Consumer Protection

Owners must continue to pay homeowners association fees to maintain private roads even after all other covenants terminate

A Massachusetts court has held that owners in a homeowners association that have access to shared private roads must continue to pay fees to the association to maintain those roads even after all other covenants terminate. Meadowview Heights Homeowners Ass’n...

Read more about Owners must continue to pay homeowners association fees to maintain private roads even after all other covenants terminate

New York City and San Francisco vote to guarantee lawyers for some or all tenants facing eviction

New York City was the first city to guarantee lawyers to most low-income tenants facing eviction. Ashley Dejean, New York Becomes First City to Guarantee Lawyers to Tenants Facing Eviction, Mother Jones, Aug. 11, 2017.. When fully in force, the law will provide legal services to tenatns...

Read more about New York City and San Francisco vote to guarantee lawyers for some or all tenants facing eviction

Legal questions about landlord liability when one tenant harasses another

Is a landlord liable for breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment if one tenant harasses another and the landlord does not intervene in some way, either by trying to resolve the dispute or by evicting the harassing tenant? To answer this question we must distinguish two types of legal claims. In the first type of claim, the victim of the harassment claims “constructive eviction” and asks to be relieved of her rental obligations by moving out before the end of the term. In the second type of claim, the tenant sues the landlord for monetary damages for failing to protect her...

Read more about Legal questions about landlord liability when one tenant harasses another

Oregon Appeals Court affirms application of state public accommodations law to cake shop that refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple

In Klein v. Or. Bureau of Labor & Indus., 2017 Ore.App. LEXIS 1598 (2017), the Court of Appeals of Oregon affirmed an administrative finding that Sweetcakes by Melissa violated the state public accommodations law when it refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. The case is similar to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case currently being considered by the US Supreme Court because the cake shop based its claim on the...

Read more about Oregon Appeals Court affirms application of state public accommodations law to cake shop that refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple

First Amendment protects right to federal registration of offensive trademarks that disparage a person or group

The Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibits enforcement of a provision of the Lanham Act that purports to deny the benefits of trademark registration to names or marks that "disparage" a person or "bring [them] into contempt or disrepute." Matal v. Tam,2017 WL 2621315 (U.S. 2017); 15 U.S.C. §1502(a) (Lanham Act). The Court held that "this provision violates the Free Speech Clause of the First...

Read more about First Amendment protects right to federal registration of offensive trademarks that disparage a person or group

Time-barred claim in bankruptcy held not to violate Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §§1692e, 1692f, probibits debt collectors from using "any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt. §1692e, as well as prohibiting any "unfair or unconscionable menas to collect or attempt to collect any debt," §1692f. In Midland Funding, LLC v. Johnson, 197 L.Ed.2d 790 (2017), the... Read more about Time-barred claim in bankruptcy held not to violate Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Sexual orientation discrimination as a form of sex discrimination

While the West Virginia Supreme Court adopted the traditional view that discrimination because of sexual orientation is not a form of sex discrimination, State v. Butler, 2017 W. Va. LEXIS 333 (W.Va. 2017) (hate crime against two gay men did not constitute criminal civil rights violation willfully injuring a person "because of such other person's … sex"), the Seventh Circuit came to the...

Read more about Sexual orientation discrimination as a form of sex discrimination

Supreme Court rules that a city has a claim against a bank for the consequences of discriminatory subprime mortgages

In Bank of America Corp. v. City of Miami, 137 S.Ct. 1296, 197 L. Ed. 2d 678 (2017), the Supreme Court held that the City of Miami was an "aggrieved person" within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3602(i), and that it could sue the Bank of America (and other banks) for lost tax revenue and other municipal expenses resulting from alleged discriminatory grants of subprime mortgages to Miami residents that... Read more about Supreme Court rules that a city has a claim against a bank for the consequences of discriminatory subprime mortgages