United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
August 22, 2005.
WILLIE BURRELL, et al., Plaintiffs,
CHICAGO HOUSING AUTHORITY, et al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: BLANCHE MANNING, District Judge
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiffs Willie Burrell ("Burrell"), the Dorothy Gautreaux
Northeast Scattered Site Local Advisory Council ("Advisory
Council"), and the Northeast Scattered Site Resident Management
Corporation ("Management Corporation") contend that federal and
local authorities have engaged in a longstanding pattern of
discrimination in the provision and administration of public
housing units in Chicago. Burrell filed a pro se complaint on
behalf of all the plaintiffs alleging racial discrimination
pursuant to the Federal Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601, et
seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The court appointed counsel for
Burrell and subsequently denied counsel's motion to withdraw. The
defendants seek to dismiss Burrell's complaint, alleging that he
lacks standing or his claims fail on the merits. For the
following reasons, the motions to dismiss are granted.
The following facts are deemed true for the purpose of the
defendants' motion to dismiss. Burrell is African-American and a
resident of the Chicago Housing Authority ("CHA") development
known as the Dorothy Gautreaux Northeast Scattered Sites
("DGNESS"). Burrell is the President of the Advisory Council and
the Management Corporation. Since 1992, the Management Corporation has repeatedly requested
office space from the CHA and United States Department of Housing
and Urban Development ("HUD"). Likewise, since 1995, the Advisory
Council has repeatedly asked the CHA and HUD for office space.
However, the CHA and HUD have routinely denied these requests.
The plaintiffs allege racial discrimination as the reason for the
defendants' denial of office space. Moreover, the plaintiffs
claim that defendants Housing Resource Center ("HRC"), Jane Adams
Hull House Association ("HHA"), Alderman Shiller ("Shiller"), and
Alexander Polikoff ("Polikoff") have directed or supported CHA
and HUD's allegedly discriminatory denials.
On June 24, 1995, the Management Corporation held a meeting
with HUD Assistant Secretary Joseph Shuldiner to request office
space, a memorandum of understanding, and a dual management
contract with CHA. Defendant Shiller allegedly stood in front of
HUD Secretary Joseph Shuldiner for ten minutes to delay
Shuldiner's arrival at the meeting. Moreover, Shiller has
allegedly used her office to influence decisions related to the
activities and management of the DGNESS.
Despite the delay, the Management Corporation negotiated a
contract to manage the DGNESS. However, HRC and HHA maintenance
persons allegedly told DGNESS residents that the Management
Corporation intended to discriminate against Hispanic residents.
HRC subsequently released a newsletter which, contrary to the
Management Corporation's intentions, claimed that the Management
Corporation planned to hire a company to manage the DGNESS.
Defendants CHA, HRC, and HHA have allegedly solicited,
processed, and approved tenant applications based on race. In one
particular incident, HHA, HRC and CHA allegedly discarded
approximately 4600 tenancy applications filed primarily by
African-Americans. The defendants have failed to inform African-American residents of
their rights to transfer to a Scattered Site unit, in opposition
to the Gautreaux Tenant Assignment Plan Addendum approved on July
12, 1989. Since 1994, HRC and HHA have allegedly labored to
prevent African-American residents from transferring into the
DGNESS, leaving African-American residents in areas of high crime
and poverty. Moreover, HRC has allegedly begun to withdraw
maintenance services to public housing units in census tracks
primarily occupied by African-American residents.
The plaintiffs' complaint asserts that the defendants have
engaged in racial discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing
Act and the Civil Rights Act, committed torts against the
plaintiffs, and generally discriminated against African-American
residents of public housing.
A. Claims Brought by Plaintiffs Management Corporation and
Complaints brought by an organization or corporation must be
signed by a person representing the parties. Fed.R.Civ.P.
11(a). Although individuals may represent themselves pro se,
corporations and organizations must be represented by a lawyer.
Navin v. Park Ridge Sch. Dist. 64, 270 F.3d 1147, 1149 (7th
Cir. 2001) (a non-lawyer cannot prosecute a suit on behalf of
another); Scandia Down Corp. v. Euroquilt, Inc., 772 F.2d 1423,
1427 (7th Cir. 1985) ("A `corporation' is an abstraction, and
abstractions cannot appear pro se").
Here, Burrell has signed the complaint on behalf of all three
plaintiffs, two of whom are organizations. Burrell may pursue a
claim on his own behalf, but he is not an attorney and thus may
not pursue claims on behalf of the remaining plaintiffs.
Therefore, the court must either appoint council for plaintiffs Advisory Council and Management
Corporation or dismiss their claims.
Civil litigants do not have a right, either constitutional or
statutory, to counsel. Zarnes v. Rhodes, 64 F.3d 285, 288 (7th
Cir. 1995). The court may nevertheless, in the exercise of its
discretion, request counsel to represent indigents in appropriate
cases. Id. A litigant who seeks appointment of counsel must
first, as a threshold matter, make a reasonable attempt to secure
private counsel. Id. If a litigant satisfies this burden, the
court should consider the following nonexhaustive list of
factors: "(1) the merits of the plaintiff's claims; (2) whether
the plaintiff can investigate crucial facts; (3) whether trained
counsel will better expose the truth; (4) the plaintiff's ability
to present the case; and (5) the complexity of the relevant legal
issues." Id. In essence, this inquiry boils down to the simple
question, "given the difficulty of the case, [does] the plaintiff
appear to be competent to try it himself and, if not, would the
presence of counsel [make] a difference in the outcome?" Id.
As organizations without representation, plaintiffs Advisory
Council and Management Corporation are incapable of trying this
case. Nevertheless, the court believes that appointing counsel
will not affect the disposition of the claims brought by the
organizational plaintiffs. The Management Corporation asserts
that it has a right to training, office space, and rental
management opportunities, while the Advisory Council seeks the
right to participate in meetings with the CHA and enter into an
agreement with the CHA regarding relocation and other issues
concerning the CHA Plan for Transformation, which is grounded in
the CHA Relocation Rights Contract. In support of its claims, the Management Corporation directs
the court's attention to 24 C.F.R. § 964.15, which provides that:
It is HUD's policy to encourage resident management.
HUD encourages HAs, resident councils and resident
management corporations to explore the various
functions involved in management to identify
appropriate opportunities for contracting with a
resident management corporation. Potential benefits
of resident-managed entities include improved quality
of life, experiencing the dignity of meaningful work,
enabling residents to choose where they want to live,
and meaningful participation in the management of the
The Supreme Court, however, has held that a regulation only
creates an enforceable right if its language unambiguously
confers a specific, enforceable right upon its beneficiaries.
See Suter v. Artist M., 503 U.S. 347, 362-63 (1992). Section
964.15 expresses HUD's policy of encouraging resident management,
but does not create a right for the Management Corporation to
control any aspects of resident management. Any claim based on
the policy statement in § 964.15 must, therefore, fail. See
Perry v. Housing Authority of the City of Charleston,
664 F.2d 1210
, 1217 (4th Cir. 1981) (policy statements do not create
legally cognizable rights to tenants of programs funded under the
With respect to the Advisory Council's claims, the CHA
Relocation Rights Contract runs between the CHA and CHA
leaseholders and only applies when leaseholders face relocation.
The Advisory Council is obviously not a leaseholder who is facing
relocation so it does not have standing to raise claims arising
under the CHA Relocation Rights Contract.
In addition, the Advisory Council has offices at 4429 North
Clifford. Burrell contends that the defendants were obligated to
provide the Advisory Council with additional office space on the
second floor of 4429 South Clifford. In support, Burrell directs
the court's attention to a HUD policy that encourages but does
not require housing authorities to provide office space to a duly recognized resident council. See 24 C.F.R. 964.18 ("If
requested, a Housing Authority should provide a duly recognized
Resident Council office space and meeting facilities. . . .").
The Advisory Council is not a resident council, so even if the
policy was mandatory, it would still be inapplicable.
Accordingly, regardless of whether the Management Corporation
and the Advisory Council have counsel, therefore, they would
either be unable to state a claim or lack standing. Accordingly,
the court declines to appoint counsel for them and dismisses
their claims with prejudice.
B. Claims Against HUD
HUD contends that the court lacks jurisdiction over the claims
against it under the Fair Housing Act and 28 U.S.C. §§ 1343,
1343, 1331, and 1367.
1. The Fair Housing Act and Title VI
In August of 2001, Burrell submitted an administrative Fair
Housing Act complaint to HUD's office of Fair Housing and Equal
Opportunity in Chicago. In his complaint, Burrell raised a number
of alleged Fair Housing Act violations, including tenanting
violations (e.g., claims based on the assignment of tenants to
particular CHA units). HUD conducted a compliance review and
ruled against Burrell. It then advised Burrell that if he was
dissatisfied, he could seek relief by seeking to intervene in
Gautreaux v. Chicago Housing Authority, No. 66 C 1459 (N.D.
Ill.), a class action case pending before Judge Aspen and
concerning racial discrimination in the location and tenanting of
public housing that resulted in segregated public housing in
Chicago. HUD contends that the Fair Housing Act does not provide a basis
for an express or implied private right of action against HUD.
All of the defendants contend that to the extent that Burrell is
attempting to raise a tenanting claim, he must do so by pursing
relief in the Gautreaux case. Burrell concedes that the Fair
Housing Act does not allow for a private right of action against
HUD and notes that he is not pursuing such a claim. He then
contends that a private right of action exists which allows him
to sue HUD for violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
Section 601 of Title VI provides that no person shall, "on the
ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from
participation in, be denied that benefits of, or be subjected to
discrimination." 42 U.S.C. § 2000(d), et seq. Private
individuals who assert that they were victims of intentional
discrimination may sue under Title VI for injunctive relief and
damages. Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275, 279-80 (2001).
Claims of negligent discrimination, however, are not actionable
under Title VI. See id.; see also Alexander v. Choate,
469 U.S. 287, 293 (1985) ("Title VI itself directly reach[es] only
instances of intentional discrimination").
Here, Burrell appears to be alleging that HUD discriminated
against him by failing to enforce federal anti-discrimination
laws when it knew, or should have known, about CHA's alleged
racial discrimination. Burrell's fourteen-page, single-spaced
complaint, however, does not specifically contend that HUD
engaged in intentional, as opposed to negligent, discrimination.
Accordingly, the Title VI claims are dismissed without prejudice.
To the extent that Burrell is attempting to raise a tenanting
claim, the court notes that it agrees with the defendants that
any such claim would be properly raised in the Gautreaux case,
as the Gautreaux court approved a tenanting assignment plan and
has been overseeing it for many years. In other words, any claim
that the Gautreaux court's orders have been violated is not properly before this court. Moreover, since Gautreaux is a
class action, Burrell can either bring his issues to the
attention of the counsel in the Gautreaux case or seek to
intervene. Pursuing relief in the Gautreaux case would serve
the interests of justice as well as judicial economy. Thus, to
the extent that Burrell is attempting to raise a tenanting claim,
it is dismissed without prejudice.
2. § 1343
Burrell also asserts that jurisdiction as to HUD is proper
under 28 U.S.C. § 1343(a)(3). That section provides that district
courts shall have original jurisdiction over civil actions "[t]o
redress the deprivation, under color of any State law, status,
ordinance, regulation, custom or usage, of any right, privilege,
or immunity secured by the Constitution of the United States or
by any Act of Congress providing for equal rights of citizens or
of all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States."
In its motion to dismiss, HUD asserts that Burrell's complaint
fails to allege that HUD acted under color of state law. In his
response, Burrell asserts that HUD engaged in state action
because it acted "with and through the state and local public
housing authorities to unfairly deprive [him] of his guaranteed
right to non-discriminatory, equal housing." Response at 8. The
court agrees with HUD that this allegation does not amount to a
claim that HUD acted under color of a specific state law. See
Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 155-57 (1978) ("under color
of state law" element requires the plaintiff to show that the
defendant deprived him of a right while acting pursuant to a
state statute); see also Resident Council of Allen Parkway
Village v. U.S. Dept. of Housing, 980 F.2d 1043. 1050 (5th Cir.
1993). Thus, Burrell's claim for relief under § 1343 is dismissed
without prejudice. 3. § 1367 Moving to Work
Burrell also asks the court to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1367 over any claims which are
resolved using state law. Although his complaint does not
specifically raise any state law claims, some of the defendants
argue that Burrell's claims regarding an alleged breach of the
Moving to Work agreement ("MWA") arise under state law. First and
foremost, Burrell has not, as of this moment, successfully
established that the court can exercise original jurisdiction
over any of his claims. In any event, Burrell lacks standing to
raise any such claims.
Specifically, Burrell claims that the defendants violated the
MWA by failing to follow an agreement between HUD and CHA
requiring the CHA to negotiate in good faith with the Central
Advisory Council of CHA tenants to protect the rights of
transferred tenants. See Wallace v. Chicago Housing Authority,
298 F.Supp.2d 710, 715 (N.D. Ill. 2003). Because Burrell has not
alleged that he is a member of the Central Advisory Council, that
he has been transferred by the CHA, or alleged that the alleged
breach injured him, he cannot bring a claim under the MWA, so the
MWA claims are dismissed without prejudice.
4. Tort Claims Against HUD
Burrell's complaint repeatedly states that HUD engaged in
intentional and malicious conduct. Burrell's counsel concedes
that this is a housing discrimination case, and that Burrell
whose pro se complaint is before the court is not trying to
plead tort claims against HUD. The court will thus not address
HUD's arguments regarding the preemptive effect of the Federal
Tort Claims Act. Insofar as Burrell seeks to state claims
sounding in tort against HUD, these claims are thus dismissed
with prejudice. C. Claims Against the CHA & Hull House Defendants
Defendants CHA, Terry Peterson (the CHA's chief operating
officer), Jane Adams Hull House Association, Clarence Wood (the
executive director for the Jane Adams Hull House Association),
and Alexander Polikoff (a supervisor with the Business and
Professional People for the Public Interest and counsel in the
Gautreaux litigation) have filed a motion to dismiss under
Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) contending, among other things, that:
(1) Burrell's complaint fails to satisfy Rule 8 and fails to
plead any dates for the alleged wrongful conduct; (2) Burrell
lacks standing to raise many of the claims asserted in his
complaint; and (3) the remaining wrongs alleged in Burrell's
complaint fail to state a claim for which relief may be granted.
1. Rule 8
The CHA/Hull House defendants contend that Burrell's complaint
is incomprehensible and that the omission of key dates creates
substantial doubt as to Burrell's ability to avoid a statute of
limitations problem. The court agrees that Burrell's complaint is
not a model of clarity. Nevertheless, it is organized into
numbered paragraphs and the court was able to understand the gist
of Burrell's contentions. Moreover, Burrell drafted the complaint
pro se, despite the fact that he is currently represented by
counsel, and thus must be "held to less stringent standards than
those applied to complaints drafted by attorneys." Swoffford v.
Mandrell, 969 F.2d 547, 549 (7th Cir. 1992). The court thus
declines to strike the complaint under Rule 8.
With respect to the lack of dates in the complaint, the statute
of limitations is an affirmative defense, see Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(c), and "[c]omplaints need not anticipate or attempt to defuse
potential defenses." U.S. Gypsum Co. v. Indiana Gas Co.,
350 F.3d 623, 626 (7th Cir. 2003) (a "complaint states a claim on
which relief may be granted when it narrates an intelligible grievance that, if proved, shows a legal entitlement to relief"
and thus need not attempt to preempt potential affirmative
defenses). Dismissal may be appropriate, however, where "the
existence of a valid affirmative defense is so obvious from the
face of the complaint that the suit can be regarded as
frivolous." Walker v. Thompson, 288 F.3d 1005, 1010 (7th Cir.
Here, the CHA/Hull House defendants contend that there is
"substantial doubt" that Burrell's claims are timely, but devote
two sentences to their statute of limitations argument. They also
never definitively state that they believe that Burrell's claims
are time-barred. Because Burrell is not required to plead dates
in his complaint and at this stage in the proceedings, the court
cannot definitively find that the statute of limitation bars
Burrell's claims, the court declines to accept the CHA/Hull House
defendants' invitation to dismiss the complaint based on either
Rule 8 or the statute of limitations.
Under Article III of the Constitution, the court may only hear
cases involving present cases and controversies. See, e.g.,
Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separation
of Church and State, 454 U.S. 464, 471 (1982). The party
invoking federal jurisdiction has the burden of establishing
standing. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561
(1992). Burrell asserts that he has standing to raise claims that
the CHA/Hull House defendants: (1) discriminated against
African-Americans in public housing with respect to the
assignment of tenants in scattered site public housing; (2)
engaged in discriminatory maintenance practices; (3) breached the
Moving to Work Agreement (the court will not discuss this claim
further as it has already found that Burrell lacks standing to
raise this claim); and (4) caused him to suffer emotional
distress. a. Housing Discrimination Against African-Americans
Burrell first alleges that he has standing because the CHA/Hull
House defendants discriminated against African-Americans in
public housing with respect to the assignment of tenants in
scattered site public housing. In support, he points to the
allegations in his complaint asserting that African-American CHA
tenants have been the victims of various kinds of housing
discrimination. This misses the point; the question is whether
Burrell himself has personally suffered an injury, not whether he
belongs to a class of people which includes other individuals who
have allegedly been the victims of discrimination. See, e.g.,
Gladstone Realtors v. Village of Bellwood, 441 U.S. 91, 99
Burrell also directs the court's attention to his allegations
that the "[CHA/Hull House defendants] have implemented and/or
maintained policies and practices which have had a disparate
impact on [him]." Complaint at ¶ 38. Even under liberal notice
pleading standards, however, the allegations relating to
unspecified policies and practices do not put the defendants or
the court on notice of the general basis of Burrell's claims. The
court stresses that it is not imposing a fact-pleading
requirement on Burrell; it is simply requiring Burrell to provide
the minimal level of detail necessary for the court and the
defendants to understand the general contours of his claim.
In addition, Burrell contends that he has standing because the
CHA/Hull House defendants' assignment of African-Americans to
certain housing is "systemic, pervasive and institutional and has
had lasting damaging effect on [him]." Complaint at ¶ 55. Burrell
claims that this discriminatory practice has caused him to suffer
emotional distress. This claim is at odds with the Supreme Court
precedent requiring a plaintiff to suffer a direct injury above
and beyond his distress at seeing others allegedly fall victim to
discrimination. See Valley Forge, 454 U.S. at 485-86.
Accordingly, Burrell lacks standing to raise claims based on the
discriminatory housing practices allegedly targeted at
African-American CHA tenants.
b. Discriminatory Failure to Maintain
Burrell next claims that he has standing to bring claims based
on the CHA/Hull House defendants' alleged failure to maintain
public housing properly. In support, he points to allegations in
his complaint to the effect that some African-American residents
in some areas experienced withdrawal of maintenance services. As
noted above, Burrell has standing only if he personally suffered
an injury, so the allegation that other African-American CHA
tenants suffered an injury is not enough to create standing for
Burrell. See, e.g., Gladstone Realtors v. Village of Bellwood,
441 U.S. at 99.
Burrell also asks the court to presume that his general
allegations "embrace those specific facts that are necessary to
support [his] claim." Lujan, 504 U.S. at 561. Essentially,
Burrell would like the court to construe his allegations of
injury to African-American residents of public housing as
allegations of personal injury to him. Even using the generous
standards applicable to motions to dismiss, the court cannot
create allegations of a direct injury to Burrell when his
complaint does not contain any facts which would support such an
c. Burrell's Distress and Emotional Injury
Burrell next attempts to predicate standing based on emotional
injury. Specifically, he alleges that the CHA/Hull House
defendants' actions caused him to suffer acute anxiety,
embarrassment, humiliation, loss of self esteem and sense of
dignity, as well as emotional and mental distress. (Compl. ¶¶
126, 128.) "Psychological injury based on the observation of conduct with which one disagrees is insufficient" to create
standing. Doe, 41 F.3d at 1159; Valley Forge,
454 U.S. at 485-86 ("the psychological consequence presumably produced by
observation of conduct with which one disagrees" is "not an
injury sufficient to confer standing under Art. III, even though
the disagreement is phrased in constitutional terms"). Burrell's
alleged psychological injuries are thus not enough to create
3. Burrell's Remaining Claims Against the CHA/Hull House
Burrell asserts that the CHA and/or the Hull House defendants
violated the Relocation Rights Contract and the Quality Housing
and Work Responsibility Act. He also asserts claims against Terry
Peterson and Clarence Wood (officers of the CHA and Hull House,
respectively) in their official capacities.
In ruling on a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the
court must assume the truth of all facts alleged in the
complaint, construing the allegations liberally and viewing them
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See, e.g., McMath
v. City of Gary, 976 F.2d 1026, 1031 (7th Cir. 1992). Dismissal
is properly granted only if it is clear that no set of facts
which the plaintiff could prove consistent with the pleadings
would entitle the plaintiff to relief. Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). However, the court is neither bound by the
plaintiff's legal characterization of the facts, nor required to
ignore facts set forth in the complaint that undermine the
plaintiff's claims. Scott v. O'Grady, 975 F.2d 366, 368 (7th
Cir. 1992). b. The Relocation Rights Contract
As noted above, Burrell contends that the CHA defendants
violated the Relocation Rights Contract. This contract runs
between the CHA and all CHA tenants, and applies only when CHA
leaseholders face relocation by CHA. Wallace v. Chicago Housing
Authority, 298 F. Supp. 2d 710, 715 (N.D. Ill. 2003) ("This
contract establishes the temporary and permanent housing
relocation choices for CHA tenants whose buildings were slated
for demolition"). Burrell is the only plaintiff who holds a CHA
lease, and he does not allege that the CHA is attempting to
relocate him. Thus, Burrell cannot state a claim under the
Relocation Right Contract.
c. The Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act
Burrell also cites to the Quality Housing and Work
Responsibility Act ("QHWRA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1437c-1, in his
complaint. The CHA defendants correctly note that Burrell's
complaint and response to the motion to dismiss do not identify
any specific sections of this act which the defendants allegedly
violated. Moreover, even when reading Burrell's complaint
generously, the court has been unable to ascertain what portions
of QHWRA are at issue. Accordingly, Burrell's claims under QHWRA
d. Claims Against Peterson and Wood
The CHA/Hull House defendants contend that the claims against
Peterson and Wood should be dismissed since the CHA and Hull
House are already named as defendants. Specifically, the CHA/Hull
House defendants argue that claims against a public official in
his official capacity are simply suits against the public entity
itself. Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165 (1985) ("It is
not a suit against the official personally, for the real party in
interest is the entity"); However, it is appropriate to name both an agency and its
officers if equitable relief is sought from the organization,
because such relief is necessarily directed and carried out by
the officers in their official capacity. Whiting v. Marathon
County Sheriff's Dept., et al., 382 F.3d 700, 701 (7th Cir.
2004); Feir v. Ward, 886 F.2d 848, 858 (7th Cir. 1989). Burrell
requests various kinds of equitable relief, but the court has
dismissed all of these claims either with or without prejudice.
Accordingly, the claims against Peterson and Wood are dismissed
without prejudice. If Burrell elects to amend his complaint in an
effort to cure the deficiencies regarding his claims for
equitable relief, he may also replead the claims against Peterson
C. Claims Against Alderman Shiller
First, Burrell alleges that during a 1995 meeting, Shiller
allegedly prevented HUD Secretary Joseph Shuldiner from attending
a meeting with DGNESS. Even assuming that Shiller's alleged
attempt to delay Shuldiner's arrival to a meeting states a
colorable cause of action, this claim is clearly time-barred.
Specifically, the statute of limitations in Illinois for both §
1983 civil rights claims and claims arising under the Fair
Housing Act is two years. See, e.g., Clark v. City of
Braidwood, 318 F.3d 764, 766 (7th Cir. 2003) (§ 1983);
42 U.S.C. 3613(a)(1)(A) (Fair Housing Act); Village of Belwood v.
Dwivedi, 895 F.2d 1521, 1527 (7th Cir. 1990) (same).
Accordingly, Burrell's blocking the doorway claim is dismissed
Second, Burrell asserts that Shiller violated § 1983 by
improperly using her position as an alderman to influence
decisions related to the management and leasing of the DGNESS. In
support, he points to his allegations that Shiller: (1) used her
position as an alderman to unfairly exercise veto power over HUD
and CHA's decisions regarding rentals of certain Chicago public
housing units to prevent Burrell from receiving contracts to
manage these units; (2) was motivated to frustrate Burrell's efforts to obtain the right to
manage CHA property because Burrell is African-American; and (3)
has engaged in a pattern of intentional discrimination against
Burrell since 1995.
Section 1983, on its face, only allows plaintiffs to pursue
claims based on the alleged deprivation of constitutional rights.
Although the court has carefully studied Burrell's complaint, it
cannot ascertain what, if any, constitutional claims Burrell is
attempting to state as to Shiller. The remaining claims against
Shiller are, therefore, dismissed without prejudice.
For the reasons stated above, the motions to dismiss filed by
HUD [38-1], the CHA/Hull House defendants [33-1] and Shiller
[36-1] are granted. Burrell is granted leave to file an amended
complaint by September 23, 2005, consistent with this order and
counsel's Rule 11 obligations.
If Burrell's counsel do not feel that they can file an amended
complaint, they should file a motion to withdraw by September 23,
2005. (The court does not wish to imply that it believes that
such a motion would be appropriate. Instead, it is merely trying
to cover all of the potential scenarios that Burrell's counsel
may face). In addition, the court sincerely thanks Burrell's
appointed counsel and expresses its appreciation for the high
level of representation provided by the attorneys who have worked
on this action.
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