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Harris v. Itzhaki

United State Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
183 F.3d 1043 (1999)


Anna Harris (plaintiff), an African-American woman, was a tenant in an apartment building owned by the Itzhakis (defendants). At the apartment building, the Itzhakis employed a tenant, Ms. Waldman, to serve as the building supervisor. She collected rents, screened potential tenants, and informed the Itzhakis of the conditions in the building. One day, Ms. Harris overheard Ms. Waldman stating that the Itzhakis preferred not to rent to African-Americans. Ms. Harris, being the only African-American in the building, informed a fair housing council of this statement. The council then sent two potential tenants to view the building. These potential tenants were similar in all aspects except for race. The Caucasian woman who visited the building was greeted with open arms and encouraged to rent an apartment. The African-American potential tenant was discouraged from renting an apartment, being told that the neighborhood was dangerous, the apartments were small, and told of extra charges, none of which was mentioned to the Caucasian potential tenant. After making the complaint, Ms. Harris was informed that Ms. Waldman did not receive two months’ rent from her. Ms. Harris insisted that she left the rent with Ms. Waldman, and was not given any warning about missing rent prior to her complaint to the fair housing council. Ms. Harris then brought this action stating that the Itzhakis discriminated against African-Americans in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The district court dismissed Ms. Harris’ claims. Ms. Harris then appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Hug, C.J.)

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