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Mossman v. CDC

Did we achieve our litigation objective? Yes. After the Supreme Court ruling in Alabama Realtors v. Department of Heath and Human Services, housing providers able to enforce landlord-tenant lease agreements.

Court Outcome: The district court dismissed this class-action lawsuit as moot once the Supreme Court blocked the eviction moratorium in Alabama Realtors.

Larger Impact: Mom-and-pop landlords endured huge losses for months because the CDC’s eviction moratorium left them with few means to recover unpaid rent and maintenance costs.

Summary: The laws of all fifty states provide the remedy of eviction through state processes to retake possession of a home you have rented out. But a national eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2020 to “prevent” the spread of COVID-19 denie Plaintiffs the only lawful means available to them to evict a delinquent tenant—access to the courts.

NCLA filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa on behalf of Asa Mossman of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and many other blameless housing providers left powerless against the CDC’s lawless order.

NCLA argued that agencies have no inherent power to make law, and nothing in the relevant statutes or regulations gives CDC the power to issue an eviction moratorium order. Two federal courts in less than one week agreed that CDC’s order was invalid.

CDC never met its obligation of showing that state actions were inadequate or that its eviction moratorium was necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 as required by law. Nevertheless, the CDC order declared that anyone who violated the order faced up to $500,000 in fines or jail time, and housing providers like Plaintiffs in this case could pursue evictions. But if they defaulted and lost their property, the banks could still evict! These Plaintiffs, most of whom were mom-and-pop housing providers, had been unexpectedly targeted by unelected agency bureaucrats, with no authority over housing or state courts, using a rule that only gave CDC authority to regulate sick livestock. The complaint also argued that the order violated the U.S. Constitution because CDC had not identified any act of Congress that confered upon it the power to halt evictions or preempt state landlord-tenant laws. The CDC’s order also impermissibly commandeered state courts and state officers to apply, enforce, and implement an unconstitutional federal law.

By denying access to the state courts, the CDC order exceeded Constitutional limits on the federal government and violated the rights of tens of thousands of Americans based on the say-so of an unelected bureaucrat. NCLA was hopeful, especially given the earlier outcomes in Ohio and Tennessee, that the Northern District of Iowa would follow suit and reject the CDC’s effort to seize control of state law on such an insupportable basis.

John J. Vecchione
Senior Litigation Counsel
NCLA FILINGS

Plaintiffs’ Brief in Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss

September 27, 2021 | Read More

Plaintiffs’ Unopposed Motion for Leave to File a Brief Exceeding 20 Pages in Support of Summary Judgment

August 30, 2021 | Read More

Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment

August 30, 2021 | Read More

Plaintiffs’ Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment

August 30, 2021 | Read More

First Amended Complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa

August 18, 2021 | Read More

PRESS RELEASES

CDC Seeks to Prevent Ruling on Merits of the Eviction Moratorium, NCLA Opposes Motion to Dismiss

September 28, 2021 | Read More

NCLA Files for Summary Judgment in Class-Action Lawsuit Against CDC’s Eviction Moratorium

August 31, 2021 | Read More

NCLA Files Class-Action Lawsuit to Put an End to CDC’s Lawless Nationwide Eviction Moratorium

March 18, 2021 | Read More

IN THE MEDIA

Landlords claim CDC eviction moratorium is hurting them

CBS 6

February 7, 2023

Landlords Struggle Under Extended CDC Eviction Ban, Class-Action Lawsuit Argues

The Center Square

February 7, 2023

NCLAs Class-Action Lawsuit Against the CDC, John Vecchione

The Bill Meyer Show

February 7, 2023

Morning Show

WBAL-AM

February 7, 2023

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