Fair housing complaint over “bachelor pad” ad gets retrial

by Walter Olson on August 10, 2013

An Ohio jury found in 2011 that an apartment owner “had not violated federal law in running the Craigslist ad that read: ‘Our one-bedroom apartments are a great bachelor pad for any single man looking to hook up.'” Now an appeals court has ruled that the judge gave improper jury instructions and that the nonprofit Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, which claimed the ad violated the rights of families and women, can get another trial. [Associated Press]

{ 7 comments }

1 Evan 08.10.13 at 10:53 pm

The link’s broken.

2 Walter Olson 08.10.13 at 11:29 pm

Fixed now, thanks.

3 Hugo S. Cunningham 08.11.13 at 10:11 am

This ABA Journal link gives the jury instruction at issue and why the Federal Appeals Court rejected it:

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/new_fair_housing_trial_ordered_over_craigslist_ad_touting_great_bachelor_pa/

4 gitarcarver 08.11.13 at 11:00 am

I have never understood why jury instructions are not codified. In other words, if person is charged with “crime ‘A’,” a certain instruction is given no matter what.

It almost seems that writing, challenging, and appealing jury instructions is another way of adding billable hours.

(Hmmmmmm……..I think I just answered my question of why instructions are not codified.)

5 Richard Nieporent 08.11.13 at 11:24 am

Thanks Hugo for the reference. This is beyond ridiculous. How much more money is going to be wasted on another trial to prevent a landlord from putting out an ad that intimates that a property is not suitable for families. Is it better that 20 families should waste their time looking at a 500 sq. foot apartment than a clever landlord should prevent a family from looking at a large apartment be claiming that it is not suitable for families? Why don’t we just have government inspectors pre-certify each ad before the property is allowed to be advertised to prevent such nefarious discrimination? I am sure that the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center could take on that job.

6 Fubar 08.12.13 at 12:43 am

Why don’t we just have government inspectors pre-certify each ad before the property is allowed to be advertised to prevent such nefarious discrimination?

Rhetorical snark on perpetually offended discrimination hustlers noted and applauded.

But for readers who aren’t lawyers, the answer is that prior restraint of speech is unconstitutional, with some narrow exceptions.

7 kimsch 08.12.13 at 1:15 pm

By definition one bedroom apartments aren’t suitable for families. I tried to rent one once with two small children. I would have put the kids in the bedroom and slept in the living room. This would have been for a year or so to save for a downpayment on a house. Rental occupancy law said I couldn’t do that. If it had been me and my husband, no kids, no problem, but add in kids and no one bedrooms.

That ad only makes sense.

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