Nationwide Settles Redlining Case

A racial discrimination lawsuit filed by a Richmond fair-housing group against Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. has been settled out of court. Terms were not disclosed.

The lawsuit, filed last year in Virginia, alleged that Nationwide’s marketing efforts in and around Richmond excluded black neighborhoods.

The fair-housing group, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, had several people pose as homeowners seeking insurance. In seven of 15 cases, whites were quoted a premium and blacks were not.

A Richmond Circuit Court ordered in 1998 that Nationwide pay the housing group $100 million, the largest ever fair-housing judgement.

In January, the Virginia Supreme Court threw out that judgement in a 4-3 decision, saying the housing group was not injured by the company’s actions and could, therefore, not bring suit. The court agreed to reconsider the decision in March. Arguments had been scheduled for this week.