JAMESON, District Judge:
This is an appeal from an order dismissing an action under Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.) and 42 U.S.C. § 1982 by tenants of a large apartment complex challenging allegedly racially discriminatory practices of their landlord.
On August 18, 1970 plaintiffs-appellants, Paul J. Trafficante, a Caucasian, and Dorothy M. Carr, a Negro, filed a complaint alleging that defendant-appellee, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, the owner of the Parkmerced Apartment complex, was engaging in racially discriminatory practices in the rental of apartments, and seeking injunctive relief, actual and punitive damages, costs and attorney fees.
On December 21, 1970 Metropolitan sold
In dismissing the action the district court noted that the plaintiffs have not alleged, "nor can they, that they themselves have been denied any of the rights granted by Title VIII or by 42 U.S.C. § 1982 to purchase or rent real property." The court held that plaintiffs have no "generalized standing" to enforce the Act for the reasons that they were not "persons aggrieved" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a) and "the enforcement of the public interest in fair housing enunciated in Title VIII of the Act and the creation of integrated communities to the extent envisioned by Congress are entrusted to the Attorney General by § 813, 42 U.S.C. § 3613, and not to private litigants such as those before the Court." We conclude that the district court properly held that the plaintiffs do not have the requisite standing to maintain this action under either the Civil Rights Act of 1968 or 42 U.S.C. § 1982.
The tests for determining standing to sue were summarized in Association of Data Processing Service Organizations v. Camp, 1970, 397 U.S. 150, 90 S.Ct. 827, 25 L.Ed.2d 184:
Accordingly it is necessary to examine the statutes upon which the action is based to determine whether plaintiffs have been granted standing to maintain the action. The complaint of Trafficante and Carr contains three causes of action. The first is based upon 42 U.S.C. § 3610 and the second upon § 3612 contained in the Fair Housing Title (Title VIII) of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. The third cause of action is based upon 42 U.S.C. § 1982, a part of the Civil Rights Act of 1866.
Are plaintiffs "persons aggrieved" within the meaning of sections 3610 and 3612? Section 3610(a) defines a person aggrieved as one "who claims to have been injured by a discriminatory housing practice or who believes that he will be irrevocably injured by a discriminatory housing practice that is about to occur * * *."
Alternatively, a person may bring a civil action directly in a United States District Court or a state or local court of general jurisdiction under section 3612 to enforce "the rights granted by sections 3603, 3604, 3605, and 3606." The action must be bought "within one hundred and eighty days after the alleged discriminatory housing practice occurred." In a proper case the court is authorized to appoint an attorney for the plaintiff and allow him to proceed without payment of costs or security. As remedies, the plaintiff may obtain injunctive relief, actual damages and up to $1,000 in punitive damages. A prevailing plaintiff may also recover attorney's fees if in the opinion of the court he is not financially able to assume such fees.
Sections 3603, 3604, 3605, and 3606 make unlawful specified acts of discrimination in the sale or rental of property (§§ 3603 and 3604), its financing (§ 3605), and in the provision of brokerage services (§ 3606). Section 3604, the only section conceivably applicable, provides that, subject to certain exemptions, "it shall be unlawful
There is no allegation in either complaint that any of the plaintiffs was the direct object of any discriminatory housing practice proscribed by the Act; nor are any specific acts of discrimination alleged. Rather both complaints simply allege generally that
These acts of discrimination on the part of Metropolitan are said to have caused plaintiffs to lose
Plaintiffs do not claim to have been injured as the result of any specific discriminatory housing practice committed against any particular person. Rather the injury for which they seek redress grows out of the alleged maintenance of a segregated "white ghetto", or, in other words, out of a "pattern or practice" of discrimination.
Section 3613 grants the Attorney General the power to bring an action for preventive relief where he believes that a person or group of persons is engaged in a pattern or practice of resistance to the rights granted by Title VIII or where a group of persons has been denied these rights and such denial raises an issue of "general public importance." No provision of Title VIII grants a similar right of action to private parties.
Construing the provisions of Title VIII as a whole, it seems clear that it was the intent of Congress to provide first, through sections 3610 and 3612 methods of redress for persons who are the objects of discriminatory housing practices and who seek to vindicate
Do plaintiffs have standing to sue under 42 U.S.C. § 1982? That section reads:
In Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 1968, 392 U.S. 409, 88 S.Ct. 2186, 20 L.Ed.2d 1189, the complaint had alleged that respondents had refused to sell petitioners a home for the reason that one of them was a Negro. The lower courts had held that § 1982 applied only to state actions and did not reach private refusals to sell. In reversing the Court held that § 1982 prohibited all racial discrimination in the sale or rental of property and was a valid exercise of Congress's power under the Thirteenth Amendment.
We find nothing in Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer to indicate that section 1982 would be construed to grant standing to sue to anyone other than a person who was the victim of racial discrimination in the sale or rental of property.
Appellants argue that on the basis of these decisions they have standing to sue. We do not agree. While the plaintiffs in Sullivan and Walker were white persons there was in each case a racially motivated interference with property rights. Here there is no allegation that defendants interfered with the leasehold rights of any of the plaintiffs. The Court's examination of the legislative history of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 in Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer, supra, makes it clear that the purpose of Congress was to forbid racial discrimination affecting the basic civil rights enumerated therein, including the right to purchase or lease property, and to guarantee the newly freed slaves the property rights enjoyed by white citizens. This Congress could do under the enforcement clause of the Thirteenth Amendment because discrimination in the sale or rental of housing is a "badge or incident" of slavery. 392 U.S. at 441, 88 S.Ct. 2186. We find no indication that Congress intended to allow either third party enforcement of the rights granted by § 1982 or an independent right of action in a person who has not been stamped with a "badge of slavery" either by an act of discrimination or some racially motivated interference with his property rights. Accordingly, we cannot say that the interest asserted by plaintiffs is "arguably within the zone of interests to be protected" by section 1982.
Honorable William J. Jameson, United States Senior Judge, Billings, Montana, sitting by designation.