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Straight From the Mike…U.S. Court of Appeals


A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld an eviction moratorium by the CDC, according to the AJC.

The 2-1 opinion by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the landlords who brought the suit failed to do what they needed to do to strike down the moratorium: prove they have suffered an “irreparable injury” because of the freeze.

The moratorium has been in place since March 2020, first under the CARES Act and then after the CDC imposed the freeze last September. The Biden Administration has since repeatedly extended the moratorium, and when announcing in June it was banning evictions until July 31, the administration said that was “intended to be the final extension of the moratorium.”

In the 11th Circuit case, the landlords argued they will never recover unpaid rent because their tenants are insolvent. Judge Britt Grant, writing for the majority, noted that tenants had to file documents that declared they could not pay rent because of loss of income or extraordinary medical expenses, they had tried their best to make partial payments and if they were evicted they could become homeless.

“These attestations certainly show that the tenants could not afford their rent at the time they were signed,” Grant wrote. “But they paint a hazy picture — at best — of any given tenant’s ability to pay later.”

Writing in dissent, 11th Circuit Judge Elizabeth Branch dismissed that reasoning: “The government has not demonstrated that allowing a handful of evictions go forward would cause any loss of life, let alone the massive loss of life it has claimed could happen if the (eviction freeze) is invalidated nationwide.”

It’s interesting to me that both Judge Grant, author of the panel’s plurality opinion, and Judge Branch, dissenting, were both appointed by President Trump, as was the District Court Judge who decided the underlying case, Judge J.P. Boulee.

 Until next time…

Michael Murphy

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