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Muhammad v. Wilhite

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

August 15, 2019

JERRY MUHAMMAD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JACOB WILHITE, DEFENDANT.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          HONORABLE SARA LIOI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pro se plaintiff Jerry Muhammad (“Muhammad”) filed this action against Jacob Wilhite (“Wilhite”), managing member of N.W. Akron Investments, LLC. (Doc. No. 1 (“Compl.”) at 2[1]; Doc. No. 1-2.) The allegations in the complaint relate to Wilhite's letter dated March 1, 2019, informing Muhammad that his lease will not be renewed and that the premises must be vacated by March 31, 2019. (Doc. No. 1-2).

         Muhammad moved to proceed with this action in forma pauperis, and that motion is granted. (Doc. No. 2.)

         For the reasons that follow, this action is dismissed.

         I. Background

         The allegations in the complaint are very sparse. It appears that Muhammad is leasing certain property from a company for which Wilhite is the “managing member.” Muhammad states that he has lived at the property peacefully for 16 years until Wilhite “took over.” (Compl. at 5.) The complaint states that Muhammad and Wilhite had a dispute as to where Muhammad was parking his vehicle, and when Muhammad called to complain that his toilet was blocked, he received a notice from Wilhite that his lease would not be renewed. (Id.; Doc. No. 1-1.) Muhammed claims that the nonrenewal of his lease violates the Fair Housing Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and his civil rights. (Compl. at 4.) He seeks $100, 000.00 in damages. (Id. at 6.)

         II. Discussion

         A. Standard of Review

         Although pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365, 102 S.Ct. 700, 70 L.Ed.2d 551 (1982) (per curiam); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972), the 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, lacks an arguable basis in law or fact, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989); Sistrunk v. City of Strongsville, 99 F.3d 194, 197 (6th Cir. 1996). A claim lacks an arguable basis in law or fact when it is premised upon an indisputably meritless legal theory or when the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327.

         The dismissal standard for Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) articulated in Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) governs dismissal for failure to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B). Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). In order to state a plausible claim, a pleading must contain a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677-78. Plaintiff is not required to include detailed factual allegations, but must provide more than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In reviewing a complaint, the Court must construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Bibbo v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 151 F.3d 559, 561 (6th Cir. 1998) (citing Sistrunk, 99 F.3d at 197).

         B. Analysis

         Muhammad alleges Wilhite terminated his lease in violation of “Fair Housing, ” “Amer. w. Disabilities, ” and “civil rights.” (Compl. at 4.) The Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), 42 U.S.C. § 3604, makes it unlawful to:

(a) To refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.
(b) To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race, color, ...

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