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Black homeowners sue Morgan Stanley for racial discrimination

Plaintiffs say bank violated their civil rights, seek class action status

Several black homeowners have accused Morgan Stanley of violating their federal civil rights, and they’re taking the bank to court.

Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against the bank on behalf of five plaintiffs, all black homeowners from Detroit, saying Morgan Stanley offered large incentives to a subprime lender to originate mortgages that it knew were likely to go unrepaid. All the plaintiffs got loans from New Century Mortgage Corp., a subprime lender, and all those loans have collapsed. The suit claims that Morgan Stanley didn’t consider borrowers’ risk when approving loans because it received its profit at the outset, before passing the loan on to subprime lenders.

The suit claims Morgan Stanley’s practice of offering incentives to originate loans it knew were likely to default was a violation of the plaintiffs’ civil rights. The suit seeks class action status.

"With this lawsuit, real victims of the subprime lending scandal are stepping forward to hold investment banks like Morgan Stanley accountable for the devastation the banks wrought in their lives and in our economy," ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said in a statement.

Read more InsideCounsel stories about subprime mortgages and the financial crisis:

Citi will pay $590 million in settlement related to financial crisis

DOJ drops Goldman criminal investigation

Former Fannie, Freddie execs sued by SEC



Cathleen Flahardy

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