United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
VALERIE CAPRONI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Parisgiselle Pinckney sued the New York City Department of
Housing Preservation and Development (“HPD”),
Louise Carroll, as Commissioner of HPD, and the City of New
York for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131(2), 12132,
28 C.F.R. § 35.130(b)(7); the Rehabilitation Act
(“RA”), 29 U.S.C. § 794 et seq; Title VIII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as
amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988
(“FHA”), 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq; the New
York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”), N.Y.
Exec. L. § 296(2)(a), (c) et seq.; and the New York City
Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”), N.Y.C. Admin. Code
§§ 8-106(4)(1)(a), 106(15)(a) et seq. See Second
Am. Comp. (“SAC”), Dkt. 33 ¶¶ 115-84.
Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and
monetary damages. Id. ¶ 185. Defendants move to
dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Dkt. 34. Defendants'
motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
action stems from the termination of Plaintiff's
family's Section 8 housing assistance benefits. Section 8
of the United States Housing Act of 1937 provides federal
funding to the owners of leased housing “for the
purpose of aiding low-income families in obtaining a decent
place to live.” Pl. Mem. of Law, Dkt. 38 at 6; 42
U.S.C. § 1437f(a). Defendant HPD administers a Section 8
voucher program through which low-income families in New York
City receive subsidies that can be used to rent qualifying
housing. Pl. Mem. of Law at 6. HPD has a written policy
stating that reasonable accommodations to participants with
disabilities will be made if the disabled individual
completes a “Reasonable Accommodation Request form or
submit[s] a letter from a medical professional [verifying]
the person's disability and need for the reasonable
now-deceased mother, Laurette Pinckney (“Ms.
Pinckney”), began participating in the Section 8
voucher program in 2008. SAC ¶ 4. Thereafter, Plaintiff,
along with her mother and brother, were able to move to 1211
Southern Boulevard in the Bronx. SAC ¶¶ 1, 4. In
September 2016, Ms. Pinckney suffered a stroke and became
wheelchair-bound, allegedly resulting in her being unable to
comply in a timely way with the annual documentation and
recertification requirements to maintain her Section 8
subsidy. SAC ¶¶ 69-70. As a result, on January 17,
2017, HPD issued a “Notice of Section 8 Rent Subsidy
Termination, ” informing Ms. Pinckney that her voucher
would be terminated at the end of February and indicating
that any request for a hearing to contest the termination
must be received by February 16, 2017. Id.
February 2, 2017, Ms. Pinckney was hospitalized after her
family found her unresponsive; she remained in the hospital
until February 17, 2017. Id. ¶ 78. Allegedly as
a result of her hospitalization, Ms. Pinckney failed to
request a hearing to contest the termination of her voucher
before the February 16 deadline. Four days after being
released from the hospital, on February 21, Ms. Pinckney
visited HPD's office with her home health aide and
explained that she had been unable to comply with the
recertification deadline or request a hearing because she had
suffered a stroke and was in the hospital. Id.
¶ 81. Specifically, Ms. Pinckney requested permission to
submit belatedly the documents required to reinstate her
Section 8 voucher. Id. ¶ 82. Plaintiff asserts
that HPD accepted the documents and instructed Ms. Pinckney
to submit a written request for a hearing. Id.
¶ 83. Despite her oral request for an accommodation, as
well as her subsequent written request for a hearing, HPD
informed Ms. Pinckney that her recertification documents
would not be accepted and denied her request for a hearing as
untimely. Id. ¶ 84. Ms. Pinckney continued to
speak to HPD personnel, in person and by phone, to request an
accommodation that would enable her to reinstate her voucher.
Id. ¶¶ 85-86. HPD allegedly refused Ms.
Pinckney's requests and suggested she retain a lawyer.
September 2017, Ms. Pinckney's landlord, 1211 Southern
Boulevard, filed an eviction proceeding in Bronx Housing
Court, alleging that Ms. Pinckney had violated her lease by
failing to maintain her Section 8 subsidy. Id.
¶ 89. On May 23, 2018, HPD appeared in the eviction
proceeding to confirm that it would not reinstate Ms.
Pinckney's Section 8 voucher. Id. ¶ 92. Two
weeks later, on June 13, 2018, Ms. Pinckney died at the age
of 55. Id. ¶ 94. Following Ms. Pinckney's
death, 1211 Southern Boulevard continued the eviction
proceedings; on September 19, 2018, they notified Plaintiff
that she had five days either to pay $21, 818 or to vacate
the apartment. Id. ¶ 101. Plaintiff is 24 years
old and suffers from depression and bipolar disorder.
Id. ¶¶ 62-63. As a result of her mental
illnesses and the stress of a looming eviction proceeding,
Plaintiff was hospitalized in September 2018. Id.
December 26, 2018, Plaintiff commenced this action against
HPD, the City of New York, and HPD Commissioner, Louise
Carroll. Dkt. 1. In April 2019, HPD agreed to reinstate
Plaintiff's Section 8 voucher and made payments
retroactive to the voucher termination in 2017. SAC ¶
106. Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint on June 27,
2019. Dkt. 33. Plaintiff now seeks a declaratory judgment and
damages for Defendants' failure to accommodate her
mother's disability in violation of the ADA, RA, FHA,
NYSHRL, and NYCHRL, as well as an injunction requiring HPD to
adopt policies and institute training designed to ensure that
HPD provides reasonable accommodations to individuals with
disabilities. Id. ¶ 185. Defendants move to
dismiss the second amended complaint for lack of standing
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and for
failure to state a claim under rule 12(b)(6).
move to dismiss the complaint on the ground that Plaintiff
lacks standing to seek declaratory, monetary, or injunctive
relief. The Court will address separately Plaintiff's
standing (vel non) for monetary and injunctive
relief. See Friends of the Earth, Inc. v.
Laidlaw Envtl. Servs. (TOC), Inc., 528 U.S. 167, 185
(2000) (“Plaintiff must demonstrate standing separately
for each form of relief sought.”).
to Article III of the Constitution, federal courts may only
hear “cases” and “controversies.”
Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 576
(1992). To ensure the presence of a case or controversy, the
Court must make a threshold determination of whether the
plaintiff has standing to sue. Id. at 560-61. To
have standing a plaintiff must allege: (1) a concrete,
particularized, actual or imminent injury-in-fact; (2) a
causal connection between the injury and the conduct
complained of such that the injury is “fairly traceable
to the challenged action of the defendant”; and (3) it
must be likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that the
injury will be redressed by a favorable decision from the
Court. Id. at 560 (internal quotation marks
omitted). If a plaintiff lacks standing, the claim must be
dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Cent.
States Se. & Sw. Areas Health & Welfare Fund v.
Merck-Medco Managed Care, L.L.C., 433 F.3d 181, 198 (2d
Plaintiff Has Standing to Seek Damages for Past
scope of standing under the ADA, RA, and FHA is construed as
broadly as is constitutionally permitted. See Innovative
Health Sys., Inc. v. City of White Plains, 117 F.3d 37,
47 (2d Cir. 1997) (superseded on other grounds, Zervos v.
Verizon N.Y., Inc., 252 F.3d 163, 171 n.7 (2d Cir.
2001)); Fulton v. Goord, 591 F.3d 37, 42 (2d Cir.
2009) (holding that the ADA and RA are not subject to any of
the prudential limitations on standing); Fair Hous. in
Huntington Comm. v. Town of Huntington, N.Y., 316
F.3d 357, 362 (2d Cir. 2003) (standing under the FHA is
“coextensive with Article III standing”). Thus,
“non-disabled parties bringing associational
discrimination claims [under the ADA and RA] need only prove
an independent injury causally related to the denial of
federally required services to the disabled persons with whom
the non- disabled plaintiffs are associated.”
Loeffler v. Staten Island Univ. Hosp., 582 F.3d 268,
279-80 (2d Cir. 2009) (Wesley, J., concurring) (holding that
the children of deaf parents suffered independent injuries
sufficient to confer standing because they were compelled to
provide sign language interpretation and were exposed to
their father's suffering); see also McCullum v.
Orlando Reg'l Healthcare Sys., Inc., 768 F.3d 1135,
1142 (11th Cir. 2014) (“it is widely accepted that
under both the RA and the ADA, non-disabled individuals have
standing to bring claims when they are injured because of
their association with a disabled person”); Doe v.
U.S. Sec'y of Transportation, No. 17-CV-7868, 2018
WL 6411277, at *7 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 4, 2018) (explaining that
parents have standing to sue under the ADA and RA even when
their disabled child was the person directly injured);
Eskenazi-McGibney v. Connetquot Cent. Sch. Dist., 84
F.Supp.3d 221, 229-30 (E.D.N.Y. 2015).
under the FHA, any “aggrieved person, ” which
includes anyone who “claims to have been injured by a
discriminatory housing practice, ” has standing to
bring a discrimination claim. 42 U.S.C. §§ 3602(i),
3613(a)(1)(A). An “aggrieved person” need not be
the direct target of discrimination in order to have standing
under the FHA. See Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Ins.
Co, 409 U.S. 205, 205-209 (1972) (holding that white
tenants had standing to challenge landlord's racially
discriminatory practices under the FHA because the
“definition of ‘person aggrieved' in §