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U.S. judge tosses Miami mortgage discrimination suit against Bank of America

By Reuters
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 11:20 EDT
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A federal judge has dismissed the City of Miami’s mortgage discrimination lawsuit against Bank of America Corp , ruling the city lacked legal standing to sue for damages under the U.S. Fair Housing Act.

In a ruling with implications for other banks facing similar lawsuits, U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas on Tuesday said the city’s claims were outside the purpose of the 1968 law, meant to assure fair housing nationwide.

Miami had accused the bank of giving minorities loans they could not afford, which the city said led to foreclosures, lower property values and neighborhood blight.

The city sued to recover lost property tax revenue and increased city expenses in neighborhoods with vacant properties.

Those injuries are “so marginally related” to the purpose of the Fair Housing Act that it cannot be assumed that Congress intended to permit the city’s suit, the judge ruled.

The city’s alleged harm was also too remote from the bank’s conduct to bring a suit, the judge said.

“Against the backdrop of a historic drop in home prices and a global recession,” the city had not traced foreclosures to Bank of America’s actions, the judge said.

The case is: City of Miami v Bank of America Corp, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, No 13-24506.

(Reporting by Dena Aubin; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Jeffrey Benkoe)

Reuters
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