Shahid v. Borough of Eddystone (E.D. Pa 2012): Housing Discrimination Claim

Plaintiff Abdus Shahid brought this claim against the Respondent, the Borough of Eddystone, for discrimination against him on the basis of race, national origin and religion after the Respondent deliberately engaged in a four-year-long campaign to prevent him from living in or renting out a property he owned in Eddystone because it did not want a Muslim in the area. Following the complaint, the Respondent filed a motion for summary judgment, which the District Court previously granted in part and denied in part, holding that while the Plaintiff was barred by the Heck v. Humphrey and Rooker-Feldman doctrines from challenging the validity of his convictions for violating Eddystone ordinances, there were also genuine issues of material fact that precluded summary judgment on the remaining claim that Eddystone denied him a certificate of occupancy and preventing him from renting the property because of his race, religion and national origin. Following a jury trial, the Court analyzed testimony evidence about alleged statements by Eddystone officials acknowledging the existence of a discriminatory housing policy and evidence that similarly situated white property owners were treated more favorably. However, the Court determined that the Plaintiff failed his burden of proof with regards to his claim that the Respondent violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection, because he produced no concrete credible evidence showing that he was treated differently than white property owners, and that the Respondent’s actions were anything other than genuine attempts to enforce the Eddystone housing code. The Court concluded that the Plaintiff failed to establish that the Respondent discriminated against him on the basis of race, religion or national origin. Therefore, the Court entered judgment in favor of the Respondent.

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