Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

RODRIGUEZ v. WESTHAB

October 15, 1993

ELIAS RODRIGUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
WESTHAB, INC., Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: VINCENT L. BRODERICK

 VINCENT L. BRODERICK, U.S.D.J.

 I

 This case involves the proper treatment of an eviction dispute where a resident seeks to interpose federal defenses. *fn1" Plaintiff Elias Rodriguez ("Rodrigues"), ordered evicted by the Yonkers City Court, filed suit in this court seeking to enjoin the eviction on grounds of violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 USC 3604, Rehabilitation Act, 29 USC 794, and Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 USC 12181.

 Since state trial and appellate courts in which eviction controversies are pending have, pursuant to the Supremacy Clause of the Federal Constitution, the jurisdiction and authority to rule upon federal defenses, it is unnecessary and premature for this court to consider the same issues in the guise of affirmative suits once state court proceedings have been initiated. Dismissal of the federal case without prejudice is thus appropriate.

 II

 On March 12, 1993 Westhab commenced a summary eviction proceeding in Yonkers City Court, Index No SP1321-93. That court refused to consider federal defenses under the Fair Housing Act, 42 USC 3604, Rehabilitation Act, 29 USC 794, and Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 USC 12181. In response, Rodriguez brought this action basing jurisdiction on 28 USC 1331 and the cited federal statutes.

 Because the state courts are obligated to consider federal defenses under the Supremacy Clause, the proper remedy for Rodriguez is to appeal the City Court's ruling and ask the state appellate court to rule on such federal defenses, or to direct the City Court to rule on those defenses. I have every confidence that the appellate court will do one or the other, because of the Constitutional mandate and because the factual issues raised by the federal defenses can be most efficiently considered as part of the eviction proceeding rather than in a duplicative fact finding proceeding involving two different court systems in potential collision. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 1, sentence 2 and proposed 1993 amendments; Judicial Improvements Act of 1990, Pub Law 101-650, 104 Stat 5089, enacting 28 USC 473.

 III

 The parties appear to be in agreement on the factual criteria for evaluation of the federal defenses to eviction asserted here. An "otherwise qualified person" under the Rehabilitation Act must be able to meet all of a program's requirements in spite of any handicap; if he does he may not be discriminationed against because of the handicap. See Southeastern Community College v. Davis, 442 U.S. 397, 60 L. Ed. 2d 980, 99 S. Ct. 2361 (1979).

 Similarly, the Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act bar discrimination because of disability, but they do not bar eviction or other declination to deal with a person because of that person's inability to meet reasonable requirements of a provider (regardless of cause of such inability). 42 USC 12182; 42 USC 3604(f)(1)(A).

 These statutes are intended to bar invidious discrimination. They are not intended to make it impossible for institutions such as Westhab to function effectively, or to prevent them from being in a position to provide quality service to other persons, or to prevent them from avoiding events threatening injury to others. *fn2" If Rodriguez' alleged objectionable behavior did not occur, or if it poses no serious problem to Westhab or its other residents, or if it has abated, or if it can reasonably be accommodated without harm to the functioning of Westhab, his ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.