Meyer v. Holley, 537 U.S. 280, 123 S. Ct. 824 (2003)

Ellen and David Holley, an interracial couple, sued Triad, Inc., a Triad employee and David Meyer (Triad’s owner) for violation of the federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) after the Triad employee allegedly prevented the Holleys from buying a house in Twenty-Nine Palms, California for racially discriminatory reasons. At issue in the case was whether Meyer could be held personally liable under the FHA for an employee’s violation of the Act even though Meyer did not direct or authorize and was not otherwise involved in the unlawful discriminatory acts. The United States Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, rejecting the lower court’s holding that the FHA made corporate owners and officers liable for an employee’s unlawful acts simply because they controlled (or had the right to control) that employee’s actions.