On March 6, 2006, the Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals held that Section 8 Voucher tenants may sue to enforce federal laws that limit their rent and utility expenses to 30% of their adjusted income.
The ruling came out of a lawsuit brought by the New Orleans Legal Assistance on behalf of more than 40 Jefferson Parish Housing Authority families. These tenants, along with another 2,700 Jefferson Parish families, had utility allowances that were much lower than required by the federal Section 8 laws.
As the first appellate court decision on this issue, the Fifth Circuit's decision is also an important victory for the 2 million Section 8 Voucher tenants throughout the nation. The decision is entitled Catrice Johson v. Housing Authority of Jefferson Parish, 5th Circuit No. 04-31201.
The legal team for the tenants on this appeal included New Orleans Legal Assistance, the Houston office of King & Spalding, the National Housing Law Project (Oakland, CA), the AARP Foundation Litigation (Washington, D.C.), Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid (Austin, TX), Public Justice Center (Baltimore, MD) and the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia.
Reagan Simpson, a partner at one of the nation's largest law firms, King & Spalding, and a nationally renowned appellate lawyer, orally argued the appeal for the Jefferson Parish Section 8 tenants.
Special thanks to Reagan Simpson and the entire legal team on the appeal which included Charles Delbaum, Laura Tuggle and Mark Moreau from New Orleans Legal Assistance, Jim Grow from the National Housing Law Project, Fred Fuchs from Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, Barbara McDowell from Legal Aid Society of D.C., Susan Silverstein, Michael Schuster from the AARP Foudation Litigation, Debra Gardner and Beth Harrison from the Public Justice Center