Civil Rights Organizations File Brief in Support of African-American Homebuyers Harmed by Morgan Stanley’s Predatory Lending Practices

On Thursday, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the New York Law School Racial Justice Project (“the Racial Justice Project”) and two Detroit-based organizations—the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University Law School (“the Keith Center”) and the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization (MWRO)—filed a “friend of the court” brief in Adkins v. Morgan Stanley, a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of African-American residents in Detroit who received predatory, high-risk mortgage loans in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

The brief explains how the predatory lending policies encouraged by Morgan Stanley are consistent with the history of lending discrimination in the United States, led to devastating financial consequences for African-American families, and perpetuated racially segregated communities. The brief urges the appeals court to allow thousands of Detroit homebuyers to pursue their claims against Morgan Stanley as part of the Adkins class action lawsuit.

“The Adkins case highlights the continuing importance of the Fair Housing Act to the effort to dismantle our nation’s long and shameful history of housing discrimination and residential segregation,” said Jin Hee Lee, LDF’s Deputy Director of Litigation. “Morgan Stanley must be held accountable for profiting from its predatory lending practices that left thousands of African-American Detroit homebuyers in financial ruin.”

Professor Deborah N. Archer, Director of the Racial Justice Project stated, Discriminatory lending policies and practices—including those maintained by Morgan Stanley—caused African-American families and communities in Detroit, and nationwide, to bear the heaviest burden of the subprime lending crisis. This case is an important opportunity to address the harms this company caused.”

Low-income residents across Michigan have been devastated by thousands of high-risk, predatory loans that swept up our cities and towns,” said Maureen Taylor, State Chair of MWRO. “In Detroit, generations of African-American families were disproportionately targeted and affected by banks and mortgage companies with unscrupulous and discriminatory lending practices.”

According to Professor Peter Hammer, Director of the Keith Center, “Predatory lending and a history of housing discrimination are the root causes of the financial distress and ultimate bankruptcy of Detroit. This case raises some of the most important civil rights issues of our generation.”

Read the full brief here.

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The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is not a part of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) although LDF was founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. Since 1957, LDF has been a completely separate organization.  Please refer to us in media attributions as the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund or LDF. 


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