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U.S. Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Maine Housing First Circuit Win

News | February 3, 2014

A team of litigators from the Washington, D.C. office of Kutak Rock, including Rob Jaffe, Barry Steinberg and Lisa Sturzenberger, successfully opposed a petition for a writ of certiorari on behalf of a long-time firm client, the Maine State Housing Authority (MaineHousing).

In 2009, plaintiffs sued MaineHousing contending that MaineHousing had breached plaintiffs’ Section 8 housing assistance payments contracts by failing to grant annual adjustments to the contract rents for the properties. The parties filed cross motions for summary judgment; the district court granted summary judgment in favor of MaineHousing.

In a case of first impression in the federal circuit courts, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the district court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of MaineHousing. The panel held the overall limitation clauses in each of the housing assistance payments contracts allow MaineHousing to withhold otherwise-automatic annual adjustments in contract rents where MaineHousing determined—based on the formula prescribed by HUD—that further adjustments would result in material differences between contract rents and market rates.

Plaintiffs filed a petition for a writ of certiorari, seeking to reverse the order from the First Circuit. Kutak Rock and HUD separately filed briefs in opposition to the petition, arguing that review of the order by the United States Supreme Court was not warranted. The Supreme Court ultimately denied the petition for a writ of certiorari filed by plaintiffs.