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Civil Rights and Discrimination

Jury

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Compensatory Damages In Federal Fair Housing Cases, Robert G. Schwemm Jul 1981

Compensatory Damages In Federal Fair Housing Cases, Robert G. Schwemm

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

The federal fair housing laws became effective in 1968. Since then, courts have often awarded damages to victims of housing discrimination, but their decisions have provided little guidance for assessing the amount of such awards. There is a great range of awards, with some courts awarding only nominal damages of $1 and others setting awards of over $20,000. Compounding the problem is the difficulty of measuring the principal element of damages claimed by most plaintiffs in fair housing cases, noneconomic emotional harm or other forms of intangible injury.

Rarely is the basis for the amount of the court's award satisfactorily …