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HISPANICS UNITED OF DUPAGE COUNTY v. VILLAGE OF AD

March 19, 1997

HISPANICS UNITED OF DUPAGE COUNTY, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
VILLAGE OF ADDISON, ILLINOIS, Defendant. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, v. VILLAGE OF ADDISON, ILLINOIS, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CASTILLO

 These consolidated lawsuits seek injunctive and other relief regarding defendant Village of Addison's attempt to create two tax increment financing districts ("TIFs") in order to redevelop neighborhoods containing high numbers of Hispanic residents. The TIFs are alleged to violate the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq., 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1982, 1983 and the Equal Protection Clause. The plaintiffs include residents of the TIF districts, nonresident owners of property within the TIF districts, and three not-for-profit corporations that claim an interest in the lawsuit either because they work for the advancement of the Hispanic community or because they work against discrimination and segregation in housing. Pending before the Court is a motion for summary judgment requesting that the Court dismiss certain plaintiffs for lack of standing, redefine the plaintiff class, and dismiss the punitive damages and civil penalties claims. The Court grants the defendant's motion with regard to plaintiff Rivera's §§ 1981, 1982, and 1983 claims and plaintiffs Debra and John Cagle's §§ 1981 and 1982 claims, but denies it, without prejudice, in all other respects. The Court may revisit these aspects of the defendant's motion at the close of the plaintiffs' case.

 BACKGROUND

 While the redevelopment plan for the Army Trail/Mill Road TIF district was getting underway, the defendant was looking into the possibility of creating another TIF area that would include the Michael Lane neighborhood. (Def.'s Facts P 10). This TIF district eventually was approved on October 3, 1994. (Id.). Three days later, the plaintiffs filed suit. (Def.'s Facts P 11). They allege that the defendant's selection of TIF districts was motivated by discrimination directed toward the large numbers of Hispanics residing in the Green Oaks and Michael Lane neighborhoods. (Id.). The parties disagree as to whether there was ever an actual redevelopment "plan" for either neighborhood, (see Pl.'s Facts P 12), and as to whether the village's conduct threatens further segregation of the village. (See Pl.'s Facts PP 47-49).

 Plaintiffs Carl and Maude Conti and Camille and Marvin Husby own land in the Michael Lane neighborhood. (Def.'s Facts PP 13, 20). Both couples live in other cities, but lease the Michael Lane properties in order to finance their retirements. (Def.'s Facts PP 13, 17, 20, 26). Although the Contis admit that they have yet to suffer any financial loss due to the defendant's conduct, (See Pl.'s Facts P 16), they fear the loss of their property as a result of the TIF. (See Pl.'s Facts PP 17-18). The Husbys have been unwilling to secure new leases from their current tenants because they fear they will be liable for any losses the tenants incur should the defendant destroy their building. (Def.'s Facts P 23). In addition, Marvin Husby testified that he believes the TIF is responsible for vacancies between tenants, (Pl.'s Facts P 24; Dep. of Marvin Husby, Pl.'s Exhibit 7 at 40-41), that it has frozen the market value of his property, (Pl.'s Facts P 26), and that he may be the target of retaliation fueled by his opposition to past and present Village proceedings. (See Pl.'s Facts P 26; Dep. of Marvin Husby, Def.'s Exhibit 26 at 23-29). Like the Contis, the Husbys fear the loss of their property as a result of the TIF. (See Pl.'s Facts PP 25-26).

 Plaintiff Jose Angel Rivera is a Hispanic resident of Addison who lives just outside the Michael Lane TIF. (Def.'s Facts P 28). He claims emotional injury from the TIF's creation because he believes the Hispanic neighborhood was "a targeted area." (Def.'s Facts P 31). In addition, he claims the TIF threatens the personal and professional benefits that he enjoys as part of living in an integrated community. (Pl.'s Facts P 34; Rivera Aff., Pl.'s Exhibit 10).

 Plaintiffs Debra and John Cagle are white residents of Green Oaks. (Pl.'s Add'l Facts P 5). They have lived in the neighborhood for ten years. (Id.) The Cagles were forced to change buildings when the defendants demolished their residence as part of the conduct at issue in this case. (Id. at P 4-5). One of the reasons the Cagles chose to remain in the Green Oaks neighborhood is to continue enjoying the personal and professional benefits of an integrated community. (Cagle Affs., Pl.'s Exhibit 16). They claim that the TIF threatens imminent loss of those benefits.

 Plaintiffs Hispanics United of DuPage County, Hispanic Council, and the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities ("the Leadership Council") (collectively, the "Organizational Plaintiffs") claim that the defendant's conduct forced them to divert resources from their ordinary activities in order to investigate and oppose the TIFs. (Def.'s Facts PP 35, 38, 41). Hispanics United's goal is "to promote educational, spiritual, social, political, economic and cultural progress of all people, and particularly the Hispanic community of DuPage County." (Org. Pl.'s Facts P 37). Its normal activities include organizing youth sporting events, neighborhood clean-ups, community celebrations, homework assistance, and educational programs. (Id.). Rita Gonzalez, the President of Hispanics United, has met with many Hispanic people living in Addison in order to educate them about their housing rights and responsibilities. (Org. Pl.'s Facts P 36).

 In connection with the TIF districts, Gonzalez has "worked with individuals . . . to help them cope with the uncertainty surrounding the future of their homes and the fear of being displaced, " (Id.; Gonzalez Aff., Org. Pl.'s Exhibit A at PP 7, 10, 24), and has "negotiated with representatives of the Village concerning the fate of the individuals who were dislocated, or who were in danger of being dislocated in the future, as a result of the Defendant's actions." (Id.; Pelayo Dep., Org. Pl.'s Exhibit B at 5-27, 69-70, 131-39; Gonzalez Aff., Org. Pl.'s Exhibit A at PP 8-9, 20; Letter from Joseph Block to Jane Taylor, Org. Pl.'s Exhibit C at 1). Because Hispanics United has many members who reside in the TIF districts and because it is involved in the Addison community as a whole, it claims direct injury from the defendant's conduct and believes it has had "no choice but to become involved in this matter." (Org. Pl.'s Facts P 37; Gonzalez Aff., Org. Pl.'s Exhibit A at PP 7-25).

 Hispanic Council is an organization that represents Hispanic individuals in DuPage, Kane and Cook Counties and seeks to "eliminate prejudice, discrimination, and community deterioration." (Org. Pl.'s Facts P 40). The Council responded to the TIF districts by "initiating a victim localization project to determine who had been dislocated, and, if possible, to assist those people in finding suitable replacement housing." (Org. Pl.'s Facts P 39). Luis Pelayo, the organization's President, tracked the TIF proposals in the newspapers, studied legal texts and wrote editorials about the project. (Pelayo Aff., Org. Pl.'s Exhibit E at PP 7-8). He also met with Village representatives to discuss relocation assistance for those who would be dislocated by the redevelopment plan. (Id.). Like Hispanics United, Hispanic Council has many members who reside in Addison and in the two TIF districts, (Org. Pl.'s Facts P 40), and Hispanic Council claims direct injury as a consequence of the defendant's conduct. (Id.).

 The Leadership Council's goal is "to replace discrimination and segregation with an open housing market, an essential component of a thriving regional economy." (Org. Pl.'s Facts P 43). Hispanics United requested the assistance and expertise of the Leadership Council in evaluating the TIF districts and their impact on fair housing. (Id.; see also Gonzalez Aff., Org. Pl.'s Exhibit A, at PP 17-18; Pennick Aff., Org. Pl.'s Exhibit G, at PP 5-8). Although the Leadership Council has no members who reside in the TIF districts, it worked with Hispanics United and Hispanic Council to negotiate with the defendant and assist potentially dislocated individuals. (Org. Pl.'s Facts P 42). Alleging that the defendant's conduct infringed upon its mission of open housing and its ability to provide housing counseling, referrals and industry initiative programs, the Leadership Council claims it was directly injured by the defendant. (Org. Pl.'s Facts P 43; Pennick Aff., Org. Pl.'s Exhibit G, at PP 4, 17).

 The defendant moves for summary judgment, arguing that the Contis, the Husbys, the Cagles, Rivera and the organizational plaintiffs lack standing. Accordingly, the defendant requests that the plaintiff class be redefined to exclude plaintiffs who are not residents of the TIF districts or who otherwise lack standing. Finally, the defendant asks the Court to dismiss the plaintiffs' request for punitive damages and civil penalties.

 ANALYSIS

 I. Summary Judgment Standards

 Summary judgment is proper only if the record shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). A genuine issue for trial exists only when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). The court must view all evidence in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party, Valley Liquors, Inc. v. Renfield Importers, Ltd., 822 F.2d 656, 659 (7th Cir. 1987), and draw all reasonable inferences in the nonmovant's favor. Santiago v. Lane, 894 F.2d 218, 221 (7th Cir. 1990). However, if the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 249-50; Flip Side Productions, Inc. v. Jam Productions, Ltd., 843 F.2d 1024, 1032 (7th Cir. 1988).

 In determining whether a genuine issue exists, the court "must view the evidence presented through the prism of the substantive evidentiary burden." Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 254. In making its determination, the court's sole function is to decide whether sufficient evidence exists to support a verdict in the nonmovant's favor. Credibility determinations, weighing evidence, and drawing reasonable inferences are jury functions, not those of a judge when deciding a motion for summary judgment. Id. at 255. Finally, we note that mere conclusory assertions, unsupported by specific facts, made in affidavits opposing a motion for summary judgment, are not sufficient to defeat the motion. See Lujan v. National Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 888, 111 L. Ed. 2d 695, 110 S. Ct. 3177 (1990) ("The object of [Rule 56(e)] is not to replace conclusory allegations of an affidavit."); First Commodity Traders, Inc. v. Heinold Commodities, Inc., 766 F.2d 1007, 1011 (7th Cir. 1985) ("Conclusory statements in affidavits opposing a motion for summary judgment are not sufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact."); see also Jones v. Merchants Nat'l Bank & Trust Co., 42 F.3d 1054, 1058 (7th Cir. 1994) ("Self-serving assertions without factual support in the record will not defeat a motion for summary judgment.").

 II. Standing

 Federal courts are limited by Article III, § 2 of the Constitution to deciding "Cases" or "Controversies." Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona, 117 S. Ct. 1055, 137 L. Ed. 2d 170, 1997 U.S. LEXIS 1455 (1997). A component of this requirement is that parties before federal courts must have standing to sue. Id. Standing has been defined by the Supreme Court to include three elements. First, the plaintiff must suffer from an "injury in fact." Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560, 119 L. Ed. 2d 351, 112 S. Ct. 2130 (1992). The Supreme Court recently elaborated on this element in the Arizonans case:

 
To qualify as a party with standing to litigate, a person must show, first and foremost, "an invasion of a legally protected interest" that is "concrete and particularized" and "actual or imminent." An interest shared generally with the public at large in ...

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