MEMPHIS, TN – March 17, 2021 – U.S. District Judge Mark S. Norris ruled Monday afternoon in favor of the property owners and managers who brought a lawsuit against the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Department of Housing and Urban Development, finding that the national eviction moratorium which has prevented residential evictions since September 2020, is unlawful and exceeds the authority delegated to the CDC under the federal Public Health Service Act. Judge Norris struck down the eviction moratorium and declared it unenforceable. In issuing his 20-page Order, Judge Norris stated that “[t]o hold otherwise would be to construe the statute so broadly as to grant this administrative agency unfettered power to prohibit or mandate anything….”
The case, Tiger Lily, LLC et al. vs. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development et al. No. 2:20-cv-02692-MSN-atc, brought by Glankler Brown lawyers, Josh Kahane and Aubrey Greer, was the first case of its kind filed anywhere in the United States on behalf of a broad and diverse coalition of business organizations and individuals owning and managing apartment complexes, duplexes, townhomes, and single-family residences. The Tiger Lily Plaintiffs argued that the government action exceeded its authority, was arbitrary and capricious, and infringed upon constitutionally protected liberties.
“The Court’s ruling is both of national significance and fundamental importance. We are grateful to Judge Norris for his reasoned decision which puts an end to the serious and unlawful infringement on constitutional standards and fundamentally protected rights,” noted Josh Kahane of Glankler Brown PLLC who served as Lead Counsel for the Tiger Lily Plaintiffs.
“We are a country of laws and the current health pandemic does not relieve the government of its responsibility to comply with those laws,” added Aubrey Greer, co-counsel for the Tiger Lily Plaintiffs.
The Tiger Lily Plaintiffs brought their lawsuit in September 2020, following the expiration of the eviction moratorium contained in the March 2020 CARES Act. Mr. Kahane and Mr. Greer undertook all available steps to expedite the litigation in light of the extraordinary importance of the issues presented and the damaging effects suffered by owners under the moratorium. Over the objection of the government defendants, Mr. Kahane and Mr. Greer sought and obtained an expedited briefing schedule that placed the case in a position for final resolution in the beginning of 2021. “We are very grateful to Judge Norris for prioritizing resolution of this case,” added Mr. Kahane.
Subsequent to the submission of final briefs, in mid-January 2021, the government defendants argued that the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 ratified the eviction moratorium. In issuing its ruling, Judge Norris again sided with the Tiger Lily Plaintiffs rejecting the government’s argument stating “a one-month extension of a halt order does not remedy the constitutional infirmities of an open ended delegation. For these reasons Defendants’ arguments concerning ratification are unavailing.”
“We remain strong advocates for any lawful effort that will help tenants remain in their homes during this uniquely challenging time; however, these efforts to assist one important group must not come at the expense of damaging another,” said Mr. Kahane. “We are proud to have successfully defended the rights of owners – both big and small – and now call upon state and local government to ensure that the funds allocated under last week’s American Rescue Act are quickly and efficiently distributed to those most vulnerable,” added Mr. Kahane.