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Glover v. Jones

November 3, 2006

GLENDA GLOVER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TRACY WYNELL JONES, D/B/A TW JONES DEVELOPMENT, AND MARVIN K. MAYE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles J. Siragusa United States District Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

This is an action pursuant to the Fair Housing Act of 1968 ("FHA") as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq., and the New York Human Rights Law ("NYHRL"), Executive 1 Law § 290 et seq. Now before the Court are the following motions: 1) plaintiff's motion [#13] for leave to amend the complaint; 2) defendant Jones's motion [#18] to amend her answer, or in the alternative, for summary judgment; 3) defendant Mayes's motion [#19] to amend his answer, or in the alternative, for summary judgment; and 4) plaintiff's cross-motion [#26] for additional discovery pursuant to Rule 56(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons that follow, the parties' motions to amend are denied, plaintiff's motion pursuant to Rule 56(f) is granted, and defendants' motions for summary judgment are denied without prejudice to their being renewed, once discovery is completed pursuant to the new scheduling deadlines set forth below.

BACKGROUND

Unless otherwise noted, the following are the undisputed facts of this case which the Court will accept as true for the purpose of the subject Decision and Order. Plaintiff rented a house which was owned by defendant Tracy Wynell Jones ("Jones"), d/b/a T.W. Jones Development. Jones granted the authority to rent and manage the property to defendant Marvin Maye ("Maye").*fn1 (Defendants' Answer ¶ 1) Plaintiff contends that Maye discriminated against her on the basis of her sex, by making unwanted sexual advances, and then raising her rent and evicting her when she refused his advances.

More specifically, plaintiff, who was 44 years of age at the time the events described herein began, alleges that, prior to the execution of the lease agreement, Maye showed her the subject apartment and gave her a rental application. Plaintiff decided not to apply for the apartment, after learning that she would be required to provide a background check, as well as a credit check. Plaintiff also lacked the necessary funds to pay the requested security deposit. However, Maye called plaintiff and told her that "he enjoyed her company," that he "wanted her to have the house," and that he would allow her to pay the security deposit over time. Maye also purchased appliances for the apartment, with the understanding that plaintiff would repay him over time. Plaintiff signed a lease agreement in or about October 2002, which required her to pay monthly rent of $675.00. The lease indicated that the lessor was TW Jones Development. However, plaintiff believed at all times that Maye was the owner and landlord of the property, based upon Maye's representations to her. (Glover Dep. 17-18)

Plaintiff contends that Maye made sexual advances toward her, both before and after she became a tenant. For example, she states that before she signed the lease, Maye told her that he "couldn't wait for her to move in so he could spend more time with her," that he "wanted to make mad passionate love to her." (Glover Dep. 39) Plaintiff claims that she was "disgusted" by these comments, but proceeded to rent the apartment nonetheless. According to plaintiff, "it wasn't to a point where I was scared.

I thought at that time he was just -- I was a single female, he was looking for a play so I kind of blew him off a lot, but I never felt threatened or intimidated by him." (Id. at 38-39) After plaintiff moved into the apartment, Maye came by uninvited on several occasions, but eventually stopped doing this. (Id. at 48, 51) Plaintiff alleges that on these occasions, Maye asked for hugs and put his arm around her. (Id. at 63-64) Plaintiff also contends that on two occasions Maye kissed her on the mouth. (Id. at 57-60) According to plaintiff, the last physical contact that she had with Maye was in 2003. It was before she renewed the lease for another year, and on that occasion Maye kissed her. (Id. at 89-90)

Plaintiff claims that after Maye stopped visiting her, he continued driving by the apartment (Glover Dep. at 48) and calling her on the telephone. For example, she states that in January 2003, Maye called her repeatedly and asked her to take an outof-town trip with him. (Id. at 55) Plaintiff further alleges that in February 2003, Maye invited her to take a trip with him, and that he told her that he "had to have her" and wanted to "make her his woman." (Id. at 79) Plaintiff states that she eventually "stopped taking his phone calls altogether." (Id. at 55)

In or about August 2004, Maye asked plaintiff to bake him a lemon meringue pie, in exchange for $40. Plaintiff agreed, and accompanied Maye to the store in his truck to buy the ingredients. (Glover Dep. 94-97) Plaintiff stated that "so much time had passed" since Maye had made unwanted advances toward her that she did not see any harm in baking him a pie. (Id. at 96) Plaintiff further stated that, at the time, "almost a year had passed since [she and Maye] had had any conversations or any contact at all." (Id. at 98) Plaintiff also reiterated that she did not feel threatened by Maye, because she "knew he wouldn't do anything to physically hurt [her]." (Id.) Additionally, plaintiff stated that she was "trying to be a little more agreeable" because she knew that she "was coming up for a lease renewal," and was "just trying to see where [Maye's] mind was at." (Id. at 98)

Plaintiff alleges that a few days later Maye called her and again asked her to accompany him on an out of town trip, so that he could "make love to [her]." (Id. at 99) Plaintiff refused the invitation. Shortly thereafter, Maye notified plaintiff that he was increasing her rent $20 per month, from $675 to $695, effective October 1, 2004. Plaintiff's lease term did not actually end until October 31, 2004, and Maye apparently mistakenly stated that the rent would increase on October 1st instead of on November 1 . st (Id. at 152) In any event, the proposed rent increase was the first in two years.

At around this same time, plaintiff was late in making both the August and September rent payments.*fn2 Plaintiff contends that she could not afford Maye's announced rent increase, and that she sent him a letter containing a counter-proposal.*fn3

When Maye did not respond to her proposal, plaintiff sent him a notice, on October 31, 2004, the last day of her rental term, indicating that she would vacate the premises in 30 days, which would have been 30 days beyond the term of the lease. (Id. at 176) Plaintiff does not claim to have made any payment for November's rent.

Maye and TW Jones Development commenced eviction proceedings in Rochester City Court. The complaint in the eviction proceeding sought rent for both October and November, in addition to late fees and court costs. Rochester City Court issued an eviction warrant, effective November 26, 2004, and plaintiff vacated the apartment on or about that date. Maye entered the premises and changed the locks on or about November 30, 2004. Plaintiff believes that she was justified in remaining in the premises past the term of her lease, and that the eviction was unjustified, because her security deposit would have "covered" rent for November, as well as outstanding late fees that she owed to Maye. (Glover Dep. 178-79). Plaintiff also blames ...


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