red and green plastic housesThe Supreme Court has agreed to review a discriminatory lending case brought by the City of Miami against Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America Corp. At issue is whether a city government is permitted to bring a suit seeking to enforce the equality guarantees of the Fair Housing Act. The pair of cases decided by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in September 2015, reversed lower court rulings that dismissed the discriminatory lending claims against the two companies. In that decision, the Eleventh Circuit held that Miami had standing under the Fair Housing Act to sue the banks based on the loss property tax revenues as a result of the banks’ actions. Specifically, the city alleged that minority-owned properties throughout the city were subject to greater rates of foreclosure, which deprived the city of tax revenue and forced it to make increased expenditures on municipal services. Lower courts are split on this issue. Similar suits filed by the City of Los Angeles and Cook County, Illinois against Wells Fargo were recently dismissed on grounds similar to those that resulted in the dismissal of the City of Miami’s original suit. If the City of Miami prevails at the Supreme Court, it could result in a significant increase of Fair Housing Act suits brought by municipal governments against mortgage lenders.