This Note uses United States ex rel. Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York, Inc. v. Westchester County as an entry point into a discussion of residential segregation, the Fair Housing Act (FHA), and enforcement of the FHA’s desegregation provision—the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) duties. This Note explains why the Anti-Discrimination Center selected a qui tam action via the Federal False Claims Act to enforce Westchester’s duties. After highlighting the inadequacies of the FHA enforcement scheme, this Note explores the viability of qui tam as a solution.
Two issues are central to determining whether qui tam is a viable solution. First, a circuit split concerning the admissibility of information garnered through Freedom of Information Act requests in qui tam actions threatens to prevent national adoption of Anti-Discrimination Center-type actions. Second, this Note places qui tam enforcement of AFFH duties within the context of “public law” litigation and analyzes where such actions stand relative to commentators’ criticism and support for “public law” litigation. This Note concludes that the circuit split should be resolved in favor of admitting Freedom of Information Act evidence and that Anti-Discrimination Center-type actions have the potential to withstand some common pitfalls observed in traditional “public law” litigation.