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UNITED STATES v. WEISZ

February 13, 1996

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, against PEARL WEISZ, Defendant.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: HAIGHT

 HAIGHT, Senior District Judge:

 This action requires the Court to consider the scope of the federal Fair Housing Act, as amended ("FHA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq., within the context of acrimonious disputes between neighbors in a Rockland County town.

 Defendant Pearl Weisz resides at 26 South Parker Drive in the Town of Ramapo, Rockland County. The residence across the street at 27 South Parker Drive is inhabited by John and Carol Cronin and their three children, Sean, Bruce, and Suzanne (now Suzanne Cronin Hammond) (hereinafter "the Cronins"). Following a complaint by the Cronins to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the United States Attorney for this district brought suit on the Cronins' behalf against Weisz, alleging that Weisz's conduct toward the Cronins violates the FHA and 24 C.F.R. § 100.400(c)(2), promulgated thereunder. Weisz now moves for judgment on the pleadings dismissing the complaint under Rule 12(c), Fed.R.Civ.P. The Cronins move under Rule 24(b)(2) to intervene in the action.

 As developed more fully infra, defendant may prevail on her Rule 12(c) motion only if the Court, having accepted as true the well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint, concludes that beyond a doubt the government can prove no set of facts in support of its claim which would entitle it to relief. It is accordingly necessary at the outset to focus upon the factual allegations in the government's complaint.

 The government alleges in P 11 of the complaint that "since approximately April 1991 through the present, defendant Pearl Weisz has coerced, intimidated, threatened and interfered with the Cronins' enjoyment of their dwelling because of the Cronins' religion" (Roman Catholic) by conducting herself in specific ways set forth in a series of subparagraphs to P 11. The complaint there alleges:

 During the period April 1991 through November 1992, Weisz complained to the Town of Ramapo Police Department about the Cronins' behavior, and asked that the police surveil the Cronins' home on days when the defendant or her neighbors are not permitted to make telephone calls during the Jewish Sabbath. P 11(a), (b).

 Commencing in July 1992, Weisz contacted public officials of the Town of Ramapo to complain about a "basketball pole" located on the Cronins' property. In September 1992, Weisz commenced a series of complaints to the United States Postal Service about the basketball pole. P 11(c), (f).

 On July 13, 1992, Weisz wrote a letter to the Office of the Supervisor of the Town of Ramapo, complaining of the behavior of the Cronins' sons and their friends. P 11(d).

 On August 17, 1992 Weisz signed a Criminal Court Information charging Sean Cronin with trespass, alleging that on August 10, 1992, Sean Cronin entered Weisz's property to retrieve a basketball. P 11(e).

 On or about September 8, 1992 Weisz called Carol Cronin's place of employment at Yeshiva University in New York, spoke to Carol Cronin's supervisor, complained of a "Mrs. C" who lived on Weisz's block in Rockland County, stated that Weisz's two young children were being harassed by "Mrs. C's older children, "and stated further that she [Weisz] "was Orthodox and that she was surprised that Yeshiva University hired non-Jews, especially those of German decent and who are anti-Semitic." P 11(g).

 On September 23, 1992, as a result of Weisz's complaints to the town officials, the Town of Ramapo removed the Cronins basketball pole. The government alleges further that the Town "apparently has not taken any such action against other similarly situated residents." P 11(h).

 In April 1993, Weisz initiated an action in Small Claims Court against Sean Cronin for breach of a mediation agreement which had arisen out of the August 1992 criminal court information that Weisz had signed against Sean Cronin. P 11(i).

 On April 15 and May 23, 1993, Weisz called the police and made further complaints about noise made ...


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