United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J. MICHELSON, DISTRICT JUDGE,
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
K. MAJZOUB, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
housing discrimination case comes before the court on three
Motions to Dismiss – one filed by Defendant and two
filed by Plaintiff. (Docket nos. 33, 36, 41.) Plaintiff filed
a Response to Defendant’s Motion, to which Defendant
replied (docket nos. 35, 37), and Defendant filed a Response
to Plaintiff’s first Motion to Dismiss (docket no. 38).
The time for response to Plaintiff’s second Motion to
Dismiss has not yet passed. This action has been referred to
the undersigned for all pretrial purposes. (Docket no. 26.)
The undersigned has reviewed the pleadings, dispenses with
oral argument on the Motions pursuant to Eastern District of
Michigan Local Rule 7.1(f), and issues this Report and
Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B).
reasons that follow, it is recommended that Defendant’s
Motion to Dismiss (docket no. 33) be GRANTED
insofar as Defendant seeks dismissal of Plaintiff’s
Amended Complaint with prejudice and DENIED
insofar as Defendant seeks attorney’s fees and costs.
It is further recommended that Plaintiff’s Motions to
Dismiss this matter without prejudice (docket nos. 36, 41) be
DENIED and that this matter be
DISMISSED in its entirety, with prejudice.
Angela Nails, proceeding pro se, initiated this
action against Defendant Parkside Apartments on September 7,
2017. (Docket no. 1.) The undersigned subsequently
recommended dismissal of this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) on the basis that Plaintiff’s
initial Complaint and supplemental filings failed to state a
claim upon which relief could be granted. (Docket no. 19.)
Plaintiff objected to the recommendation of dismissal.
(Docket no. 21.) The District Judge agreed that Plaintiff had
failed to state facts that make out a plausible claim of
housing discrimination but found that additional information
provided by Plaintiff in her objection suggested that she
might be able to state a claim. (Docket no. 22 at 3.) The
District Judge therefore ordered Plaintiff to file an amended
complaint that alleges facts that make out a Fair Housing Act
or other federal claim, and since Plaintiff’s claim was
seemingly based on racial discrimination, she advised that
Plaintiff must plead facts that would allow a court to
reasonably find that Defendant’s actions were taken on
account of Plaintiff’s race. (Id.)
filed an Amended Complaint on August 27, 2018. (Docket no.
25.) In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff informs that she is
a black female. She asserts that in her quest for an
apartment, she contacted Defendant about renting an apartment
of any size. Defendant indicated that it did not have any
apartments available at that time. Plaintiff asserts that she
contacted Defendant again at a later date, and Defendant told
Plaintiff that it had a one-bedroom apartment available.
Plaintiff and Defendant then set up an appointment for
Plaintiff to come in, see the available apartment, fill out a
rental application, and have her credit reviewed. Plaintiff
alleges that when she called Defendant on the day before the
appointment to confirm and to ask questions about the
application, Defendant told her that the apartment was no
longer available because it was going to be rented to the
white, male, family member of a current renter after he
completed his application and his credit check came back.
According to Plaintiff, Defendant said, “I know you
will understand that family comes first.” She alleges
that Defendant also told her that it did not rent apartments
to people with a disability because the building did not have
an elevator and it would be hard for a person with a
disability to move up and down flights of stairs. Plaintiff
further alleges that when she asked Defendant about the
appointment that she had set up, Defendant seemed skeptical
of answering her question. Plaintiff and Defendant have had
no further contact.
alleges that Defendant did not rent the apartment to her, a
black female; it rented the apartment to a white male whose
family member was already renting an apartment from
Defendants. She alleges that she “has been
discriminated against by the Defendant because the Defendant
words, language to the Plaintiff.” She seeks damages
under Section 804 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §
3604(a), (d), and (f)(3)(B).
moves to dismiss the Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Docket no. 33.) When
deciding a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must
“construe the complaint in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff, accept its allegations as true, and draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff.”
Directv, Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir.
2007); Inge v. Rock Fin. Corp., 281 F.3d 613, 619
(6th Cir. 2002). The plaintiff must provide “‘a
short and plain statement of the claim’ that will give
the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim
is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P.
8(a)(2)). But this statement “must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The
plaintiff cannot rely on “legal conclusions” or
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action;” instead, the plaintiff must plead
“factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). This “facial plausibility”
is required to “unlock the doors of discovery.”
Id. To make this determination, the Iqbal
Court set out the following two-step analysis:
[A] court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin
by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than
conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.
While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a
complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.
When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court
should assume ...