(Adds comment from Citigroup)
By Dena Aubin
July 10 A federal judge has dismissed mortgage
discrimination lawsuits filed by the City of Miami against
Citigroup Inc and Wells Fargo & Co, following the
dismissal of a similar lawsuit against Bank of America Corp
earlier this week.
On Wednesday U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas
dismissed the city's claims against Citi and Wells under the
U.S. Fair Housing Act. He referred to his reasoning in the Bank
of America case, where he said Miami lacked standing to sue.
Miami had sued the three banks in December, accusing them of
causing a flood of foreclosures in minority neighborhoods during
the last decade's housing crisis by giving borrowers high-cost
mortgage loans they could not afford.
The city sought damages under the 1968 Fair Housing Act for
lost property tax revenue because of a decline in home values
and for extra city expenses in blighted neighborhoods.
"We are pleased with the court's ruling," Citigroup
spokesman Mark Rodgers said. "Citi is proud of its deep
commitment to make sure our lending standards are fair to all of
Wells Fargo spokeswoman Catherine Pulley said the bank is
pleased with the ruling and will continue working to expand home
ownership and revitalize distressed neighborhoods.
A spokesman for Miami could not immediately be reached for
In his dismissal of the Bank of America case, Dimitrouleas
had said that the city's claims were not covered by the Fair
Housing Act, which was passed to prevent discrimination and
assure fair housing across the country.
The judge said Miami's claims were only "marginally related"
to the purpose of the act.
The city's alleged harm was also too remote from the bank's
conduct to bring a suit, Dimitrouleas said.
A similar lawsuit filed by Miami last month against JPMorgan
Chase & Co is still pending. The bank has not yet filed
a motion for dismissal.
The cases are City of Miami v Wells Fargo & Co, Case No
13-cv-24508, and City of Miami v Citigroup, Case No 24510, both
in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
(Reporting by Dena Aubin in New York; Editing by Kevin
Drawbaugh and Lisa Shumaker)