News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

Fair Housing Clinic Students/Faculty Attend Supreme Court Oral Argument

Fair Housing Clinic students and faculty attended oral arguments for the case they worked on, First American Financial Corporation v. Edwards, U.S. Supreme Ct. Case No. No. 10-708.  Here is the oral argument transcript.  There is a Plain Dealer Article about the case and a brief Ohio Public Radio Interview with Professor Ed Kramer.

See our prior posts about the case: and

Photo: Denise Edwards. Ed Kramer, Julia Kazmers, Todd Glassman, Brad Eier, Natalie HarperJose Roman, Jeremy Samuels, and Gerald Henn Fall 2011 Fair Housing Law Clinic at US. Supreme Court on 11-28-2011 after the oral argument in their case


Fair Housing Clinic Wins on Discovery Stay Issue in Ohio 8th District

C|M|LAW’s Fair Housing Clinic successfully appealed a foreclosure case in the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals.   The Eighth District found that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied the Clinic’s reasonable Civ.R. 56(F) motion for discovery time and proceeded to grant summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff bank.  The decision remands the case back to the trial court for discovery on fair housing and other consumer protection law claims in this foreclosure case against an African-American and American Indian family.  Beal Bank S.S.B. v.  Means, Cuyahoga App. No. 96252, 2011-Ohio-5922.

Jeff Albiez worked on the trial court filings and Neil P. McGowan worked on the appellate brief when they were students in the Fair Housing Clinic.

Fair Housing Clinic Files Supreme Court Brief

C|M|LAW’s Fair Housing Clinic submitted its merit brief for the respondent in  First American Financial Corporation v. Edwards, U.S. Supreme Ct. Case No. No. 10-708.   According to the brief:

“Congress enacted Section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (“RESPA”), 12 U.S.C. § 2607, to protect homebuyers from the conflicts of interest that arise when a real estate professional accepts kickbacks for referrals—conflicts that tend to increase the cost and decrease the quality of settlement services. Congress prohibited the payment or receipt of kickbacks, id. § 2607(a), and authorized consumers to recover three times the settlement charge if they receive services in violation of that prohibition, id. § 2607(d)(2).

The question presented is:
Whether Section 8 of RESPA is a permissible exercise of Congress’s authority to enact “statutes creating legal rights, the invasion of which creates standing.” Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 578 (1992) (quotation marks omitted).

See our prior post on the case.

Prof. Ed Kramer – Comic Book Superhero!

Even though the Avengers have finished filming in Cleveland, we still have at least one comic book superhero in town.  Adjunct professor Ed Kramer of Housing Advocates, Inc., who teaches C|M|LAW’s Fair Housing Clinic appears in the graphic novel Understanding the Crash by Seth Tobocman, Eric Laursen and Jessica Wehrle.  Chapter 2, “She Lives Here” tells the story of a woman swindled by a loan shark, and Professor Kramer’s court battle to save her house from foreclosure.    This fairly short book is full of insights into how the foreclosure mess came about, the intricate financial shenanigans involved, present solutions and the  response of community organizations such as East Cleveland’s Organizing Project, The Housing Advocates, Inc and Miami’s Take Back the Land.

The library has a copy of Understanding the Crash.


Fair Housing Clinic to Work on U.S. Supreme Court Case

C|M|LAW’s Fair Housing Clinic will be researching and writing briefs for First American Financial Corporation v. Edwards, U.S. Supreme Ct. Case No. No. 10-708.  The Clinic won  the case being appealed, Edwards v. First Am. Corp. , 610 F.3d 514 (9th Cir. 2010), as well as a companion case Edwards v. First Am. Corp., 385 Fed. Appx. 629, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 12718 (9th Cir. 2010) (The companion case deals with issues of class action certification and nationwide discovery).  The issue pending in the U.S. Supreme Court is whether a purchaser of real estate [who does not claim that the alleged violation of RESPA affected the price, quality, or other characteristics of the settlement services provided] has standing to sue under Article III, § 2 of the United States Constitution, which provides that the federal judicial power is limited to ‘Cases’ and ‘Controversies’ and which the Court has interpreted to require the plaintiff to ‘have suffered an ‘injury in fact.’’

The Fair Housing Clinic represents the plaintiff, a purchaser of real estate and Cleveland resident, who allegedly was affected by an exclusive agreement between her title insurance agent, Tower City Title, and issuer of title insurance policies, First American.  According to the complaint, First American purchased minority interests in Tower City Title and numerous other title insurance agents across the country, in return for the agents agreeing to exclusively refer all title business to First American.   Section 8(a) of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), 12 USC 2607, makes it illegal to give or receive a kickback or referral fee (broadly defined) in exchange for referring business (such as title insurance, mortgages, etc.) connected to a residential real estate transaction.