Circuit court upholds Section 8 precedent

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals declined today to overturn precedent on the due process rights of someone rejected from specific Section 8 housing.

In Marshall Fincher v. South Bend Heritage Foundation, No. 09-1964, Marshall Fincher sued after his Section 8 application for housing in a building owned by South Bend Heritage Foundation was denied due to a previous eviction. Fincher claimed he was denied due process of law or that SBHF breached a contract with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to which Fincher is a third-party beneficiary.

Fincher wanted the Circuit Court to overturn its precedent in Eidson v. Pierce, 745 F.2d 435 (7th Cir. 1984), but the judges declined because they found Eidson to be a well-reasoned opinion. That ruling found there is no legitimate claim to entitlement for people rejected from a specific housing unit.

“Under Section 8, even if a plaintiff proved that the landlord relied on false information in coming to its decision to deny the plaintiff housing, the plaintiff still would not be entitled to the housing so long as the housing went to another eligible candidate,” wrote Judge Joel Flaum. “Therefore, the due process hearing would be meaningless.”

Section 8 only provides landlords with a series of guidelines to apply when choosing between two eligible candidates and leaves the landlord with considerable discretion in making the final decision, he continued.

The Circuit judges rejected Fincher’s arguments to rely on a 9th Circuit case that was decided two years before Eidson because the 7th Circuit had already rejected the reasoning from that case in Eidson. They also declined to adopt rulings out of a New Jersey District Court or the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts because those cases tackled different issues than the one in Eidson. In the New Jersey case, the issue was whether an individual had a right to a due process hearing when she was denied eligibility for the Section 8 housing program in New Jersey. The Massachusetts case addressed a situation where the defendants were allegedly in violation of numerous state public housing regulations that set forth mandatory priority and preference categories.

“Because Eidson was a well-reasoned opinion, and no significant changes in the law have occurred between when we decided that case and now, we decline the invitation to overturn Eidson and affirm the district court on the due process challenge,” wrote Judge Flaum.

The 7th Circuit also affirmed the District Court’s rejection of Fincher’s claim that he can bring a suit as a third-party beneficiary of a contract entered into between SBHF and HUD. Fincher must point to specific regulations or contract provisions that are being violated in this case to give rise to this cause of action.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.