Atlanta Housing Authority – Skillful Explanation of Regulations Results in Trial Win



A property owner participating in the Atlanta Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher Program alleged breach of contract claims against the Authority and demanded rental payments for property that its tenant appeared to have abandoned. Federal regulations arguably relieved the Authority of liability, but the relevant regulations are difficult to interpret and may appear internally inconsistent. Our challenge at trial was to make these dense regulations easily understandable and to present them in a way that supported the story we were telling—that not only did the Atlanta Housing Authority not breach the underlying contract, but any ruling to the contrary could end up hurting other people who rely on the subsidized housing program.




We devised a trial strategy of emphasizing the practical logic of our position: We explained how a finding of liability could result in diverting a limited pool of funding resources away from deserving people in need of housing subsidies to landlords with absentee tenants. Within this context, we presented a carefully-crafted explanation of the governing regulations and why our interpretation of them is the only one consistent with the larger goal of using subsidized housing funds fairly and efficiently.




We secured a complete defense judgment at trial. The client understood the challenge we faced in presenting the complex underlying issues in a clear and persuasive manner, and was pleased with the result.