Adkins v. Morgan Stanley

About the Case

The ACLU filed a class action complaint in federal court in NY in mid-October alleging that Morgan Stanley, one of the nation's largest holder of residential mortgages, targeted poor Black communities in Detroit in a scheme to originate high-cost and high-risk residential mortgage loans for profit.

Key to the ACLU's case is the allegation that Morgan Stanley's practices disporportionately impacted non-white borrowers and, as a result, subjected non-white borrowers to a greater risk of default and foreclosure.

Why We Are Following the Case

Adkins represents a crucial step forward in litigation-driven challenges to housing discrimination. Though there have been many cases that have challenged race-based housing segregation and discrimination--including challenges tied to Section 8 and abusive surveillance policies in public housing--there have been few high profile suits targeting the highly racialized predatory lending practices that were a contributing factor in the Housing Crisis and, ultimately, the precipitous drop in minority household net worth between 2007 and 2012.

What the ACLU is Seeking

The ACLU is seeking both special court protection of the plaintiff class in the form of an injuction to stop foreclosure actions as well as disgorgement of profits from Morgan Stanley that are linked to facilitation and participation in the mortgage scheme that disporportionately harmed African American borrowers in Detroit.


Web Links

ACLU Case Page

ACLU, "A Step Forward in Fair and Equal Access to Credit for Minority Borrowers"

The Atlantic, "Were Big Banks Guilty of Racial Discrimination in the Housing Crisis?"

Laws Involved

Federal Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601–2619

Federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1691–1691f

Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, Mich. Comp. Laws § 37.2101, et seq


Complaint (Oct. 15, 2012)

Opposition to Motion to Dismiss (Jan 1, 2013)