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Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, Inc. v. Connor Group

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

August 5, 2013

Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, Inc., Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Appellee,
v.
The Connor Group, Defendant-Appellee/Cross-Appellant.

Argued: March 5, 2013

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio at Dayton. No. 3:10-CV-83—Walter H. Rice, District Judge.

ARGUED:

Diane E. Citrino, THACKER MARTINSEK LPA, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellant/Cross-Appellee.

Stephen A. Watring, DUNLEVEY, MAHAN & FURRY, Dayton, Ohio, for Appellee/Cross-Appellant.

Teresa Kwong, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Curiae.

ON BRIEF:

Diane E. Citrino, Brian D. Heskamp, THACKER MARTINSEK LPA, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellant/Cross-Appellee.

Stephen A. Watring, Amy C. Mitchell, David M. Rickert, DUNLEVEY, MAHAN & FURRY, Dayton, Ohio, for Appellee/Cross-Appellant.

Teresa Kwong, Dennis J. Dimsey, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., Stephen M. Dane, RELMAN, DANE & COLFAX PLLC, Washington, D.C., Rachel K. Robinson, Columbus, Ohio, for Amici Curiae.

Before: MARTIN and GILMAN, Circuit Judges; FOWLKES, District Judge [*]

OPINION

BOYCE F. MARTIN, JUDGE

This case is about the application of the Fair Housing Act's section 3604(c) and Ohio Revised Code section 4112.02(H)(7) to a Craigslist advertisement for a one-bedroom apartment. The Connor Group placed an ad on Craigslist for an apartment in Dayton, Ohio, advertising a "great bachelor pad for any single man looking to hook up." The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center brought suit against the Connor Group for violating the Fair Housing Act and Ohio's housing statute. The case went to trial and a jury found that the ad did not violate either statute. Miami Valley now appeals the district court's denial of their Rule 50 motion for a directed verdict and their Rule 59 motion for a new trial. The Connor Group cross-appeals the district court's decision denying its motion for an award of attorney's fees. We AFFIRM the district court's denial of Miami Valley's Rule 50 motion and the Connor Group's motion for attorney's fees, but REVERSE the district court's denial of Miami Valley's Rule 59 motion for a new trial.

I.

Miami Valley is a fair-housing organization "whose mission is to promote fair housing and eliminate housing discrimination in Montgomery County and surrounding counties in Ohio." The Connor Group owns and manages around 15, 000 rental units throughout the United States, including around 1, 900 in the Dayton, Ohio area. In May 2009, Rachel ...


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