United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER [RESOLVING ECF NOS. 2
Y. Pearson, Judge
se Plaintiff Alice Traylor filed this action against
Defendants the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority
(“AMHA”), AMHA Director Anthony O'Leary, and
AMHA Employee Linda Schnitzer. ECF No. 1. In the
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have been slow
to respond to her housing complaints. Id. Plaintiff
states she is bringing a discrimination claim. Id. at
PageID#: 5. Plaintiff seeks relief in the form of
monetary damages and a Court Order requiring that Defendants
provide her with a Section 8-certified, two-bedroom bungalow.
Id. at PageID#: 6.
also filed a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
(ECF No. 2) and a Motion for Appointment of Counsel
(ECF No. 3).
contends that in 2012, she and her grandson lived in an AMHA
apartment. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff alleges
that, she complained to AMHA authorities about the high noise
levels of tenants who lived above her, and how they rubbed
her car with Jell-O pudding and poured water on her patio
furniture. Id.In response to Plaintiff's
complaints, AMHA authorities recommended that Plaintiff and
her grandson move to a townhouse. Id.Initially,
Plaintiff was reluctant to move because she could not afford
to hire movers. Id.She claims that once AMHA agreed
to move her, she then agreed to the move and relocated to the
townhouse on December 7, 2012. Id.Plaintiff alleges
that some of her furniture and appliances were damaged by the
movers and AMHA would not replace the damaged items.
Id.Plaintiff also claims that Defendants failed to
replace the dirty carpet in the townhouse. Id.
Lastly, Plaintiff alleges laminate flooring contains
carcinogens, so it is possible the Defendants suggested
replacing the carpet with laminate flooring.
Id.Plaintiff indicates she is asserting a claim of
discrimination based on Defendants' conduct. Id.
to the instant action, Plaintiff filed a civil rights action
against the same Defendants based on these same facts.
See Traylor v. AMHA, No. 5:17CV602 (N.D. Ohio June 30,
2017). In that action, Plaintiff asserted Defendants
discriminated against her but did not allege facts to support
that statement. See id.Therefore, the Court
dismissed that action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) for
failure to state a claim, indicating Plaintiff had not
alleged a basis for discrimination, nor had she alleged how
she was treated differently from others who were not in the
same protected class. Id.Plaintiff attempted to
appeal that decision, but her appeal was dismissed as
untimely by the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
on January 5, 2018. Id.Plaintiff has now filed an
identical action before the Court asserting the same claim
against the same Defendants.
Standard for Dismissal
pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Boag
v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam);
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972),
the district court is required to dismiss an in forma
pauperis action under 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)
if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted, or if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact.
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989); Lawler
v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196 (6th Cir. 1990); Sistrunk
v. City of Strongsville, 99 F.3d 194, 197 (6th Cir.
1996). An action has no arguable basis in law when a
defendant is immune from suit or when a plaintiff claims a
violation of a legal interest which clearly does not exist.
Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. An action has no arguable
factual basis when the allegations are delusional or rise to
the level of the irrational or “wholly
incredible.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
32 (1992); Lawler, 898 F.2d at 1199.
determining whether the plaintiff has stated a claim upon
which relief can be granted, the court must construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,
accept all factual allegations as true, and determine whether
the complaint contains “enough fact to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The
plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds for relief
“requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Id.
a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations,
its “factual allegations must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption
that all the allegations in the complaint are true.”
Id. The court is “not bound to accept as true
a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). The
Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
67778 (2009), further explains the “plausibility”
requirement, stating that “a claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Furthermore, “the
plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability
requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully.”
Id. This determination is a “context-specific
task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its
judicial experience and common sense.” Id.
Law and Analysis
initial matter, the Complaint suffers from the same fatal
defects as the pleading Plaintiff filed in No.
5:17CV602. Plaintiff asserts, without much explanation,
that she was the victim of discrimination. The Court is aware
that, at this stage, Plaintiff is not required to plead her
discrimination claim with heightened specificity. See
Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 51314, 122
S.Ct. 992, 99899, 152 L.Ed.2d 1 (2002). Nevertheless, the
Supreme Court clarified that a plaintiff must still provide
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570; Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Complaint never rises above the speculative level. The Court
is left to guess at the alleged basis for discrimination
(race, age, gender, national origin) and why she thinks she
was treated differently than others who are not in this
classification. This is not sufficient to cross the threshold
of basic pleading requirements in federal court. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 (a complaint must provide “a short
and plain statement of the claim” made by
“simple, concise, and direct allegations”);
see also Morgan v. Church's Fried Chicken, 829
F.2d 10, 12 (6th Cir.1987) (legal conclusions alone are not
sufficient to present a valid claim, and the court is not
required to accept unwarranted factual inferences). Without
more than a conclusory statement suggesting the possibility
of discrimination, Plaintiff's Complaint fails to state a
federal claim for relief.