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THOMAS v. CHICAGO HOUS. AUTH.

March 15, 1996

DOROTHY J. THOMAS, Plaintiff,
v.
CHICAGO HOUSING AUTHORITY, a municipal corporation; the UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT ("HUD"); former HUD Secretary JACK KEMP and present HUD Secretary HENRY CISNEROS, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BUCKLO

 Plaintiff, Dorothy J. Thomas, has filed suit against the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"), former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp, and present HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros *fn1" (collectively, "federal defendants"), and the Chicago Housing Authority ("CHA" or "state defendant"), a state housing authority. Both the state and federal defendants have filed motions to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below both, the federal defendants' motion is granted and the state defendant's motion is granted in part and denied in part.

 Background

 Ms. Thomas is a public housing tenant residing in the Cabrini Extension project, one of three projects collectively known as "Cabrini-Green." In her complaint, Ms. Thomas makes numerous allegations. *fn2" Count one of the complaint alleges the following: 1) the federal and state defendants are charging plaintiff too much rent; 2) the federal and state defendants have rented plaintiff an unsanitary apartment; 3) plaintiff was attacked by another CHA resident on March 11, 1995, and her attacker has not been evicted; 4) the federal and state defendants have denied plaintiff access to common rooms to hold meetings for her various community groups; *fn3" and 5) the CHA has reduced maintenance services by over 75 percent resulting in unsafe and unsanitary housing conditions.

 Intermittently throughout Count one, Ms. Thomas cites 42 U.S.C. §§ 1437, 1437a; 12 U.S.C. § 1701 et. seq.; 42 U.S.C. §§ 1985(2) & (3); and the Fourteenth and Fifth Amendments as the bases for her claims. Ms. Thomas' complaint states that she has lost income, suffered physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish and humiliation, and been deprived of food and other "vital necessary" [sic] to maintain her welfare. Ms. Thomas seeks $ 1,000,000.00 in compensatory damages, $ 5,000,000.00 in punitive damages, attorney fees, her alleged rent overcharge (calculated by plaintiff at $ 4,790.00) and equitable relief requiring proper maintenance of Cabrini-Green and correction of all housing code violations in all Cabrini-Green apartments.

 In count two of the complaint, Ms. Thomas alleges as follows: 1) the CHA and HUD brought a "fraudulent" eviction action against her; 2) the CHA and HUD are demolishing Cabrini-Green buildings in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1437p; and 3) the state and federal defendants have conspired to charge excessive rent from all CHA residents in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1437a and 12 U.S.C. § 1701z-11. Count two reiterates the injuries and seeks the same monetary damages as count one.

 Analysis

 When deciding a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all well pleaded allegations in the plaintiff's complaint as true. Johnson v. Martin, 943 F.2d 15, 16 (7th Cir. 1991). Any reasonable inferences from those facts must be made in the plaintiff's favor. Id. In addition, a pro se complaint, "however inartfully pleaded," is held "to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9, 66 L. Ed. 2d 163, 101 S. Ct. 173 (1980). The court's role is to ensure that claims of pro se litigants are given "fair and meaningful consideration." Matzker v. Herr, 748 F.2d 1142, 1146 (7th Cir. 1984). Accordingly, pro se complaints must be liberally construed. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106, 50 L. Ed. 2d 251, 97 S. Ct. 285 (1976). The complaint need not specify the correct legal theory, nor point to the correct statute in order to survive a motion to dismiss. Bartholet v. Reishauer A.G., 953 F.2d 1073, 1078 (7th Cir. 1992). Finally, a district court may dismiss a complaint only if "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Hughes, supra, 449 U.S. at 10.

 The CHA is the PHA with jurisdiction over the City of Chicago, managing all public housing in Chicago. Thus the CHA is in charge of operating and managing Cabrini-Green, while HUD provides funds to allow the CHA to rent apartments at reduced rates. *fn4" Due to the distinction between the CHA and HUD, I address the claims against each defendant separately.

 I. The Federal Defendants -- HUD, Jack Kemp, and Henry Cisneros

 A. Count One

 Ms. Thomas first alleges that she is being charged a monthly rent that exceeds the statutory limit. The rent formula of the United States Housing Act is supplied by 42 U.S.C. § 1437a. It provides in part:

 
[A] family shall pay as rent for a dwelling unit assisted under this chapter. . .the highest of the following amounts, rounded to the nearest dollar:
 
(A) 30 per centum of the family's monthly adjusted income;
 
(B) 10 per centum of the family's monthly income; or
 
(C) if the family is receiving payments for welfare assistance from a public agency and a part of such payments, adjusted in accordance with the family's actual housing costs, is specifically designated by such agency to meet the family's ...

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