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Maverick Kendrick v. Greenburgh Housing Authority

March 22, 2011

MAVERICK KENDRICK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GREENBURGH HOUSING AUTHORITY, AND GREENBURGH TOWN HALL CLERK'S OFFICE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Seibel, J.

DECISION AND ORDER

Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, (Docs. 67, 69, 70, 71, 72),*fn1 Defendant Greenburgh Housing Authority's Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. 57), and Defendant Town of Greenburgh's*fn2 Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. 46). For the reasons stated below, Defendant Greenburgh Housing Authority's Motion for Summary Judgment is granted, Defendant Town of Greenburgh's Motion for Summary Judgment is granted, and Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is denied.

I.BACKGROUND

A.Facts

The following facts are undisputed except where noted.

Plaintiff Maverick Kendrick is a 51-year-old male who entered into a lease agreement in 2003 with the Defendant Greenburgh Housing Authority ("GHA") for a five-bedroom apartment at 79 North Washington Avenue in Greenburgh, New York. (Dep. at 25.)*fn3 Plaintiff resided in this apartment with his children and step-children, some of whom were under 18 years old during the period relevant to this action. (Id. at 27.)

During Plaintiff's tenancy at 79 North Washington Avenue, Plaintiff periodically reported to the GHA the required details of any wages earned by other members of his household. (Id. at 37--39; 69--71; 89--91.) Plaintiff also regularly reported to the GHA any changes in his household composition. (Id. at 36; 162--65; 172--74; 190--91.)

This strained relationship persisted throughout the time Plaintiff lived at 79 North Washington Avenue. (Id. at 44.)

From the time Plaintiff entered into the lease agreement for his apartment in 2003, until he was evicted in 2006, the apartment required a variety of repairs. (Id. at 31--36; 63--69; 92-- 98.) For example, in 2003, the kitchen tiles frequently popped up, especially when the floor was mopped; the radiators were falling apart; mold and mildew developed in the third floor bathroom; and the apartment needed to be repainted. (Id. at 32--34.) In 2004, tiles continued to pop up from the floors throughout the apartment; bathrooms on the second and third floor began leaking; there was mold growing on the walls and floors in a number of the bedrooms; and multiple windows in the apartment did not have pulleys, which made them dangerous because they could slam shut on their own. (Id. at 63--67.) Plaintiff put in a number of work orders with the GHA requesting repairs, but most of these problems were not remedied. (Id. at 68--69; Doc. 64, Ex. H.) In 2005, the condition of the apartment further deteriorated. The radiators and windows remained in disrepair; mold continued to eat away at the floor and walls; and a pipe burst in the second floor bathroom, causing flooding in the apartment. (Dep. at 93--98.) When this pipe burst, the fire department had to turn off the water, and it subsequently issued Plaintiff a summons indicating that the electrical wiring in his apartment was old and in need of repair, and created a fire hazard. (Id.) Following Plaintiff's receipt of this summons the GHA repaired Plaintiff's living room floor and fixed the electrical wiring that the fire department had deemed dangerous. (Id. at 97.)

In August 2005, Mr. Afoun sent Plaintiff a letter informing him that he needed to be relocated to another unit so that repairs to his unit could be made. (Doc. 70 at 2.) Plaintiff received a letter dated October 5, 2005, from the GHA informing him that he needed to be relocated from his five-bedroom apartment into a four-bedroom apartment because of the conditions of his current unit and his health concerns. (Doc. 64, Ex. O.)*fn4 Plaintiff received another letter dated October 25, 2005, stating that because of his changed family composition,*fn5 he would be moved to a three-bedroom unit when one became available. (Doc. 64, Ex. P; Dep. at 114--15.) Plaintiff refused to be relocated, however, because he believed the necessary repairs could be undertaken without his family vacating the premises and because he felt his family composition necessitated a five-bedroom apartment. (Id. at 101--02; 107--15.)

In response to that refusal, GHA served on Plaintiff a thirty-day Notice of Termination of Tenancy dated November 21, 2005, as provided for in the lease. (Doc. 64, Ex. R; see Doc. 64, Ex. G ("Lease") at 6 ¶¶ 16--17.) The Notice advised that Plaintiff's lease was being terminated because of his refusal to move to allow repairs to his current unit, and that if he did not vacate by December 31, 2005, the expiration date of his lease, GHA would commence eviction proceedings.

Following Plaintiff's receipt of letters from the GHA indicating that it intended to relocate him, Plaintiff filed a series of complaints against the GHA. These included complaints filed on December 8, 2005, with the New York State Attorney General's Office; on December 21, 2005, with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"); on February 24, 2006, with then--United States Senator Hillary Clinton; on March 10, 2006, with the District Attorney of Westchester County; and on May 12, 2006, with the Westchester County Human Rights Commission. (Compl.*fn6 ; Doc. 69.)

An administrative hearing was held before Defendant's Board of Commissioners and the GHA's determinations that Plaintiff would have to vacate for repairs and accept a smaller unit were upheld. (Doc. 61 ¶¶ 3--4.) In March 2006, the GHA served Plaintiff with a Hold-Over petition and sought to evict Plaintiff and his family. (Doc. 72, Ex. 9; Dep. at 164--67; 265--66.) On April 27, 2006, Plaintiff was served with a Notice of Eviction indicating that a warrant to evict him from his apartment had been authorized. (Doc. 47, Ex. D; Dep. at 175--76.) In response, Plaintiff appeared in the Town Justice Court on April 28, 2006, and sought an Order to Show Cause to stay the Warrant of Eviction. (Doc. 64, Ex. X; Dep. at 175.) The Court granted Plaintiff's request to stay the Eviction. (Dep. at 175--79; Doc. 64, Ex. X.) Plaintiff failed to appear on the May 10, 2006 return date of the Order to Show Cause, however, and the Judge dismissed the petition. (Dep. at 181.) On May 12, 2006, Plaintiff was at the GHA's administrative office to notify officials of a change in his family composition. (Id. at 190--94.) While there, Plaintiff was informed by a neighbor that she had been at the Town Justice Court on May 10, 2006, and that the Court had authorized Plaintiff's eviction at that time. (Id. at 184.) Plaintiff immediately sought from the Town Justice Court a second Order to Show Cause to stay the Warrant of Eviction. (Id. at 197--98; Doc. 64, Ex. AA; Doc. 71.) The Court granted this stay as well, but Plaintiff was unaware of that decision because, having heard that the eviction was taking place, he left the Court before the Judge had made a determination. (Dep. at 203--04; 207; 286--87; Doc. 64, Ex. AA.) During Plaintiff's visits to the Town Justice Court on April 28 and May 12, 2006, Plaintiff felt he was mistreated, given a hard time, and given the run-around by Court personnel. (Id. at 199; 269--74; 278--82.)

B.Procedural Background

On September 14, 2007, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, (Doc. 4), which was dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim, (Doc. 8). On appeal, the Second Circuit vacated the District Court's order and remanded the case to this Court for further proceedings on appellant's Fair Housing Act retaliation and familial status discrimination claims. Plaintiff avers that he was evicted shortly after making complaints against the alleged discriminatory practices of the Greenburgh Housing Authority, which could constitute retaliation under the Act. Plaintiff further claims that his rent was increased based on his minor children's summer income, which could constitute familial status discrimination in violation of the Act. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(b), 3617; Trafficante v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 409 U.S. 205, 209 (1972). Upon remand, the district court may consider whether to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's state law claims. (Doc. 11.) On April 17, 2009 the case was reassigned to me. (Doc. 24.) On July 7, 2010, Defendant Town of Greenburgh filed a motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 46.) On July 12, 2010, Defendant GHA filed a motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 57.) Between May 28 and September 20, 2010, Plaintiff filed a series of papers which appear to be a motion for summary judgment and opposition to the Defendants' motions for summary judgment. (Docs. 67, 69, 70, 71, 72.)

II.LEGAL STANDARD

A.Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate when "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). "[T]he dispute about a material fact is 'genuine' . . . if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is "material" if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law . . . . Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted." Id. On a motion for summary judgment, "[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Id. at 255. The movant bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, and, if satisfied, the burden then shifts to the non-movant to present evidence sufficient to satisfy every element of the claim. Holcomb v. Iona Coll., 521 F.3d 130, 137 (2d Cir. 2008) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323--24 (1986)). "The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [non-movant's] position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [non-movant]." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. Moreover, the non-movant "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts," Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986), and he "may not rely on conclusory allegations or unsubstantiated speculation," Fujitsu Ltd. v. Fed. Express Corp., 247 F.3d 423, 428 (2d Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks omitted).

"A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by . . . citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials . . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(A). Where, as here, an affidavit is used to support or oppose the motion, it "must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant . . . is competent to testify on the matters stated." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(4); see Major League Baseball Props., Inc. v. Salvino, Inc., 542 F.3d 290, 310 (2d Cir. 2008) (citation omitted). In the event a party "fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may," among other things, ...


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