without a larger residential community than permitted under the
zoning code or evidence of the need for Sunny Patch residents to
live in a community environment. Given the lack of proof that the
handicaps of the Sunny Patch Lane residents require more than
five people in the house, plaintiffs have failed to establish
that a reasonable accommodation is required.
2. Other FHA Claims
A violation of the FHA also may be premised on a theory of
disparate impact. See LeBlanc-Sternberg v. Fletcher,
67 F.3d 412, 425 (2d Cir. 1995); Huntington Branch, NAACP v. Town of
Huntington, 844 F.2d 926, 934-35 (2d Cir.), aff'd in part,
488 U.S. 15, 109 S.Ct. 276, 102 L.Ed.2d 180 (1988). Under disparate
impact analysis, "a prima facie case is established by showing
that the challenged practice of the defendant actually or
predictably results in . . . discrimination." Huntington, 844
F.2d at 934 (citation and internal quotations omitted). In order
to establish disparate impact in this case, plaintiffs must show
that the needs of the Sunny Patch Lane residents require a
greater number in the residence than permitted under defendant's
zoning code. There can be no discrimination unless plaintiffs'
need to violate the ordinance is connected to the residents'
disability. As noted above, that evidence has not been offered.
C. ADA and Constitutional Claims
Similarly, absent proof that the Sunny Patch residents'
disabilities require group-living in numbers violating
defendant's ordinance, that ordinance cannot be found
discriminatory and therefore violative of the ADA or
constitutional protections asserted in plaintiffs' motion.
III. DEFENDANT'S CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Defendant's cross-motion makes three principal assertions: (i)
plaintiffs' claims are not yet ripe since all administrative
remedies have not yet been exhausted; (ii) the definition of
"family" contained in defendant's zoning code is constitutional
under the state Due Process Clause and plaintiffs are in
violation; and (iii) defendant's proposal that plaintiffs exhaust
all available remedies constitutes reasonable accommodation.
Defendant omits any discussion of plaintiffs' claims arising
under the disparate impact and intentional discrimination FHA
theories and the ADA.
A. Exhaustion Defense
As discussed in detail above, this circuit does not require
that all administrative remedies be exhausted in FHA cases, and
plaintiffs' claims are properly before the Court. See
discussion infra Part II. A.
B. State Constitutional Defense
Defendant's cross motion only asserts the constitutionality of
its zoning ordinance under the state Due Process Clause, ignoring
plaintiffs' federal constitutional claim altogether. This Court
would therefore have to exercise pendent jurisdiction over the
state constitutional claim and resolve it independent of the
federal claim. For reasons of judicial economy, that can only be
done where the state claim can be decided without reference or
dependence on federal constitutional law. Siler v. Louisville &
Nashville R. Co., 213 U.S. 175, 193, 29 S.Ct. 451, 53 L.Ed. 753
(1909). That is not true here. If defendant's zoning ordinance
was valid under the state constitution's Due Process Clause, it
could still be invalid under the federal Equal Protection Clause.
This Court therefore declines to exercise pendent jurisdiction
and rule upon defendant's state Due Process claim.
C. Reasonable Accommodation
In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, "[t]he evidence of
the nonmovant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences
are to be drawn in his favor." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). For
purposes of this motion, plaintiffs are therefore presumed to
that the disability of the Sunny Patch residents requires
group-living in a number exceeding that permitted under
defendant's zoning ordinance.
Defendant's recommendation that plaintiffs pursue their
administrative and state remedies is neither reasonable nor an
accommodation. Defendant's argument essentially recapitulates the
exhaustion/ripeness argument that this Court addressed and
rejected above. If municipal and local authorities'
recommendation to pursue administrative remedies were upheld as a
reasonable accommodation, such a ruling would utterly circumvent
the law of this circuit expressly rejecting exhaustion principles
in the context of the FHA. See Huntington Branch, 844 F.2d at
Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED that Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment is DENIED;
and it is further
ORDERED that Defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment is
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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