United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER [RESOLVING ECF NOS.
Y. Pearson, United States District Judge.
before the Court is Defendants Trumbull Metropolitan Housing
Authority (“TMHA”), Russell Osman, and Valerie
Simeon's partial Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 56.
Defendants move for summary judgment as to: (1) Count Three,
which alleges that, Defendant TMHA negligently hires and
trains its employees; (2) Counts Four and Five, which allege
that, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Defendants deprived
Plaintiffs of their right to federally subsidized housing by
failing to notify them of an opportunity to request an
informal hearing; (3) Count Nine, which alleges that,
pursuant to the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604,
Defendants discriminated against Plaintiffs by failing to
reasonably accommodate their disabilities; and, (4) Counts
Fourteen and Fifteen, intentional infliction of emotional
distress claims, of the Intervening Complaint. Id.
Plaintiffs have responded in opposition. ECF No. 61.
Defendants replied. ECF No. 63.
reasons set forth below, Defendants' partial Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 56) 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 (ECF No. 16), alleging fifteen claims against
Defendants. ECF No. 56 at PageID#: 561. Plaintiffs JG,
SP, and their two minor children are residents of Trumbull
County, Ohio who sought subsidized housing via
services offered by Defendants. Id. at PageID#: 564.
In applying for Defendants' housing voucher program,
Plaintiffs indicated that they 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#: 564-65; ECF No. 56-2 at PageID#:
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. ECF No. 56 at PageID#: 564. Defendant Osman works for
TMHA as its Assistant Director of TMHA, and Defendant Simeon
is employed as its Voucher Program Coordinator. Id.
February 2014, Plaintiffs applied for, and were issued, a
voucher for a two-bedroom house. Id. at PageID#:
565. Plaintiffs later requested and were granted a voucher
that would permit them to rent a house with up to four
bedrooms. Id. at PageID#: 565-66. Using this
voucher, Plaintiffs selected a three-bedroom house.
Id. at PageID#: 566. Defendants conducted an
inspection of the three-bedroom house to ensure that it
complied with HUD's health and safety requirements.
Id. at PageID#: 566-67. Pursuant to Defendant
TMHA's written policy, Chapter 10(B), “[o]nce 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. at PageID#: 569.
September 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#: 569; ECF No. 56-11 at
PageID#: 876. 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. ECF No. 56-11 at PageID#: 876. During
that same time, Plaintiffs requested Defendants issue them
new paperwork permitting the rental of a four-bedroom home
that would be more suitable for Plaintiff JG and AP's
disability-related needs. ECF No. 56 at PageID#: 568-69.
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. Plaintiffs refused to
sign the lease for the three-bedroom house. Id. at
PageID#: 569. As a result, on October 3, 2014, Defendants
terminated Plaintiffs' housing voucher. Id.; ECF
No. 61 at PageID#: 1776.
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. ECF No. 61 at PageID#: 1777.
February 19, 2015, Plaintiffs reapplied to participate in the
housing voucher program. ECF No. 56 at PageID#: 569.
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#:
569-70. Plaintiffs requested a voucher increase for a
three-bedroom house. Id. at PageID#: 570. 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. 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. ECF No. 61 at PageID#: 1778.
September 1, 2015, Plaintiffs elected to use their voucher to
rent a three-bedroom house of their choosing, which
Defendants inspected and approved. ECF No. 56 at PageID:#
motion for summary judgment on Counts Three, Four, Five,
Nine, Fourteen, and Fifteen of Plaintiffs' Intervening
Complaint (ECF No. 56) is ripe for ruling.
See ECF No. 61 (Plaintiffs' opposition); ECF No.
63 (Defendants' reply).
Standard of Review
judgment is appropriately granted when the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits show “that there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also
Johnson v. Karnes, 398 F.3d 868, 873 (6th Cir. 2005).
The moving party is not required to file affidavits or other
similar materials negating a claim on which its opponent
bears the burden of proof, so long as the movant relies upon
the absence of the essential element in the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322
(1986). The moving party must “show that the non-moving
party has failed to establish an essential element of his
case upon which he would bear the ultimate burden of proof at
trial.” Guarino v. Brookfield Twp. Trustees.,
980 F.2d 399, 403 (6th Cir. 1992).
the movant makes a properly supported motion, the burden
shifts to the non-moving party to demonstrate the existence
of genuine dispute. An opposing party may not simply rely on
its pleadings. Rather, it must “produce evidence that
results in a conflict of material fact to be resolved by a
jury.” Cox v. Ky. Dep't. of Transp., 53
F.3d 146, 150 (6th Cir. 1995). The non-moving party must, to
defeat the motion, “show that there is doubt as to the
material facts and that the record, taken as a whole, does
not lead to a judgment for the movant.”
Guarino, 980 F.2d at 403. In reviewing a motion for
summary judgment, the court must view the evidence in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party when deciding
whether a genuine issue of material fact exists.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986); Adickes v. S.H. Kress &
Co., 398 U.S. 144 (1970).
United States Supreme Court, in deciding Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc.,477 U.S. 242 (1986), stated that in
order for a motion for summary judgment to be granted, there
must be no genuine issue of material fact. Id. at
248. The existence of some mere factual dispute between the
parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported
motion for summary judgment. Scott v. Harris, 550
U.S. 372, 380 (2007). A fact is “material” only
if its resolution will affect the outcome of the lawsuit. In
determining whether a factual issue is “genuine,
” the court must decide whether the evidence is such
that reasonable jurors could find that the non-moving party
is entitled to a verdict. Id. Summary judgment
“will not lie . . . if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Id. To withstand summary judgment, the
non-movant must show sufficient evidence to create a genuine