Judge Approves Settlement in Annapolis Housing Discrimination Lawsuit

January 21, 2021

A federal judge has approved a consent decree between the Maryland city of Annapolis and dozens of public housing residents.

The Capital Gazette reported Tuesday that the decree will mandate that the city pay a $900,000 settlement in a discrimination lawsuit and issue various housing policy reforms.

U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake approved the agreement last week. City representatives and the plaintiffs’ attorneys, The Donahue Law Firm, had accepted the terms last year. The City Council approved the consent decree in September.

The city will pay the $900,000 out of its self-insurance fund. A portion will be paid to 52 public housing residents named as plaintiffs.

The lawsuit was originally filed on behalf of more than two dozen residents who had alleged decades of racial discrimination. They claimed the housing authority and city failed to provide safe, adequate housing for its majority-Black residents.

The decree requires the city to continue inspecting and licensing housing authority properties like any other private rental property. It has been doing so since late 2019. It also calls on the City Council to pass more affordable and workforce housing legislation.

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