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Mitchell v. Shane, 350 F.3d 39

In this case an African-American couple who had unsuccessfully attempted to purchase a house sued vendors, real estate agency, and listing agent, alleging housing discrimination under Fair Housing Act and state statute.  The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 233 F.Supp.2d 445, Platt, J., granted summary judgment for defendants, and prospective purchasers appealed. The Court of Appeals, Calabresi, Circuit Judge, held that: (1) prospective purchasers stated ‘‘qualified’’ and ‘‘remained available’’ elements of prima facie discrimination claim; (2) lack of evidence that vendors had any knowledge of prospective purchasers’ racial background until after they signed contract with white purchaser precluded claim against them; but (3) fact issues existed as to whether local custom dictated that real estate broker must disclose existence of competing offer to bidders, and if so, as to whether listing agent had violated that custom.

Affirmed in part * and vacated and remanded in part.

*MH&H represented the Shanes (the owners of the home).  As to the Shanes Summary Judgment in their favor was affirmed by the Second Circuit which reversed the District Court as to all other defendants.

Mitchell v. Shane, 350 F.3d 39

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