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A federal judge is refusing landlords’ request to put the Biden administration’s new eviction moratorium on hold, though she made clear she thinks it’s illegal.

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich on Friday said her “hands are tied” by an appellate ruling the last time courts considered the evictions moratorium in the spring.

Alabama landlords who are challenging the moratorium are likely to appeal.

Friedrich wrote that the new temporary ban on evictions the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention imposed last week is substantially similar to the version she ruled was illegal in May. At the time, Freidrich put her ruling on hold to allow the administration to appeal.

This time, she said, she is bound to follow a ruling from the appeals court that sits above her, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

If the D.C. Circuit doesn’t give the landlords what they want, they are expected to seek Supreme Court involvement.

In late June, the high court refused by a 5-4 vote to allow evictions to resume. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, part of the slim majority, said he agreed with Friedrich, but was voting to keep the moratorium in place because it was set to expire at the end of July.

Kavanaugh said then that he would reject any additional extension without clear authorization from Congress, which has not been able to take action.

In discussing the new moratorium last week, President Joe Biden acknowledged there were questions about its legality, but said a court fight over the new CDC order would buy time for the distribution of some of the $45 billion in rental assistance that has been approved but not yet used.


The eviction system, which saw a dramatic drop in cases before a federal moratorium expired over the weekend, rumbled back into action Monday, with activists girding for the first of what could be millions of affected tenants to be tossed onto the street.

In Rhode Island, landlords tired of waiting for federal rental assistance were in court hoping to evict their tenants while in Detroit, at least 600 tenants with court orders against them were at immediate risk.

“It’s very scary with the moratorium being over. All they need in Detroit is a landlord to pay for a dumpster,” said Ted Phillips, a lawyer who leads the United Community Housing Coalition.

The Biden administration allowed the federal moratorium to expire over the weekend and Congress was unable to extend it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leaders called for an immediate extension, calling it a “moral imperative” to prevent Americans from being put out of their homes during a COVID-19 surge.

In announcing the end of the ban, the Biden administration said its hands were tied after the U.S. Supreme Court signaled the measure had to end. It had hoped that historic amounts of rental assistance allocated by Congress in December and March would help avert an eviction crisis.

But the distribution has been painfully slow. Only about $3 billion of the first tranche of $25 billion had been distributed through June by states and localities. Another $21.5 billion will go to the states.

More than 15 million people live in households that owe as much as $20 billion to their landlords, according to the Aspen Institute. As of July 5, roughly 3.6 million people in the U.S. said they faced eviction in the next two months, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.

Parts of the South and other regions with weaker tenant protections will likely see the largest spikes and communities of color where vaccination rates are sometimes lower will be hit hardest. But advocates say this crisis is likely to have a wider impact than pre-pandemic evictions, hitting families who have never before been behind on rent.

In Rhode Island, Gabe Imondi, a 74-year-old landlord, was in court Monday hoping to get an eviction execution. It’s the final step to push a tenant out of one of four housing units he owns in nearby Pawtucket.

Imondi said he and his tenant have both filed forms for the billions in federal aid meant to help keep tenants in their homes but so far, he says, he hasn’t seen a cent of the state’s $200 million share.


A U.S. bankruptcy judge has upheld court decisions that the state of Montana lacked legal standing to file an involuntary bankruptcy petition nearly a decade ago against Yellowstone Club co-founder Tim Blixseth.

Judge Mike N. Nakagawa of Nevada on June 3 confirmed the ruling by previous judges to dismiss the involuntary petition, noting the case has lingered for nearly 10 years.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2019 the Montana Department of Revenue (MDOR) lacked legal standing to file an involuntary bankruptcy petition against Blixseth and referred the case to bankruptcy court to see if it should be dismissed.

The Yellowstone Club, a private ski and golf resort in Big Sky founded by Blixseth and his now ex-wife in 1997, filed for bankruptcy in 2008. Blixseth was accused of pocketing much of a $375 million Credit Suisse loan to the resort and later gave up control of the enterprise to his ex-wife during their 2008 divorce. The club, which has touted billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and former Vice President Dan Quayle as members, has emerged from bankruptcy under new ownership.

The Montana Department of Revenue had done an audit of Blixseth and in 2009 said he owed $56.8 million in taxes, penalties and interest arising from eight audit issues, court documents stated. The Montana action against Blixseth is separate from Blixseth’s claims against Montana in Nevada for damages due to the involuntary petition , the Independent Record reported.

In 2011, Montana joined with the Idaho State Tax Commission and the California Franchise Tax Board against Blixseth, however, those two states had settled agreements and withdrew from the petition, according to court documents.

Nakagawa noted that as of the hearing date, close to a decade has passed since the Involuntary Petition was filed. He said that since April 20, 2011, only Montana has continuously pursued this issue against Blixseth.

He said Yellowstone Club Liquidating Trustee apparently was interested in pursuing the involuntary proceeding against Blixseth, but gave up nearly two years before the 9th Circuit mandate was received by this bankruptcy court.



The New Hampshire House can proceed with in-person sessions this week without providing remote access to medically vulnerable lawmakers, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Seven Democratic lawmakers sued Republican House Speaker Sherm Packard last week arguing that holding in-person sessions without a remote option violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and the state and federal constitutions, and forces them to either risk their lives or abandon their duties as elected officials.

They sought a preliminary order requiring remote access, but U.S. District Court Judge Landya McCafferty denied their request. Without ruling on the merits of the case, she said the speaker can’t be sued for enforcing a House rule that is “closely related to core legislative functions.”

“While today’s ruling is a setback, history will judge New Hampshire House Democrats favorably for standing for public health and democracy during this pandemic,” said House Democratic Leader Renny Cushing, one of the suit’s plaintiffs. “Unfortunately, this case has exposed the callous indifference of House Republican leadership toward our most vulnerable members during the COVID-19 crisis that has taken the lives of a half a million Americans.”

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the 400-member House has met several times at the University of New Hampshire ice arena, outside on a UNH athletic field, and - after former Speaker Dick Hinch died of COVID-19 - from their cars in a parking lot. The sessions scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday will be held at a sports complex in Bedford that offers more space to spread out than the previous facilities, as well as separate entrances for members from opposing parties.

“We will continue to work with all House members to ensure that if they choose to attend any legislative meeting in person, that they can be confident that we are taking a high degree of precaution, and have extensive health and safety measures in place,” Packard said in a statement.

But Cushing said ruling makes clear that the speaker is “solely to blame for active and obvious exclusion of members of the House.”

“As we teach our children, just because you can do something does not mean you should,” he said.


Landlord advocacy groups filed a special action with the Arizona State Supreme Court Wednesday seeking to invalidate as unconstitutional Gov. Doug Ducey's moratorium on evictions of people who have missed rent payments because they became ill or lost their income due to the coronavirus.

The Arizona Multihousing Association, the Manufactured Housing Communities of Arizona and several individual property owners filed the action directly with the high court. It argues the moratorium violates the state constitution's separation of powers and its contract clause.

The multihousing association's president and CEO Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus says owners have waived fees, worked with renters to make payments, and helped them fill out government relief applications.

But five months after the moratorium was first imposed “we are at a breaking point,” she said, noting that property owners also have mortgages, taxes and other bills to pay.

She said rental housing is the only area of the state economy that has been compelled to provide a product or service free of charge during the pandemic. Ducey signed the moratorium order on March 24 and recently extended it until Oct. 31.

There was no immediate reaction from the governor's office to the court filing, which named the state and several justices of the peace and constables from around Arizona who are charged with serving eviction notices.

Arizona’s initial 120-day moratorium ending July 22 was supposed to ensure people wouldn’t lose their homes if they got COVID-19 or lost their jobs during pandemic restrictions. But advocates argued it was too early to end the ban because most of the government money set aside to help pay rents and mortgages still hasn’t been doled out.

The Arizona Housing Department still has a backlog of people trying to get rental assistance. Gregory Real Estate Management of Phoenix in July sued Ducey over the moratorium and asked that it be allowed to evict a family in a rental home in the city of Surprise over unpaid rent, which the firm says has passed $8,000.

But a Maricopa County Superior Court judge upheld the moratorium and disagreed with the company's argument that the governor’s action exceeded his authority or was unconstitutional. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. Pandemic restrictions, such as reducing capacity or closing businesses, are intended to limit crowds that can spread the virus.


The Wisconsin Supreme Court says the city of Sheboygan properly annexed land for a Kohler Co. golf course. The company wants to convert nearly 250 acres in the Town of Wilson in Sheboygan County for the course.

The Sheboygan Common Council passed an ordinance annexing the land on Kohler's behalf in 2017. The town sued, arguing the land isn't contiguous to the city and the city abused its discretion.

The court ruled unanimously Friday that the annexation was proper, finding the land shares a 650-foot boundary with city land and the city wanted the land to expand housing.



A federal appeals court threw out a lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of illegally profiting off the presidency through his luxury Washington hotel, handing Trump a significant legal victory Wednesday.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously overturned the ruling of a federal judge in Maryland who said the lawsuit could move forward.

The state of Maryland and the District of Columbia sued in 2017, claiming Trump has violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution by accepting profits through foreign and domestic officials who stay at the Trump International Hotel. The case is one of three that argue the president is violating the provision, which prohibits federal officials from accepting benefits from foreign or state governments without congressional approval.

In the case before the 4th Circuit, the court found the two jurisdictions lack standing to pursue their claims against the president, and granted a petition for a rare writ of mandamus, directing U.S. District Court Judge Peter Messitte to dismiss the lawsuit.

Trump heralded the decision in a tweet, saying, "Word just out that I won a big part of the Deep State and Democrat induced Witch Hunt." Trump tweeted that he doesn't make money but loses "a fortune" by serving as president.

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