(January 4, 2012, Weil News)
The New York State Supreme Court today issued a preliminary injunction barring New York City from proceeding with plans to develop public housing in a Brooklyn neighborhood on the ground that the proposed plan would perpetuate racial segregation. Weil, Gotshal & Manges assisted Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A and the New York Civil Liberties Union in obtaining the injunction.
The action was filed in 2009 by a coalition of 40 community groups on behalf of low-income Williamsburg residents, who claimed that the City’s plan to construct public housing on city-owned land failed to take into account the plan's potential effect on racial segregation, in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. Plaintiffs claimed the City’s plan would actually increase racial segregation in the area, along the border between the Williamsburg and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods, because it gave priority to predominantly white residents over blacks and Hispanic residents.
Manhattan Justice Emily Jane Goodman’s current ruling comes two years after she issued a temporary restraining order against the City. In granting a permanent injunction on plaintiffs’ claims under the Fair Housing Act, Justice Goodman ruled that plaintiffs had demonstrated the likelihood that they would succeed at trial on the merits of their case.
Today’s ruling will likely have a significant impact on future City housing development proposals as it sets out the City’s obligation to evaluate the potential impact on segregation and develop projects that create more integrated neighborhoods.
Weil’s Pro Bono litigation team included counsel Seth Goodchild and associate Shekar Krishnan.