and three in the predominantly white section of Toledo. Whites lived in the white section, and blacks lived in those units in the black section. Following the advent of desegregation, however, projects were built in various other parts of the city. In the period from 1953 to 1967, six projects were constructed. Four were built specifically for the elderly, while two others accommodated both families and the elderly. Only one of these latter two units was placed in a neighborhood where there was a minority concentration. From 1968 to 1977 fourteen more projects were developed. Six of these were placed in Black Impacted areas.

Although blacks and hispanics make up a small percentage of the Lucas County population, they have tended to make up the majority of the tenants in the housing projects. Statistics reflect the fact that these minorities account for approximately 40 percent of LMHA's elderly tenants and approximately 70 percent of LMHA's family tenants. Minority applicants make up approximately 65 percent of the LMHA waiting list. In LMHA's 1977 Report on Occupancy sent to HUD, more than three quarters of the project components were reported to be "out of racial balance." 8 Several of the project components are occupied entirely or almost entirely by one race.

Housing projects are not the only types of housing assistance available in Lucas County. Also available is "Section 8 Existing Housing." 9 Pursuant to this program a tenant is subsidized after obtaining living accommodations on his own in the private sector. Basically, HUD subsidizes the difference between what a family can afford to pay, and what HUD determines to be a "Fair Market Rent" for the unit. The individual must locate the unit and must qualify for the program to receive the assistance. A different form of Sec-8 housing is "New Construction Housing." Under this program, HUD enters into a long-term contract with developers who develop units and subsequently lease them to Section 8 tenants. Though this type of program is available, LMHA has decided not to participate.

Plaintiffs charge that the above alleged segregative effects are the direct result of discriminatory practices and actions employed by both LMHA and HUD. They claim first that LMHA and HUD intentionally placed the housing projects discussed in minority areas of the City of Toledo and that this has prevented those seeking public housing from enjoying the benefits available to persons not forced to live in minority areas. Second, plaintiffs claim that through the use of a "three refusal" procedure, 10 LMHA has allowed prospective tenants to choose in which project they wish to live. This allegedly fosters segregation.

Both LMHA and HUD deny any intent to segregate public housing. Both claim that the three refusal rule allows flexibility and gives prospective tenants, both minority and white, a limited freedom to choose where they wish to live. Further, as to the contention that housing projects have been purposely placed in minority areas of the City of Toledo rather than in the suburbs, LMHA responds by pointing to the need in the city for adequate housing. LMHA claims that Toledo needs public housing more than any of the surrounding areas, and for that reason Toledo has been the focus of the housing projects. Furthermore, it is uncontroverted that to place projects in any particular suburb, LMHA must obtain a "cooperation agreement" from the local government involved. 11 Agreements for public housing projects have not been obtained from any of the suburban areas around Toledo and therefore LMHA has not been able to provide public housing in these areas. 12

To support their position of intentional segregation within housing, and of intentional placement of housing in minority areas, plaintiffs make the following allegations: (1) ten of the twenty-seven projects are found in Minority Concentrated areas; (2) seven other projects were placed in so-called "highly suspect" areas, those adjacent to Minority Concentrated areas or those subject to minority migration; (3) three projects were built in areas immediately adjacent to Minority Concentrated areas, and were only completed following the institution of litigation; (4) LMHA's past actions demonstrate a policy to discourage obtaining cooperation agreements. 13

As stated previously, the district court found intentional segregation on the parts of both LMHA and HUD. In part VI of its order the court enjoined the defendants from:

a. engaging, or continuing to engage, in any acts or practices which have the purpose or effect of denying equal housing opportunities because of poverty, race, color, religion, national origin, or sex;

b. expending any monies, selling any bonds, entering into any contracts, or taking any other steps to construct or lease low-income housing in any areas which are, or soon may be, racially impacted;

c. [ ] failing...

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