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Jones v. Village of Golf Manor

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

December 9, 2019

JAMES JONES, et al., Plaintiff,
v.
VILLAGE OF GOLF MANOR, et al., Defendants.

          Dlott, J.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Stephanie K. Bowman United States Magistrate Judge

         This civil action is now before the Court on Defendants Matt Brettcher, Sharon Chaney, Stephan Densmore, Brenda DuBose, Ron Hirth, Lou Marx, Greg Schwartzberg, Village of Golf Manor motion for judgment on the pleadings (Doc. 51) and the responsive memoranda. (Docs. 53, 54). Upon careful consideration, the undersigned finds that Defendants motion is well-taken.

         A. Background and Facts

         Plaintiffs, the owners of two apartment buildings in the Village of Golf Manor, rent the residential spaces in these buildings mostly to sex offenders. Doc. 10, PAGEID# 54-55. On April 14, 2018, Plaintiffs allege that an inspection of Plaintiff's buildings was conducted, without notice given to Plaintiffs, by Tucker Stone, the Golf Manor Police and Fire Departments, and the Golf Manor Building Code Inspector. (Doc. 10, PAGEID# 55). Golf Manor officials met with Plaintiffs on April 27, 2018 regarding a new village ordinance that would require Plaintiffs' sex offender tenants to move out. Id. At the end of April, Defendant Joy Pierson called Greater Cincinnati Behavioral (“GCB”), where Plaintiffs get most of their tenants, and told GCB that Plaintiffs' building was going to be condemned. (Doc. 10, PAGIED# 56). GCB prepared for evacuation and held Plaintiffs' rent checks for over a month. Id. Golf Manor's ordinance was given its third reading on May 14, 2018 and went into effect 30 days later. Id. Plaintiffs allege that they were never informed of the first two readings. Id. Plaintiff Mr. Jones was off work because of a surgery during these events. Id.

         Thereafter, Plaintiffs filed the instant action against the Village of Golf Manor, its administrator and council members, and the commissioner and an employee of the Hamilton County Health District alleging various constitutional violations. (Doc. 1, PAGEID # 1). All of the individual defendants were sued in both their official and individual capacities. Id.

         Plaintiffs sought leave to file an amended complaint through a series of filings (Docs. 10, 12). Answers were filed as to the original complaint (Doc. 1) by the Golf Manor Defendants (Doc. 13, filed June 28, 2018) and by the Health District Defendants (Doc. 14, filed July 2, 2018). On October 25, 2018, this Court entered a notation order granting Plaintiffs' Motion to File an Amended Complaint (Doc. 10) which named as additional defendants: Joy Pierson and Todd Kinskey. On October 31, 2018, the Golf Manor Defendants answered the Amended Complaint. (Doc. 17). The Golf Manor Defendants include the Village, Mayor Greg Schwartzberg, Village Administrator Ron Hirth, and Village Councilmembers Matt Boettcher, Sharon Chaney, Stefan Densmore, Brenda Dubose and Lou Marx.

         Thereafter, Timothy Ingram, Health Commissioner of Hamilton County Public Health, Tucker Stone, Environmental Health Supervisor of Hamilton County Public Health, and Joy Pierson, Community Development Administrator with Hamilton County Planning Development in their official and individual capacities (collectively referred to as “County Defendants”), moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint (Doc. 21, PAGEID #94), and County Defendant Kinskey followed with a separate motion to dismiss (Doc. 22, PAGEID #109). On April 11, 2019, the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation recommended that the County Defendants' motions to dismiss (Docs. 21, 22) should be granted and that Plaintiffs' claims against Defendants Timothy Ingram, Todd Kinskey, Joy Pierson, Tucker Stone should be dismissed.

         Defendants Village of Golf Manor, Greg Schwartzberg, Ron Hirth, Matt Boettcher, Sharon Chaney, Stefan Densmore, Brenda Dubose and Lou Marx, (herein “Golf Manor Defendants”), now seek to have the claims asserted against them dismissed. For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned finds that the Golf Manor Defendants motion for judgment on the pleadings (Doc. 51) is well-taken and should be granted.

         II. Analysis

         A. Standard of Review

         Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “after the pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay trial-a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). Judgment may be granted under Rule 12(c) where the moving parties clearly establish that no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Winget, 510 F.3d 577, 581 (6th Cir. 2007). A motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) is subject to the same standard of review as a motion under Rule 12(b)(6). Penny/Ohlmann/Nieman, Inc. v. Miami Valley Pension Corp., 399 F.3d 692, 697 (6th Cir.2005). In addition, it is well settled that, in presenting a complaint, “[t]hreadbare recital of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007). “Although the court must accept well-pleaded factual allegations of the complaint as true for purposes of a motion to dismiss, the court is not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Id., see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Specifically, “formulaic recitations of the elements of a cause of action ‘will not do.'” Huffer v. Bogen, Case No. 1:10-cv-312-HJW, *8 (S.D. Ohio 2011), citing Twombly at 555 and Iqbal at 1949. “What Twombly and Iqbal do require is that plaintiffs provide factual allegations from which a court may plausibly infer a cause of action.” Gross v. Nationwide Credit, Inc., Case No. 1:10-CV-00738, *3 (S.D. Ohio 2011).

         B. Defendants motion is well-taken

         The Golf Manor Defendants argue that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law because Plaintiff's do not have standing. Defendants further contend that they are entitled to legislative and /or ...


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