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Sullivan v. Hernandez

United States District Court for the District of Maryland
215 F. Supp. 2d 635 (2002)


Facts

Harold and Carla Sullivan (plaintiffs), who were both African American, met with Jan Hernandez (defendant) to discuss rental properties. After viewing a property, the Sullivans completed a rental application. A few days before the listing agent received the Sullivans’ application, the listing agent received an application from Partha Bagchi. Ronald and Maureen Carroll (defendants), the property owners, received background reports on Bagchi and the Sullivans. The background reports showed that Bagchi had a significantly higher salary than the Sullivans, the Sullivans had two negative credit reports and one prior bankruptcy, and Bagchi had once violated a rental lease.  The Carrolls decided to rent the home to Bagchi. The Sullivans sued, claiming racial discrimination by Hernandez and the Carrolls in violation of federal law. Hernandez and the Carrolls argued that they accepted Bagchi’s application for non-discriminatory reasons, specifically Bagchi’s superior financial condition. Both sides filed motions for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Motz, J.)

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