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    Why Few Cities Will Take the Supreme Court Up on Their Right to Sue Banks

    Last week's ruling leaves open a key legal question that could make cities unlikely to file suit.
    BY  MAY 11, 2017

    After losing billions in property tax revenue during the foreclosure crisis, local governments notched a win last week when the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the city of Miami’s right to sue big banks under the Fair Housing Act.

    But don’t expect a flood of lawsuits to follow any time soon. The ruling leaves open a key legal question about the burden of proof cities must present to show they were financially harmed.

    In the 5-3 ruling, the court sided with Miami, agreeing that the 1968 act, which prohibits racial discrimination in the lease, sale and financing of property, applied to cities as well as people. But the ruling didn’t agree that Miami had provided enough direct evidence linking discriminatory lending practices by Wells Fargo and Bank of America to the financial harms incurred by the city. It also stopped short of saying what a city must do to prove economic harm and remanded the case back to the lower court to answer that question.

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