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O'Neill v. Hernandez

June 24, 2008

GERARD O'NEILL PLAINTIFF,
v.
TITO HERNANDEZ, RICARDO MORALES, AND NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kimba M. Wood, U.S.D.J.

OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Gerard O'Neill ("Plaintiff") brings this pro se action against Defendants New York City Housing Authority ("NYCHA"); Tino Hernandez ("Hernandez"), NYCHA's Chairman;*fn1 and Ricardo Morales ("Morales"), NYCHA's General Counsel (collectively, "Defendants"). Plaintiff resides in an apartment in a building owned and managed by NYCHA. (See Niederhoffer Decl. Ex. I ("Compl.") ¶¶ 1-2; D.E. 8.)

Based primarily on State court non-payment proceedings brought by NYCHA against Plaintiff in 2005 and 2006 (see Compl. ¶ 4), Plaintiff alleges violations of (1) the Brooke Amendment, 42 U.S.C. § 1437a(a)(1)(A) ("Brooke Amendment"); (2) the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619 ("FHAA"); (3) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to 2000e-17 ("Title VII"); (4) the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq. ("ADA"); and (5) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794 ("Section 504") (see id. "Wherefore" Clause ¶¶ 1, 3).

I. Procedural History

On or about January 28, 2008, Plaintiff commenced this action in New York State Supreme Court, New York County. (See Compl.) On February 20, 2008, Defendants removed this matter to federal court. (See Notice of Removal; D.E. 1.) The Court accepted the removed case as related to an earlier action before the Court,*fn2 and scheduled a Rule 16 conference for March 28, 2008.

On March 10, 2008, Defendants requested an extension of time to file either a Rule 12(b) motion to dismiss or an answer. The Court granted Defendants' request and directed Defendants to file a motion to dismiss or an answer no later than April 11, 2008. (See Mar. 7, 2008 Order; D.E. 4.) On March 25, 2008, Defendants informed the Court that they intended to file a motion to dismiss and requested an adjournment of the Rule 16 conference until after the Court's decision on the motion to dismiss. The Court granted Defendants' request. (See Mar. 24, 2008 Order; D.E. 5.)

On April 11, 2008, Defendants timely filed the motion to dismiss. (See May 14, 2008 Order 1 n.1; D.E. 15.) On May 1, 2008, Plaintiff moved (1) to remand the case to State court, or, in the alternative, (2) for preliminary injunctive relief and leave to amend the complaint. Plaintiff's submission did not address the arguments presented in Defendants' motion to dismiss. (See Pl.'s May 1, 2008 Mem. 1-2; D.E. 12.) On May 8, 2008, Defendants filed a submission entitled "Reply Memorandum of Law in Further Support of Their Motion to Dismiss the Complaint." This submission opposed Plaintiff's May 1, 2008 motions. (See Def.s' May 8, 2008 Mem.; D.E. 13.)

On May 14, 2008, the Court ordered that "[n]o later than Friday, June 6, 2008, Plaintiff must serve and file (1) any opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss; and (2) any reply to Defendants' May 8, 2008 opposition to Plaintiff's May 1, 2008 motions." (May 14, 2008 Order 2.) The Court further ordered that "[n]o later than Friday, June 20, 2008, Defendants must serve and file any reply to Plaintiff's opposition to the Motion to Dismiss." (Id.)

On June 6, 2008, Plaintiff requested a seven-day extension to file his submission.*fn3 The Court granted Plaintiff's request, and ordered (1) Plaintiff to serve and file his submission no later than Friday, June 13, 2008; and (2) Defendants to serve and file any submission no later than Friday, June 27, 2008. (See June 6, 2008 Order; D.E. 17.)

On June 13, 2008, Plaintiff filed a memorandum of law opposing Defendants' motion to dismiss and replying to Defendants' May 8, 2008 opposition to Plaintiff's May 1, 2008 motions.*fn4 (See Pl.'s June 13, 2008 Mem.; D.E. 18.) With the benefit of full briefing on these issues, this Order addresses Plaintiff's motions (1) to remand the case to State court, or, in the alternative, (2) for preliminary injunctive relief and leave to amend the complaint.

For the reasons stated below, the Court denies Plaintiff's motion to remand to State court and Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunctive relief. However, the Court grants Plaintiff leave to amend the complaint.

II. Motion to Remand to State Court

Plaintiff's arguments in support of his motion to remand to State court, construed liberally,*fn5 state (1) Defendants' removal is defective for failure to satisfy the amount in controversy requirement (see Pl.'s June 13, 2008 Mem. ¶ 8); (2) Plaintiff elected to file the complaint in State court to "keep active all available legal remedies" (id. ¶ 9); and (3) "compelling state issues" dictate that "the only logical and just venue would be in the NY State Supreme Court" (id. ¶ 7). The Court finds that Plaintiff's arguments are without merit, and therefore denies Plaintiff's motion to remand to State court.

First, the amount in controversy requirement is inapplicable to this case because the Court's jurisdiction is not premised on diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiff alleges violations of several federal statutes. These claims confer original jurisdiction, also known as federal question jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Defendants thus appropriately removed this action to federal court pursuant to 28 ...


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