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CABRINI-GREEN L. ADVISORY COUNCIL v. CHICAGO HOUSING AUTH.

January 5, 2005.

CABRINI-GREEN LOCAL ADVISORY COUNCIL, LOUISE GATES, YVONNE CLAY, VERONICA CAMPBELL, SARAH HAYNES, ANTHONY COMMON, RAMONA LEE, and VERONICA MARSHALL, Plaintiffs,
v.
CHICAGO HOUSING AUTHORITY and TERRY PETERSON, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAM J. HIBBLER, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss Counts I through V and VII of the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), and Counts II through VI pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Defendants also move the Court to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' state law claims, Counts VII and VIII. Finally, Defendants move for dismissal of Terry Peterson as a defendant. For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

Background

  Plaintiffs, Cabrini-Green Local Advisory Committee (hereinafter "LAC")*fn1 together with seven residents of the Cabrini-Green public housing development (hereinafter "Cabrini"), filed an eight-count complaint against Defendants, Chicago Housing Authority (hereinafter "CHA") and Terry Peterson, Chief Executive Officer of the CHA, regarding the CHA's decision to demolish fifteen buildings known as Cabrini Extension South and Cabrini Row Houses (collectively "Designated Buildings") and replace them with mixed-income housing. This lawsuit revolves around what will happen to the current residents when the Designated Buildings are demolished.

  Counts I through VI are brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants' relocation practices unlawfully exacerbate and perpetuate residential housing segregation in violation of the Fair Housing Act ("FHA"), 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (Count I); FHA Regulations, 42 U.S.C. § 3608(e)5, 24 C.F.R. §§ 960.103(b), 903.7(o)(I) (Count II); Executive Orders 11063 and 12892 (Count III); Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d, and regulations 24 C.F.R. §§ 1.4(b)(1), (6) (Count IV); Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act ("QHWRA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1437c-1(d)(15) (Count V), and the Illinois Civil Rights Act, 740 ILL. COMP. ST. 23/5(a) (Count VII). Count VI alleges Defendants' failure to consult Plaintiffs regarding demolition and relocation plans and failure to develop a conversion plan violates § 202 of the Omnibus Consolidated Rescission and Appropriations Acts ("OCRA") of 1996, (Public Law 104-134; 110 Stat. 1321-279), and regulations 24 C.F.R. § 971.7(b), 971.9(a)-(c). Count VIII alleges Defendants' premature issuance of relocation notices violates the Relocation Rights Contract.

  Redevelopment of the Designated Buildings is part of the CHA's larger Plan for Transformation (hereinafter "Plan"). The Plan, which began in 2000, is a 10-year, $1.5 billion program intended to revitalize public housing in Chicago by tearing down failed developments and replacing them with mixed-income housing. As part of the Plan, the CHA entered into a Relocation Rights Contract (hereinafter "RRC") which applies to all persons who were CHA residents as of October 1, 1999. The RRC requires the CHA to provide various relocation services and requires that, prior to relocating any tenant, the CHA "will make a good faith effort to enter into a Redevelopment Agreement with the LAC that reflects any property specific understandings with respect to the redevelopment process." (Compl. ¶ 45). It also grants "families originally from the site first priority to rent one of the new or rehabilitated units." (Id. ¶ 46). The RRC is intended to make sure the overall redevelopment plan is acceptable to all parties and to minimize the disruption that would result from residents being forced to move prematurely.

  The CHA slated the Designated Buildings for closure in 2002 and 2003 because of high vacancy rates and extensive problems with the buildings' heating, plumbing, and electrical systems, among other things, which make them unsafe and nearly uninhabitable. Late in 2003, the parties met to discuss future plans for the Designated Buildings and allegedly agreed that the CHA would hire an urban planner to assist in creating a master redevelopment and relocation plan. Soon thereafter, Plaintiffs requested the CHA's written assurance that no buildings would be closed prior to completion of the master plan. No such assurance was forthcoming.

  In early 2004, the CHA contends that its representatives visited the Designated Buildings and spoke with some of the residents regarding its demolition plans. The CHA allegedly assured the residents that when the buildings were demolished, they would have a choice between remaining in public housing or moving to private housing using a Section 8 voucher. The process continued to move along and, shortly thereafter, the CHA and LAC chose an urban planner to begin work on a redevelopment plan. Then, on April 20, 2004, without consulting Plaintiffs and without a redevelopment plan in place, the CHA issued 180-day relocations notices to all residents of the Designated Buildings, which stated in part: "This letter is notice that the CHA is planning to demolish the building where you live. . . . In the next 180 days the [CHA] Relocation Department will work with you to move to another public housing apartment or to Section 8." (Compl. ¶ 68).

  The same day, the CHA informed the LAC that it would meet with them on April 22 to discuss relocation and redevelopment issues. At that meeting, the LAC objected to the notices as premature and requested that they be rescinded until a redevelopment plan was in place. The CHA ultimately refused to rescind the notices and moved forward with relocation plans by holding a series of six relocation fairs, where residents again allegedly were informed that "they could remain at Cabrini or go to a temporary Section 8 unit, and preserve their right to return to the new units being built at Cabrini." (Def. TRO Brief, Ex. F, ¶ 6). The CHA also allegedly informed residents that they could change their relocation choice at any time prior to their move. (Id.)

  On June 3, 2004, Plaintiffs filed suit to halt the redevelopment process until a detailed redevelopment and relocation plan was in place. Plaintiffs complain the 180-day relocation notices are premature in that even though the CHA may have promised residents that they could remain at Cabrini during the relocation process, the CHA had not yet identified units where the residents could live. Plaintiffs allege that six months is not enough time to identify and prepare enough temporary relocation units within Cabrini for all families who choose that option. (Pl. TRO Brief, Ex. D, p. 12). Nor, according to Plaintiffs, is six months enough time for families to qualify for or use a Section 8 voucher. (Id.) Thus, according to Plaintiffs, unless the 180-day term is tolled or withdrawn, residents will be forced to move out of Cabrini unnecessarily and will end up in racially segregated neighborhoods, with high levels of poverty, troubled schools, inadequate social services, and high crime. In support of this contention, Plaintiffs cite several studies based on the aftermath of the CHA's recent relocation practices, including the relocation of other Cabrini residents. (Compl. ¶¶ 79-81; Pl. TRO Brief, at 1 n. 4).

  Discussion

  I. Proper Parties

  As a preliminary matter, the Court will address issues raised regarding the LAC's right to sue under § 1983 and ...


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