United States District Court, District of Columbia
C. LAMBERTH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Maurice Alexander, an African American man, alleges that he
was wrongfully denied residence in 2014 at three public
housing apartment buildings either owned, managed, or
operated by the defendants: Edgewood Commons III: The View
("The View"), The Overlook at Oxon Run ("The
Overlook"), and Capitol Gateway Senior Apartments
("Capitol Gateway"). Alexander claims that the
internal policies justifying his denials gave rise to a
disparate impact on the basis of race in violation of Title
VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 ("Fair Housing
Act" or "FHA"), 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et
seq., and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act
("DCHRA"), D.C. Code § 2-1401 et
seqAlexander alleges that his denials caused
him to become homeless, experience physical and emotional
injuries, and endure separation from his minor son. As such,
he seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.
Community Preservation and Development Company
("CPDC") and Edgewood Management Corporation
("Edgewood Management") (collectively "the
Edgewood defendants") moved for summary judgment against
Alexander's claims. CPDC owns The View and The Overlook
("the Edgewood Properties") and Edgewood Management
was the managing agent in 2014.
East Capitol Senior Rental LP ("East Capitol") and
A&R Management, Inc. ("A&R") (collectively
"the Capitol Gateway defendants") also moved for
summary judgment against Alexander's.claims. East Capitol
owns Capitol Gateway's physical assets and A&R was
the managing agent until October 2014.
applied for public housing in The View, Capitol Gateway, and
The Overlook in March, April, and May 2014, respectively, and
was denied by each. Am. Compl. ¶ 19, ECF No. 10. The
View denied his application because of his criminal history
and a fraud alert. Id. ¶ 23. Capitol Gateway
denied his application because of his criminal history.
Id. ¶ 29. The Overlook denied his application
because of his criminal history and an unsatisfactory
rent-to-income ratio. Id. ¶ 34.
law permits public housing owners to reject an applicant who,
"during a reasonable time preceding the date when the
applicant. . . would otherwise be selected for
admission," committed a violent crime, a drug-related
crime, or "other criminal activity which would adversely
affect the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of
the premises by other residents, the owner, or public housing
agency employees." 42 U.S.C. § 13661(c). In 2007,
Alexander was convicted of a misdemeanor (attempted threats
to do bodily harm) stemming from an encounter with a police
officer, and he served a ten-day sentence. Am. Compl. ¶
8; PL's Opp'n Defs.' Mots. Summ. J. at Ex. 27,
ECF No. 86-31. In disputing his denials of residency,
Alexander argues that this misdemeanor does not fall into any
of the aforementioned crime categories. Am. Compl. ¶40.
In support of this claim, Alexander notes that the District
of Columbia Housing Authority, which refers possible
applicants to public housing providers, "did not reject
him based on his misdemeanor conviction or on any other
grounds." Id. ¶ 41.
disparate impact claim relies on the statistical conviction
rates of African American residents of the D.C. metropolitan
area whose income levels fall within the eligibility range
for public housing. He cites studies and expert witness
reports that demonstrate the disproportionate conviction
rates of African Americans in the D.C. metropolitan area.
Id. ¶¶ 53-56. See generally Decl.
of Christopher Wildeman, ECF No. 86-3; Decl. of Allan
Parnell, ECF No. 86-4. And so, Alexander claims that both the
Edgewood and Capitol Gateway defendants (collectively
"the defendants") have had a disparate impact on
African Americans by establishing tenant selection plans
("TSP") that allegedly go beyond the criminal
screening process authorized by D.C. and federal
law.Am. Compl. ¶ 57.
their motion for summary judgment, the Capitol Gateway
defendants counter these allegations with statistics and
expert witness evidence demonstrating that their applicants
and residents between 2012 and 2016 were all African
Americans. Capitol Gateway Mot. Summ. J. 12-15, ECF No. 82;
see Exs. 6-16, 18-20, ECF Nos. 80-8-80-18,
80-20-80-22. The Capitol Gateway defendants argue that there
could not be a disparate impact on African American
applicants like Alexander because no statistical disparity
existed between the applicants and tenants. Capitol Gateway
Mot. Summ. J. 17-18. The Capitol Gateway defendants insist
that the relevant population for the disparate-impact
analysis must be actual applicants, not potential applicants.
Id. at 20-23.
Edgewood defendants counter Alexander's allegations in a
similar fashion in their own motion for summary judgment.
They argue that because "the same percentage of
AfricanAmericans who applied for housing to The Overlook
and The View [(98%)] secured housing at these
properties," there is no evidence of any disparate
impact.Edgewood Mem. Supp. 13, ECF No. 79-2;
see Edgewood Statement Material Facts ¶¶
5, 7, 9, ECF No. 79-1; Exs. C-l, D, E, ECF Nos. 79-8-79-10.
Like the Capitol Gateway defendants, the Edgewood defendants
argue that this Court should look only to the actual pool of
applicants when examining whether their TSPs disparately
impacted African Americans. See Edgewood Mem. Supp.
Edgewood defendants also claim that both The View and The
Overlook rejected Alexander's application because of his
1991 conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. Edgewood
Statement Material Facts ¶¶ 53, 56; see
Exs. J-3, J-4, J-5, ECF Nos. 79-20-79-22. That conviction was
eventually vacated, but the vacation information did not
appear on his criminal background check. See
Edgewood Mot. Summ. J. at Exs. L-5, J-5, ECF Nos. 79-28,
seeks, inter alia, a permanent injunction against the
defendants and their agents from engaging in allegedly
unlawful tenant-selection practices, compensatory damages for
emotional distress and other injuries, punitive damages, and
attorneys' fees. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 102-107. For the
reasons that follow, Alexander fails to establish a prima
facie case of disparate impact. Accordingly, this Court will
grant the defendants' motions for summary judgment.
judgment is appropriate when no genuine issues of material
fact exist and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986). The substantive law on which each claim
rests determines which facts are "material."
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). A "genuine dispute" is one whose resolution
could establish an element of a claim or defense and,
therefore, affect the outcome of the action.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322; Anderson, 477
U.S. at 248.
assessing whether any genuine factual issues exist, a court
must "draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
nonmoving party" without "mak[ing] credibility
determinations or weigh[ing] the evidence." Reeves
v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc.,530 U.S. 133, 150
(2000). The nonmoving party must still establish more than
"the mere existence of a scintilla of evidence" in
support of its position. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.
To prevail on its motion for summary judgment, the moving
party must show that the nonmoving party "fail[ed] to
make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an