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Monitoring Property & the Built Environment

Martinez v. City of Chicago

Overview

Martinez v. City of Chicago (U.S. District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division, April 14, 2021): A federal judge rejected plaintiffs’ motion to prevent the relocation of a large recycling facility to the southeast side of Chicago, “an area that is a majority-minority, with the most recent census data showing that 55.80% of residents are African-American and 37.7% are Hispanic.” Plaintiffs, a pastor, nurse, and residents of the southeast side of Chicago, argued that the relocation is discriminatory and in violation of Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and federal and state constitutional Equal Protection Clauses, and that the relocation violates state nuisance law. Plaintiffs raised concern “that an increase of air pollution and particulate matter will exacerbate the existing health conditions of the most vulnerable in the community—senior citizens and children,” and that poor air quality has negatively impacted property values in the neighborhood. The court shared their concerns about the “disproportionate burden borne by Black and Latinx communities from pollution, particularly during the pandemic,” but denied the motion because they had not met their burden of proving the discriminatory intent required for success on equal protection or Title VI claims. Read the full decision here.

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