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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