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7th Circuit affirms ruling against woman kicked out of public housing

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A woman who challenged the Housing Authority of South Bend’s decision to terminate her lease for federally subsidized public housing because of criminal activity lost her appeal before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In Bridgett Stevens v. Housing Authority of South Bend, Indiana, et al. and State of Indiana, No. 10-2724, Bridgett Stevens filed a lawsuit after receiving a notice from the housing authority that alleged she violated lease provisions that prohibited criminal activity on the property. A shooting between Stevens’ daughter’s boyfriend and the father of her children led to the first notice. She received two subsequent notices after police responded to her apartment to investigate a fight and the discovery of marijuana at the apartment. She left the apartment after the third notice.

Her lawsuit – which only dealt with the first notice – alleged that the HASB and other individuals violated the Fair Housing Act, the 14th Amendment, and the Indiana law. The District Court ruled in favor of the defendants, finding her challenges to the Indiana ejectment statute to be moot because she left after she received the second and third notices and that her due process rights weren’t violated because she was held responsible for the actions of persons who were not under her control. It found although one of the men involved in the shooting was not literally under her control in the colloquial sense, he was present at the apartment only because a household member had invited him.

“Given that she ultimately left her apartment for reasons unrelated to the acts that form the basis of the lawsuit, the appropriate question is whether she retains a legally cognizable interest in the outcome of the suit and whether the court’s decision could affect her rights,” wrote Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner. “Injunctive relief is therefore no longer available to her. Declaratory relief suffers from the same mootness problem because it would have no impact on Stevens going forward.”

The judges also noted that the fact Stevens lied on her application about ever having lived in public housing and the presence of illegal drugs in her apartment would support terminating the lease.  
 

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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