The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Skretny Chief Judge United States District Court
This is an action for injunctive relief and damages for sexual harassment in the housing context, under the Fair Housing Act of 1968 ("FHA"), 42 U.S.C. § 3601, et seq. Presently before this Court is Plaintiffs' ex parte Motion for an Expedited Hearing and for a Temporary Restraining Order ("TRO"). Plaintiffs seek a TRO to temporarily enjoin Defendant from commencing eviction proceedings against them in state court and from having any personal contact with them. Defendant has not yet been served with the Complaint, which alleges that Defendant created a hostile living environment for Plaintiffs in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (b), and retaliated against them in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3617. For the reasons stated below, Plaintiffs' motions are granted.
Plaintiffs are all females who live in the Sherwood Court Mobile Home Park, which Defendant owns. (Complaint, Docket No. 1, ¶¶ 5-8, 12.) Plaintiffs each own their mobile homes but rent their lots from Defendant. (Complaint, ¶ 13.) There are 17 lots in the park. (Complaint, ¶ 14.)
Defendant has owned Sherwood Court for approximately three years. (Complaint, ¶ 15.) Plaintiffs contend that Defendant has declared a "right" to enter their homes at his discretion. (Complaint, ¶¶ 16, 17.) Defendant exercises this "right" to primarily enter the homes of the female residents of the park without permission. (Complaint, ¶ 17.) On multiple occasions, Defendant has either entered or attempted to enter each of the plaintiff's homes, unannounced and uninvited. (Complaint, ¶ 17.) He has repeatedly appeared late in the evening, often while intoxicated. (Complaint, ¶ 18.)
Defendant has also solicited sex from Plaintiffs and has repeatedly made unwanted sexual advances toward them. Defendant sends Plaintiff Miles unwanted text messages, remarks on her appearance, tells her what kinds of clothes she should wear, asks her to leave her husband for him, and blows kisses and stares at her. (Complaint, ¶ 19.) Defendant has also referred to the child Miles has with her husband as "our" son. (Complaint, ¶ 21.) Defendant's conduct has caused Plaintiff Miles and her husband to install video surveillance around their home for protection. (Complaint, ¶ 20.)
Defendant has allegedly engaged in a similar course of conduct with Plaintiff Moran-Combs. He sends her numerous text messages requesting sex, despite Plaintiff Moran-Combs directive that Defendant stop texting her. (Complaint, ¶ 23.)
Defendant has also made sexual advances toward Plaintiff Moran. He has told her that he is attracted to her and wants to see her. (Complaint, ¶ 24.) He has come to her home between midnight and 2:00 a.m. and refused to leave when asked. (Complaint, ¶ 24.) He has also made unwanted sexual advances toward her, including sitting closely to her on a couch, grabbing her, rubbing her leg, and touching her breasts and genital area.
(Complaint, ¶ 25.) This course of conduct waxes and wanes depending on whether Defendant's wife becomes aware of his conduct. (Complaint, ¶¶ 27-- 28.)
In February 2011, Defendant was arrested after engaging in a stand-off with police at his home, during which he fired a weapon at Cattaraugus County Sheriff's deputies. (Complaint, ¶ 31.)
In December 2011, Defendant served Plaintiff Miles and her family with a 6-month termination notice, advising that their lot would no longer be used as a rental lot and they would therefore have to vacate the premises. (Complaint, ¶ 22.) Defendant also advised a group of tenants that he wants to rid the park of existing tenants so that he can fill it with single mothers. (Complaint, ¶ 29.)
A. Plaintiffs' Motion for an Ex Parte Temporary ...