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Civil Rights

Minneapolis Public Housing Authority

Lowry v. City of Minneapolis, et. al
Court File No. 27-CV-21-10928 (Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District Court)

On September 7, 2021, Nichols Kaster—together with John R. Shoemaker, Paul F. Shoemaker, and Larry McDonough—filed a class action challenging the egregious discriminatory practices that have forced public housing tenants in Minneapolis to endure hazardous and appalling housing conditions. The Complaint alleges that the City of Minneapolis discriminated on the basis “public assistance status” by failing to provide public housing tenants the inspection, licensing, maintenance, and related services that the City provides to tenants in privately-owned rental dwellings. Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and Community Housing Resources are also named defendants, with the lawsuit alleging that they breached the terms of their leases with tenants by failing to obtain licenses and inspections and respond to maintenance requests. The lawsuit goes on to assert consumer protection and housing law violations against all three defendants.

This is a civil rights class action, brought under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, and challenges the defendants’ illegal practices as endured by Plaintiff Kimberly Lowry and other similarly situated public housing tenants. Plaintiff, on behalf of herself and members of the proposed Classes, seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.

How Do I Learn More?

For more information or questions regarding this case, please contact our Case Clerk, Haley Thompson, at hthompson@nka.com or call (612) 256-3268.

Type of Case

Discrimination in Public Housing

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Am I eligible?

This case seeks to represent tenants who have lived in Minneapolis public housing at any time over the last six years. If you have questions about whether you are included in these classes, contact us.

Additional Information

What is a Class Action?

In a class action lawsuit, one or more people, called the “class representatives,” sue on behalf of themselves and other people who have similar claims. Together, this group of people is called a “class” or “class members.” The class representative and the class members together are called the “Plaintiffs.” The entities or companies they sue are called the “Defendants.” The judge or jury resolves the claims for everyone in the class—except those who ask to be excluded from the lawsuit.

How Long will This Take?

Class actions can often take years. Please check this page periodically for updates on the case’s status.

How do I Join This Case?

As part of our investigatory efforts, we are interested in speaking with people who have lived in Minneapolis public housing.

You may contact us toll free at 1-877-448-0492, write to us at Nichols Kaster, PLLP, 4700 IDS Center, 80 South Eighth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402, or email Attorney Nicole Schladt at nschladt@nka.com.

Case Updates

  • September 8, 2021

    Public Housing Civil Rights Class Action Filed on Behalf of Tenants in Minneapolis by Their Attorneys Nichols Kaster PLLP, Shoemaker & Shoemaker PLLC, and Larry McDonough

    On September 7, 2021, Kimberly Lowry filed a class action challenging the egregious discriminatory practices that have forced public housing tenants in Minneapolis to endure hazardous and appalling housing conditions. The lawsuit alleges that the City of Minneapolis discriminated on the basis of “public assistance status” by failing to provide public housing tenants the inspection, licensing, maintenance, and related services that the City provides to tenants in privately-owned rental dwellings. Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and Community Housing Resources are also named defendants, with the lawsuit alleging that they breached the terms of their leases with tenants by failing to obtain licenses and inspections and respond to maintenance requests. The lawsuit goes on to assert consumer protection and housing law violations against all three defendants.

    Ms. Lowry’s situation is indicative of the widespread problem public housing tenants in Minneapolis experience, the lawsuit alleges. Ms. Lowry has experienced a multitude of dangerous and substandard conditions within her rental home, including sewage backing up into her basement, dirt and water intrusion and flooding, loose asbestos floor tile, and peeling paint. Despite reporting these issues, she alleges that defendants have not addressed the situation and that one public housing repair worker simply told her that she should not be in the basement when it is wet because of asbestos.

    “Public housing tenants deserve decent, sanitary housing. They deserve housing that complies with the law,” said one of Ms. Lowry’s attorneys, Anna Prakash of Nichols Kaster, PLLP. “The fundamental health and safety protections the law provides should not be dependent on whether someone receives public assistance.”

    Ms. Lowry, like other Minneapolis housing public tenants, takes great pride in how she has been able to manage her house despite the defendants’ alleged failures. Her house is her home, and she wants to continue living there. Ms. Lowry, on behalf of herself and the other public housing tenants, is simply seeking the legal protections that they must be afforded to continue to live in their homes safely.

    Ms. Lowry is represented by Anna P. Prakash and Nicole J. Schladt of Nichols Kaster, PLLP; John R. Shoemaker and Paul F. Shoemaker of Shoemaker & Shoemaker, PLLC; and Larry McDonough. The case is Lowry v. City of Minneapolis, et. al, Case No. 27-CV-21-10928, and is filed in Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District Court.

    Photo by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash

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