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THOMAS v. CHICAGO HOUS. AUTH.

October 9, 1997

DOROTHY J. THOMAS, Plaintiff,
v.
CHICAGO HOUSING AUTHORITY, a municipal corporation, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BUCKLO

 Plaintiff, Dorothy J. Thomas, has filed suit against the Chicago Housing Authority ("CHA"), a state housing authority. The CHA has filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, the motion to dismiss 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." The CHA manages public housing in the City of Chicago. The CHA is subsidized by the federal government and must comply with federal regulations under the United States Housing Act. 42 U.S.C. § 1437 et seq. Ms. Thomas makes numerous allegations in her complaint. *fn1" Count I of the complaint alleges that the CHA fraudulently overcharged Ms. Thomas for rent. Count II alleges the CHA rented Ms. Thomas an unsafe and unsanitary apartment in 1990.

 Count III alleges that Ms. Thomas was assaulted by another CHA resident, but that after the assault the CHA refused to take any steps to discipline or evict her attacker. Count III further alleges a CHA security guard almost caused Ms. Thomas to be falsely arrested and that the CHA violated federal law by bringing an improper forcible entry and detainer action (eviction) against Ms. Thomas. Count IV alleges the CHA has denied Ms. Thomas access to common rooms for volunteer group meetings. Count V realleges that the CHA violated federal law by bringing an improper forcible entry and detainer action against Ms. Thomas. Count VI appears to allege the CHA is demolishing Cabrini-Green buildings in violation of federal law. Count VI also alleges that HUD and the CHA conspired to overcharge public housing residents rent. *fn2"

 Intermittently throughout Ms. Thomas' complaint she cites 42 U.S.C. §§ 1437 et. seq. ; 12 U.S.C. § 1701 et. seq. ; 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983; 42 U.S.C. §§ 1985(3); and the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth 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. Ms. Thomas seeks $ 1,000,000.00 in compensatory damages, $ 5,000,000.00 in punitive damages, attorney fees, and her alleged rent overcharge.

 Ms. Thomas alleges that, by being charged 25% to 30% of her monthly income, she is being charged a monthly rent that exceeds the statutory limit. Ms. Thomas argues she should only have to pay 10% of her "very low income." 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 housing costs, the portion of such payment which is so designated.

 42 U.S.C. § 1437a(a)(1).

 The plain language of the statute indicates that if sub-section (c) does not apply, the higher rate calculated under sub-section (a) or (b) is the maximum rent allowed. Ms. Thomas admits that her rent has been set at 25-30 percent of her adjusted income. *fn4" The rent she is paying therefore clearly falls within the guidelines provided under Section ...


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