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Lleweylln S. George v. Pathways To Housing

June 29, 2012

LLEWEYLLN S. GEORGE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PATHWAYS TO HOUSING, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



OPINION AND ORDER

Pro Se Plaintiff Lleweylln S. George brings this action against Pathways to Housing, Inc. ("Pathways"), Georgia Boothe, Carla Mims, Alicia Lore, Ivette Montalto, John Doe (collectively, "Pathways Defendants"), the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health and Desh Connors (the "County Defendants"), alleging violations of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by each named Defendant. Second Am. Compl. ("SAC") at 2 (Doc. 28). Plaintiff claims that as a result of Defendants' conduct, he suffers from anxiety, increased loss of sleep and appetite, severe depression and mental anguish. Id. at 3. Plaintiff seeks fifteen million dollars in compensatory damages and nine million dollars in punitive damages. Id. at 3-4.

Both sets of Defendants have now moved to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) contending that Plaintiff either cannot or has not stated any cognizable claims against them and that the Court should not grant Plaintiff leave to replead his claims for a third time. For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' motions are GRANTED in full.

I.Background

A.Relevant Facts

Pathways is a not-for-profit organization that provides supportive housing services to disabled homeless individuals pursuant to an agreement with Westchester County (the "County"), acting by and through its Department of Community Mental Health ("CMH"). Pathways Defs.' Mem. at 1 (Doc. 41); Decl. of Thomas A. Catalano, Ex. B (Doc. 40). Plaintiff, an African-American man, was referred to Pathways by CMH for the purpose of securing emergency housing. County Defs.' Mem. at 2 (Doc. 47). The circumstances surrounding the referral have not been described in any of the parties' filings.

Plaintiff alleges that between the months of May and June 2010, the Pathways Defendants "were seeking to house Plaintiff in apartments with very serious health and safety violations."*fn1 SAC at 2. Plaintiff claims that he "pointed out to Defendants, that they have a history of placing their white clients in clean and safe environments, while placing their black clients in drug and crime plagued neighborhoods, with regards [sic] to their well being [sic]."*fn2

Id. Plaintiff alleges that his housing application and signed agreement with Pathways were then wrongfully terminated, as a result of a conspiracy between Defendants Alicia Lore and Desh Connors, because of Plaintiff's complaints of discrimination on the basis of color.*fn3 Id. at 2-3.

Plaintiff claims that Defendants Carla Mims and Georgia Boothe, Lore's direct supervisors, were in a position to investigate and correct the possible violations and abuse about which he allegedly complained, but "refused to abide by their own rules or policies." Id. at 3. Plaintiff did not clearly state which rules or policies Mims and Boothe are alleged to have violated; however, it appears that this allegation is a reference to the Pathways' Housing Termination Policy and the "Consumer Rights and Responsibilities" document that are included among Plaintiff's exhibits, George Decl., Ex. 1, at 3, 7 (Doc. 51-1), and referenced in the preceding paragraph of the Second Amended Complaint. SAC at 2-3.

B.Procedural Background

Plaintiff initiated this lawsuit in forma pauperis on September 13, 2010, alleging violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments based on Defendants' failure to provide him with acceptable housing. Doc. 2.

On December 23, 2010, the Honorable Loretta A. Preska issued an Order to Amend pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), based on Plaintiff's failure to meet the pleading requirements of Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Doc. 5. Chief Judge Preska explained that Plaintiff's initial complaint was deficient because he: (1) had not clearly alleged how any individual defendant was personally involved in the wrongful acts against him;

(2) had not alleged dates, times or locations of the alleged wrongdoing by any person; and (3) had not described clearly what actually happened to him. Id. at 3.

ChiefJudge Preska liberally construed Plaintiff's complaint as arising under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, but held that Plaintiff could not state such a claim based on a denial of housing benefits under either the Constitution or any federal statute. Id. at 4-5. To the extent Plaintiff had alleged that Defendants had discriminated against him when he sought housing, Chief Judge Preska liberally construed his claim as arising under the Fair Housing Act ("FHA") and granted Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint to allege whether and how Defendants violated his rights under the FHA. Id. at 5. Chief Judge Preska also granted Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint to allege whether and how his Equal Protection rights were violated by any denial of public housing benefits. Id. at 5-6. Chief Judge Preska's Order specifically identified why Plaintiff's initial complaint had not adequately alleged FHA and Equal Protection claims, and directed Plaintiff to amend his complaint to include specific types of factual allegations that would satisfy the pleading requirements of Rule 8(a)(2), including: (1) a description of all relevant events, including what each defendant did or failed to do; (2) the dates and times of each relevant event or, if not known, the approximate date and time of each relevant event; (3) the location where each relevant event occurred; and (4) a description of how each defendant's acts or omissions violated Plaintiff's rights. Id. at 8. Chief Judge Preska's Order went on to explain that Plaintiff's amended complaint "must tell the Court who violated Plaintiff's federally protected rights; what facts show that his federally protected rights were violated; when such violation(s) occurred; where such violation(s) occurred; and why Plaintiff is entitled to relief." Id.

Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on January 4, 2011,again alleging that his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when the Pathways Defendants showed him apartments that were "too unsanitary and in need of serious repairs," and when Lore terminated Plaintiff's written agreement in retaliation for statements that Plaintiff made to her about Pathways' alleged history of racist practices. Doc. 9. Contrary to Chief Judge Preska's specific directions, Plaintiff's Amended Complaint did not allege any facts related to an FHA claim. By Order dated January 31, 2011, the Honorable Cathy Seibel, to whom this case was then assigned, dismissed Plaintiff's constitutional claims because Defendants are private parties. Doc. 10. Judge Seibel's Order, however, permitted Plaintiff to replead his claims for a second time. Judge Seibel directed Plaintiff to allege facts related to an FHA claim and, if he chose to do so, facts supporting a claim under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1981 for ...


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