Because it is important to influence legal precedent that is of national significance to the housing industry or that has the potential for meaningful impact on housing industry issues, the Legal Action Fund helps defray litigation costs for builders, developers and state/local associations involved in these types of cases. It is administered with three goals:
- The fund must support litigation that will benefit the housing and building industry nationwide. The fund should not be viewed as a member service in the way in which NAHB’s free legal research service is offered to members. The fund should be more appropriately viewed as an industry service.
- The two types of cases that take priority over all others are nationally significant cases or those that address issues commonly faced by builders or developers. Where possible, cases should be brought to the committee early in the litigation process.
- The fund should be used primarily in a proactive role, encouraging and supporting the filing of high-quality litigation that addresses major industry issues.
The Legal Action Committee considers applications during each of the NAHB Board of Directors meetings and makes recommendations for grants for NAHB Executive Board approval.
Applications for the next round of funding are open now. Applications are due by Sept. 13, 2021, for consideration at the next Board of Directors meeting.
Both individual members and state and local HBAs may apply to the Legal Action Fund. Applicants must submit the application form and a cover letter that includes a concise statement explaining the following points:
- A summary of the facts of the case;
- The legal issue(s) and the relief being sought in the case;
- The status of the case (what court it is in; if appellate, what the trial court’s decision was; a rough timetable for current or projected court plans);
- How the case concerns an issue of national significance or an important problem common to the shelter industry;
- Past, current and rough-estimated future costs of the litigation;
- The financial (and participatory, if any) commitment of the local and state HBAs or a statement explaining the reason(s) why funding was denied;
- Whether there has been prior NAHB assistance for this case; and
- The amount of money being requested from NAHB.
All of these points must be addressed in full to constitute a complete application. Only complete applications will be placed on the agenda of the Legal Action Committee.
In addition, the following must be included, as applicable:
- Copies of the substantive pleadings or other legal filings of both sides, and
- Copies of any court decisions to date.
You may also include any other pertinent papers that would be helpful to the staff and committee in better assessing the case or understanding its background, including newspaper articles, letters from counsel, etc. The best applications are those that explain the facts, the legal issues and the importance of the case to the national housing industry in as clear and concise terms as possible.
Please note that under Guideline 18, if a case is settled or discontinued prior to getting a court’s judgment, the funds must be returned to NAHB because their purpose is to try to establish case precedent helpful to the industry as a whole. The committee’s recommendations as to financial assistance in any amount must be approved by the NAHB Executive Board.
The committee prefers to have someone present at the meeting to argue for the case receiving financial assistance and to answer any questions that the members may have. However, it is not usually necessary to send counsel to this meeting, which should save legal fees and expenses.
Staff at NAHB is available to make this simple application process as easy as possible. If you have any questions about the funding process, the particular litigation in question or need information about approved cases and specific grants, please feel free to contact us.