Amicus Briefs Defending Eviction Moratoria
El Papel v. City of Seattle eviction moratorium. Amicus Brief filed in Ninth Circuit seeking to affirm trial court’s ruling that the State of Washington’s eviction moratorium during Covid-19 was not a taking. Brief explains how temporarily disallowing the eviction of tenants that landlords voluntarily admitted to rental properties is neither a physical taking nor an excessively onerous regulation under the regulatory takings test set forth in Penn Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York, 438 U.S. 104 (1978). Brief drafted by Democracy Forward Foundation and filed on behalf of NHLP, Appleseed Foundation, Alliance for Justice, International Municipal Lawyers’ Association, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law, and Western Center on Law & Poverty.
CDC halt order: Fifth Circuit – Terkel v. CDC Amicus Brief filed by National Housing Law Project in support of reversing trial court decision in Terkel v. CDC, 521 F.Supp.3d 662 (2021). The trial court issued a declaratory judgment finding the CDC halt order impermissible under the Commerce Clause. Appeal dismissed voluntarily for mootness after U.S. Supreme Court decision in Alabama Ass’n of Realtors v. Dep’t of Health & Hum. Servs., 210 L. Ed. 2d 856, 141 S. Ct. 2485 (2021). Terkel v. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 15 F.4th 683, 684 (5th Cir. 2021).
CDC halt order: Fifth Circuit – Chambless Enterprises v. Walensky Amicus Brief filed by Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, Acadiana Legal Services, Southern Poverty Law Center, and National Housing Law Project in support of affirming trial court decision in Chambless Enterprises, LLC v. Redfield, – 508 F.Supp.3d 101 (W.D.La. 2020) The trial court had denied a preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement of the CDC halt order. (Filed April 28, 2021)
CDC halt order: Atlanta Amicus Brief (and attachment) filed in the Northern District of Atlanta in opposition to the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction in Brown v. Secretary of Health & Human Services, the first of numerous U.S. District Court lawsuits challenging the CDC temporary halt on evictions. Advocates from Legal Services of Northern Virginia, Atlanta Legal Aid, and NHLP collaborated on the brief. The court subsequently denied the preliminary injunction.
CDC halt order: Memphis Amicus Brief filed in the Western District of Tennessee in opposition to the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction in Tiger Lilly LLC v. HUD, one of five U.S. District Court lawsuits challenging the CDC temporary halt on evictions. Filed with the assistance of attorneys from Butch, Porter & Johnson, PLLC.
CDC halt order: Kansas City Amicus Brief filed in the Western District of Missouri, in support of preliminary injunctive relief in KC Tenants v. Byrn, an action which challenges a local administrative order authorizing landlords to file eviction lawsuits and prosecute them to judgment in Jackson County, MO, as well as secure evidentiary hearings in which to contest the veracity of tenant “covered person” declarations given to invoke protection of the CDC halt order. Advocates from Legal Aid of Western Missouri, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, and NHLP collaborated on the brief. Injunction was regrettably denied. KC Tenants v. Byrn, 504 F. Supp. 3d 1026, 1027 (W.D. Mo. 2020), vacated, No. 4:20-CV-00784-HFS, 2022 WL 3656453 (W.D. Mo. Aug. 24, 2022).
CDC halt order: Akron Amicus Brief filed in the Northern District of Ohio in opposition to the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction in Skyworks Ltd. v. CDC one of numerous U.S. District Court lawsuits challenging the CDC temporary halt on evictions. Advocates from Community Legal Aid Services, Inc., and NHLP collaborated on the brief. Court ruled that CDC was without power to impose the eviction halt but denied injunctive relief. Skyworks, Ltd. v. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 524 F. Supp. 3d 745, 748 (N.D. Ohio), order clarified, 542 F. Supp. 3d 719 (N.D. Ohio 2021), appeal dismissed, No. 21-3563, 2021 WL 4305879 (6th Cir. Sept. 21, 2021), and appeal dismissed, No. 21-3443, 2021 WL 4352384 (6th Cir. Sept. 3, 2021).
City of Los Angeles eviction moratorium Amicus Brief filed with Ninth Circuit in AAGLA v. City of Los Angeles in support of Defendants/Appellees and Intervenors. Focuses on the superior efficacy of broad and simple moratoria (such as the Los Angeles ordinance) at protecting the public health, and discusses the many ways tenants have still faced evictions and displacements under narrower and more complex eviction restrictions such as the federal CARES Act, the CDC halt order, or California’s AB3088. Seeks ruling affirming trial court’s denial of preliminary injunction against enforcement of L.A. ordinance. Amicus Brief filed in the Central District of California in L.A. County Apartment Association v. City of Los Angeles, a lawsuit challenging Ordinance No. 186585, which imposes a local moratorium on residential evictions motivated either by financial causes, minor lease violations, or without fault of the tenant in L.A. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion upholding City of Los Angeles eviction moratorium.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts eviction moratorium. Amicus Brief filed in Matorin v. Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, a lawsuit that challenged that state’s now expired moratorium on “non-essential” eviction proceedings. Principally authored by NHLP with assistance from Joseph Sherman of MetroWest Legal Services in Framingham, Massachusetts. Order denying preliminary injunction. Opinion by Judge Paul Smith denying the landlords’ preliminary injunction motion. Ruling finds landlords unlikely to succeed on any of their claims, that they presented to basis for finding they would suffer irreparable harm in the absence of relief, and that the public interest weighed heavily against injunctive relief. Note: considered only state law theories as landlords had voluntarily dismissed their federal claims before the ruling. Those federal claims were re–filed in a U.S. District Court action, which also rejected the landlords’ claims. See Baptiste v. Kennealy, 490 F. Supp. 3d 353 (D. Mass. 2020).