Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jessie Washington v. Kass Management Services

April 18, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge


Jessie Washington ("Washington") has brought suit against Kass Management Services ("Kass"), Chicago Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation ("Metropolitan Housing") and Chicago Housing Authority ("CHA"), seeking injunctive relief and damages under the Fair Housing Act ("FHA," 42 U.S.C. §§3601 to 3631) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act ("Section 504," 29 U.S.C. §794(a)). This opinion addresses CHA's motion for its dismissal as a defendant under the auspices of Fed. R. Civ. P. ("Rule") 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated hereafter, the motion is denied.

Rule 12(b)(6) Standard

Under Rule 12(b)(6) a party may move for dismissal of a complaint on the ground of "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 562-63 (2007) was the first case to repudiate, as overly broad, the half-century-old Rule 12(b)(6) formulation announced in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957) "that a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." And post-Twombly cases have further reshaped a new Rule 12(b)(6) standard.

First Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570 held that to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion a complaint must provide "only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Or put otherwise, "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right of relief above the speculative level" (id. at 555). Then Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007)(per curiam) and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009) provided further Supreme Court enlightenment on the issue.

Before Iqbal our Court of Appeals, in Airborne Beepers & Video, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 667 (7th Cir. 2007) described Twombly and Erickson as establishing "only that at some point the factual detail in a complaint may be so sketchy that the complaint does not provide the type of notice of the claim to which the defendant is entitled under Rule 8." And more recently Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009) has confirmed that the Airborne Beepers reading of pleading law post-Twombly and post-Erickson remains accurate after Iqbal. Brooks, id. at 581 describes Iqbal as "admonishing those plaintiffs who merely parrot the statutory language of the claims that they are pleading (something that anyone can do, regardless of what may be prompting the lawsuit), rather than providing some specific facts to ground those legal claims, that they must do more."

Familiar Rule 12(b)(6) principles--still operative under the new pleading regime--require the district court to accept as true all of Washington's well-pleaded factual allegations, with all reasonable inferences drawn in his favor (Christensen v. County of Boone, 483 F.3d 454, 457 (7th Cir. 2007)(per curiam)).*fn1

Factual Background

Washington resides in an apartment at 900 North Kingsbury in Chicago (¶2). Metropolitan Housing owns a number of units in the same building ("Domain Lofts"), including the one occupied by Washington (C. Mem. 2). Kass manages those units for Metropolitan Housing (id.)

CHA receives grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") to support public housing in Chicago (¶¶7-8). CHA in turn provides subsidies to entities such as Metropolitan Housing to provide such public housing (C. Mem. 2).

In December 2003 Metropolitan Housing entered into a Domain Lofts Regulatory and Operating Agreement ("Agreement," C. Mem. Ex. D) with CHA under which CHA agreed to provide Metropolitan Housing with annual public housing subsidies for 16 units atDomain Lofts (id.) Washington lives in one of those subsidized units (¶8).

In August 2007 Washington, after taking recently prescribed medication for depression, fell asleep while cooking a pork chop in a frying pan (¶¶14-20). While Washington was sleeping, the pork chop burned and the microwave above the stove was damaged (¶¶20-21). Washington was later served with a notice of termination, and an eviction action was then filed against him (¶¶22-23). Washington claims that the filing of the eviction action as well as subsequent refusals to provide reasonable accommodation for his condition of depression constitute discrimination and failure to accommodate under FHA and Section 5 (¶¶48-63).

Agency Relationship

CHA argues that because it has no principal-agent relationship with Metropolitan Housing, it cannot be held vicariously liable for any of the actions of Metropolitan Housing and its agents (C. Mem. 5). Washington ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.