Resident's Charge of Retaliation Is Premature
Facts: In October 2007, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) notified a public housing resident that her lease was being considered for termination for chronic rent delinquency. Following its termination-of-tenancy policy, NYCHA scheduled a hearing on the charges before an impartial hearing officer in September 2008. Before the hearing process was concluded, though, the resident sued NYCHA, charging racial discrimination and retaliation against her for bringing an earlier lawsuit against the agency. She claimed that NYCHA “engaged in retaliatory acts against [her] in the form of threats of eviction and other harassment… Similarly situated white and non-black tenants have not been subjected to similar onerous terms and conditions of tenancy, and in fact have been subjected to more favorable terms and conditions.”
Decision: The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York considered the resident's claim premature and dismissed the case.
Reasoning: The court said that the resident had suffered no actual harm or retaliation. While NYCHA had threatened her with eviction, it had not yet completed the long administrative process required to actually evict her. Because NYCHA had taken no adverse action against her, the resident had no justifiable claim in court.
- Williams v. Hernandez, July 2009