More hiding of the ball as NYC clings to its outsider-restriction policy

Mar. 8, 2018 — Winfield et al. v. City of New York is the case that challenges the City’s outsider-restriction policy in affordable housing lotteries as denying income-eligible New York households the chance to compete for apartments on a level playing field regardless of race; as perpetuating segregation; and as constituting intentional discrimination based on race (because the City has been influenced by those who wish to maintain the residential racial status quo).

Plaintiffs’ attorneys were today obliged once more to challenge a decision by the Magistrate Judge presiding over the discovery phase of the case. This decision permits the City to withhold documents that could shed light, among other things, on what plaintiffs’ allege is the City’s knowing responsiveness to those opposed to racial change in neighborhood composition. Even documents that the Court described as dealing with potential alternatives to the outsider-restriction policy were protected by what is called the “deliberative process privilege.”  Traditionally, when deliberations deal with a factor shaping the decisions that are challenged in a civil rights lawsuit, the “privilege” falls; here, the privilege is being permitted to stand as a sturdy barrier impairing plaintiffs’ search for the truth.

The Opinion and Order that plaintiffs are challenging, and the papers plaintiffs filed today can be found below.