Mark Hanna’s Article “Coverage and Defenses in Fair Housing Act Claims” Published in For The Defense

Mark HannaMember Mark E. Hanna’s recent article, “Coverage and Defenses in Fair Housing Act Claims,” was published in the June 2017 issue of DRI’s magazine, For The Defense. As Mark notes in the article, “The FHA and the ADA regulations are broad enough to include apparently innocent actions, which can create liability without any discriminatory intent.” You will want to read the entire article, which you can access below, but among the points he addresses are:

  • Can the Defendant Tender to an Insurance Carrier?
  • The Defense Approach to a Claim Under the ADA Related to a Service Animal
  • The Challenges Presented by Group Homes to Existing Municipal Zoning

Mark was the 2017 program chair for the DRI Civil Rights and Government Tort Liability Seminar and serves as chair of the DRI Governmental Liability Committee’s Land Use Specialized Litigation Group.

Coverage and Defenses in Fair Housing Act Claims

It is becoming all too common in the news: yet another apartment owner or municipality has paid out thousands or even millions of dollars to resolve a fair-housing complaint. The Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. §3601, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §12101, cover a vast array of housing and “places of public accommodation.” The FHA and the ADA make unlawful discriminatory conduct in both words and actions that limit the availability of housing or physical access to homes. The FHA bars discrimination based on race, color, national original, religion, sex, disability, or familial status in substantially all housing-related transactions. The agency regulations under the FHA and the ADA are broad enough to include apparently innocent actions, which can create liability even when there is no discriminatory intent. In Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, 135 S. Ct. 2507 (2015), the principle that the FHA prohibits unjustified policies that discriminate in practice, even if not motivated by the intent to harm a particular group, was reaffirmed and made clear. At its core, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that disparate-impact claims are cognizable under the FHA.

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NOBA Young Lawyers’ Section CLE Program Chaired by Eric Winder Sella Receives National Recognition

The American Bar Association will award the Big Easy Bootcamp the E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award. The Big Easy Bootcamp is held annually and is designed for newly admitted attorneys practicing in the New Orleans area. For the past three years, it has been chaired by Eric Winder Sella.

The ABA will present the award, along with a cash prize of $3,500.00, at the National Conference of Bar Presidents Annual Meeting in New York City this summer. The Gambrell Awards honor excellence and innovation in professionalism programs by law schools, bar associations, professionalism commissions and other law-related organizations and were established in 1991 to honor E. Smythe Gambrell, a former ABA and American Bar Foundation president. Gambrell founded the Legal Aid Society in Atlanta, where he practiced law from 1922 until his death in 1986.

Georges Legrand Honored at New Orleans CityBusiness Leadership in Law Event

Georges Legrand Leadership in Law eventFounder and member Georges Legrand and fellow honorees of the New Orleans CityBusiness Leadership in Law class of 2017 were recognized at a reception at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) on Monday, May 22, 2017. The publication also produced a special Leadership in Law insert that includes interviews with each of the attorneys.  We are delighted to share Georges’s interview, which is appended below. 

Georges Legrand, Firm-Associated

A native of New Orleans, Georges Legrand graduated from the University of New Orleans and Loyola Law School. He briefly considered medical school, but decided law school was a better fit. An attorney since 1979, his specialty is maritime law.

Legrand is a member of Mouledoux, Bland, Legrand & Brackett. He points out that marine work is very diversified and he enjoys the different aspects.

One of his recent memorable cases involved an “embarrassment of navigation” case (equivalent to running someone off the road, only it involves a river). His client was expecting a poor result, but they prevailed and the client was thrilled.

Legrand feels very satisfied when a corporate client appreciates his work, but he doesn’t mince words when asked about his proudest accomplishment.

“My proudest accomplishment is hopefully being a good father and husband. That probably means more to me than anything,” he said. His biggest challenge is arranging his time to allow him to do that.

He advises aspiring lawyers to pay attention to detail and do what’s necessary to produce a great work product. In his opinion, if you do those things everything else takes care of itself. He also urges them to be timely and communicate with clients.

“I don’t know how you make a living if you’re not timely in responding to your customers,” he said.

Outside the office, he loves the food scene in New Orleans and hopes to be a food writer when he finishes practicing. He also loves to travel and spend time with his family.

He believes in being a steward of the community, and he and his wife are active in their church and various community organizations. Legrand founded a marine seminar for the Offshore Marine Services Association, made up of boat operators in the Gulf. It educates them in the nuances of marine litigation to help them mitigate issues or avoid ending up in court.

“Knowledge is power,” he said. “If you’re going to end up in court, get the best result.”