Cleary Gottlieb Represents Plaintiffs in Fair Housing Act Suit

June 24, 2022

Cleary Gottlieb, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Legal Services of North Florida filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida under the Fair Housing Act that seeks to halt the Tallahassee Housing Authority (THA)’s planned demolition and redevelopment of a public apartment complex that would cause racially discriminatory results by displacing hundreds of Black families into more deeply segregated neighborhoods.

Cleary and its co-counsel represent the plaintiffs, individual residents Elizabeth Gabriel and Oliver Hill as well as the Orange Avenue United Tenants Association. The complaint alleges that THA’s redevelopment plan violates the Fair Housing Act by forcing the complex’s majority-Black residents to relocate to more racially isolated areas of Tallahassee with fewer social and economic opportunities, and by failing to provide for sufficiently affordable options for them to return.

“The lawsuit we have filed with our colleagues at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Legal Services of Northern Florida,” said Cleary Gottlieb senior counsel Jonathan Blackman, “seeks to remedy violations of the Fair Housing Act that are occurring in Tallahassee, as in so many other cities, as gentrification projects push Black public housing tenants out of their communities in ways that exacerbate existing racial segregation and resulting economic inequities, and fail to provide those tenants with meaningful, appropriate housing alternatives.  Improving urban neighborhoods that have become desirable targets for re-development cannot be done at the expense of existing minority tenants.”