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Hayes v. Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority

United States District Court, Second Circuit

September 23, 2013

MICHAEL HAYES and MKH CONSTRUCTION, LLC, Plaintiffs,
v.
BUFFALO MUNICIPAL HOUSING AUTHORITY, et al., Defendants.

DECISION AND ORDER

WILLIAM M. SKRETNY, Chief District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Michael Hayes and his company, MKH Construction, LLC ("MKH"), bring this action alleging that the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority ("BMHA") and several of its employees violated various protections found in common law and in the United States Constitution. In short, Hayes, a contractor who often performed work for BMHA, alleges that BMHA unlawfully retaliated against him for reporting the illegal activity of a BMHA administrator.

BMHA now moves for partial dismissal of Hayes' complaint. Hayes also seeks to amend his complaint. Except for one aspect of that amended complaint, in which Hayes seeks to add a new cause of action, BMHA does not oppose the motion. Accordingly, aside from that cause of action, which will be discussed in further detail below, Plaintiffs are granted leave to file an amended complaint, and the motion to dismiss will be construed as against it. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2) ("The court should freely give leave when justice so requires."). For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied in part.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Facts[1]

For many years, Hayes, the owner and sole member of a construction company located in Grand Island, New York that focuses on roofing and siding, bid on and performed contracts offered by BMHA, a public corporation and arm of the City of Buffalo. (Second Am. Compl. ¶¶ 7, 10, 22-25.) According to Hayes, BMHA projects were MKH's primary source of income. ( Id., ¶ 24.) But sometime in 2007, John Fischer Jr., a BMHA administrator who was responsible for supervising all of BMHA's construction projects, demanded that Hayes perform free work for Fischer's friend. ( Id., ¶¶ 30, 32.) Fischer went so far as to "systematically shut down all of Hayes['] contracts with BMHA... [hoping] to coerce Hayes to perform" the free work. ( Id., ¶ 32.) Hayes, however, reported this attempted extortion to the FBI. Eventually, Fischer pleaded guilty to federal extortion charges. ( Id., ¶ 36.)

Though comprising several causes of action, Hayes' complaint is essentially straightforward: he charges that BMHA used various means to retaliate against him for reporting Fischer to the FBI. According to Hayes, BMHA:

• "de-listed" MKH as a "Section 3 business concern, " which is a favorable designation awarded to contractors, entitling them to preference in bidding (id., ¶ 40)

• refused to consider MKH's application that it be reinstated as a "Section 3" business (id., ¶ 41)

• refused to allow MKH to hire subcontractors (id., ¶ 42)

• told other contractors not to hire MKH, and that "jobs will go a lot easier" if MKH is not hired as a sub-contractor (id., ¶ 43)

• withheld pay applications (id., ¶ 44)

• impermissibly replaced MKH as a sub-contractor on a project (id., ¶¶ 45-46)

• refused to allow MKH to participate in meetings (id., ¶ 47)

• informed Kulback's Construction, a general contractor, that it could not use MKH as a subcontractor (id., ¶ 48)

• imposed unrealistic demands on projects that MKH was involved in (id., ¶ 51)

• assigned MKH duties it was not required to perform ...


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