United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER [RESOLVING ECF NO.
Y. PEARSON, United States District Judge
before the Court is Defendants Trumbull Metropolitan Housing
Authority (“TMHA”), Russell Osman, and Valerie
Simeon's partial Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 41)
pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Defendants
seek to dismiss: (1) Counts Six and Seven of Plaintiffs'
Intervening Complaint, which allege that their due process
rights were violated; (2) Count Ten, which alleges that
Defendants discriminated against Plaintiffs on the basis of
race with respect to the rental of a dwelling; and (3) Count
Eleven, which alleges that Defendants retaliated against
Plaintiffs in denying them housing because Plaintiffs filed a
Department of Housing and Urban Development
(“HUD”) discrimination claim against Defendants.
Id. Plaintiffs oppose the motion. ECF No.
45. Defendants replied. ECF No. 46. For the
reasons below, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is granted.
United States brought a single cause of action on behalf of
Plaintiffs alleging that Defendants violated 42 U.S.C.
§ 3604 (“the Fair Housing Act” or
“FHA”) by engaging in unlawful discrimination on
the basis of disability in the rental of housing. ECF No.
1. The Court granted the Motion to Intervene (ECF
No. 3) filed by Plaintiffs JG, SP, and their two minor
children AP and MH. ECF No. 14. As a result,
Plaintiffs filed an Intervening Complaint, alleging fifteen
claims against Defendants. ECF No. 16.
JG, SP, and their two minor children are residents of
Trumbull County, Ohio who sought subsidized housing
via services offered by Defendants. ECF No. 16
at PageID#: 250-51. Plaintiffs have various illnesses
that make them eligible for housing accommodations-JG has
been diagnosed with end-stage renal disease and Type-1
Diabetes, and one of their children has a learning
disability. Id. at PageID#: 254.
TMHA is a public housing authority of the State of Ohio
authorized to administer low-income housing programs and to
administer federal Section 8 housing programs in Trumbull
County. Id. at PageID#: 251. Defendant Osman works
for TMHA as its Assistant Director of TMHA, and Defendant
Simeon is employed as its Voucher Program Coordinator.
Intervening Complaint alleges that, in February 2014,
Plaintiffs applied for, and were issued, a voucher for a
two-bedroom house. ECF No. 16 at PageID#: 252;254.
Plaintiffs later requested and were granted a voucher that
would permit them to rent a house with up to four bedrooms.
Id. at PageID#: 255. Using this voucher, Plaintiffs
selected a three-bedroom house. Id. at PageID#: 256.
Defendants conducted an inspection of the three-bedroom house
to ensure that it complied with HUD's health and safety
requirements. Id. Pursuant to Defendant TMHA's
written policy, Chapter 10(B), “once the unit has had
an initial inspection the family must take this unit unless
the landlord fails to correct the items noted on the
inspection list.” Id.
about September 29, 2014, Plaintiffs sent Defendants a
notification and request letter concerning the suitability of
the three-bedroom house for Plaintiff JG's
disability-related needs. Id. at PageID#: 258. In
the letter, Plaintiffs notified Defendants that the
three-bedroom house was not suitable for Plaintiff JG,
because he required a separate room for his at-home dialysis
treatment. Id. Additionally, Plaintiffs requested
Defendants issue them new paperwork permitting the rental of
a four-bedroom home that would be more suitable for Plaintiff
JG's disability-related needs. Id. Defendants
denied Plaintiffs' request on grounds that Plaintiffs had
already selected the three-bedroom house, the house had been
inspected, and Defendants' policy required Plaintiffs to
lease the house because the inspection had been completed and
approved. Id. at PageID#: 259. Plaintiffs refused to
sign the lease for the three-bedroom house. Id. at
PageID#: 260. As a result, on October 3, 2014,
Defendants terminated Plaintiffs' voucher because
Plaintiffs “failed to sign [the] document and move into
[a] unit that had passed the inspection.” Id. at
December 21, 2014, Plaintiffs filed a housing discrimination
complaint with HUD, claiming that Defendants denied
Plaintiffs a reasonable accommodation of a four-bedroom house
voucher. Id. at PageID#: 263-64.
February 19, 2015, Plaintiffs reapplied to participate in the
housing voucher program. ECF No. 16 at PageID #:
263. Defendants approved Plaintiffs' application,
placed them on a waiting list; and, soon after, issued
Plaintiffs a voucher for a two-bedroom house. Id. at
PageID#: 264. Plaintiffs requested a voucher increase
for a three-bedroom house. Id. at PageID#: 272. In
determining whether a three-bedroom house was necessary,
Defendant Simeon contacted Plaintiff JG's dialysis clinic
to inquire whether a separate bedroom was necessary. Id.
at PageID#: 264-65. Plaintiffs allege that, in order to
gain access to information relative to the 2015 application,
Defendant Simeon sent several authorization forms-a
Verification of Need Form (medical authorization) and a
signature page from a HUD-9886 Form (financial authorization)
previously signed by Plaintiff JG-to the dialysis clinic.
Id. Defendants justify their actions by contending
that Plaintiff JG had already executed a 2014 Verification of
Need Form authorizing his dialysis clinic to provide his
medical information to Defendants. ECF No. 41 at PageID#:
489. Furthermore, Defendants recount that they had
already engaged in numerous rounds of communication with
Plaintiff JG's dialysis clinic regarding Plaintiff
JG's disability and housing accommodation needs prior to
March 2015. Id.
April 20, 2015, Plaintiff JG's nephrologist sent
Defendants a letter stating that Plaintiff JG is able to
perform his home dialysis treatments safely if he “has
a clean room in his house for that purpose.” ECF
No. 41 at PageID#: 489. On June 15, 2015, as a result of
these communications, Defendants approved and issued
Plaintiffs a “new” voucher for a three-bedroom
house. ECF No. 16 at PageID#: 272. On September 1,
2015, Plaintiffs elected to use their voucher to rent a
three-bedroom house of their choosing, which Defendants
inspected and approved. Id. at PageID#: