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Micheal W. Gragg v. Park Ridge Mobile Home Court Llp

September 23, 2011

MICHEAL W. GRAGG, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PARK RIDGE MOBILE HOME COURT LLP, AND BRENDEN POTTS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sue E. Myerscough United States District Judge

E-FILED Monday, 26 September, 2011 03:12:30 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, U.S. District Judge:

This cause is before the Court on pro se Plaintiff Micheal W. Gragg's Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 15) and the Motion to Dismiss (d/e 16) filed by Defendants Park Ridge Mobile Home Court LLP and Brenden Potts. For the reasons that follow, the Motions are DENIED.

I. FACTS

Defendant Potts is the co-owner of Park Ridge Mobile Home Court in Springfield, Illinois. On or about September 1, 2010, Plaintiff and Park Ridge Mobile Home Court's manager, Joe Graves, entered into a lease agreement to rent a space at lot 30 of Park Ridge Mobile Home Court. Plaintiff, his wife, Tracy Gragg, and their two dogs, moved their mobile home onto lot 30.

A. Federal Court Proceedings

On November 30, 2010, Plaintiff filed a Complaint purportedly pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.) (ADA). The Complaint alleged that Plaintiff lived in a trailer located on property owned by Defendants. Plaintiff stated he was in the process of training a guide dog that lived with him. According to Plaintiff, Defendant Potts told Plaintiff he must get rid of the dog. Plaintiff further alleged the property was in disrepair-- specifically that a "very bad sewer smell" was coming from the pipes. Plaintiff alleged Defendants served upon him a 5-day eviction notice and threatened Plaintiff with a 30-day eviction notice.

On December 6, 2010, the Court interpreted Plaintiff's Complaint as alleging that he was being discriminated against (with respect to both the attempted eviction and repairs) and harassed because of the guide dog. The Court further noted that although Plaintiff cited the ADA, it appeared he was instead making a claim pursuant to the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (42 U.S.C. § 3601, et seq.) (FHAA). The Court found, however, that Plaintiff failed to allege he was disabled or that the guide-dog-in-training was being used by Plaintiff as an aid. Therefore, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint "that would specify the disability or handicap that he is living with."

On December 13, 2010, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint. Plaintiff alleged he suffered from glaucoma, was blind in his left eye, and suffered from night blindness. Plaintiff alleged Defendant Potts was aware Plaintiff was visually impaired.

Plaintiff also provided additional facts in his Amended Complaint. According to Plaintiff, on October 15, 2010, Defendant Potts approached Plaintiff and asked him how many dogs he had. Plaintiff told Defendant Potts he had the two small dogs that Defendant Potts knew about and the service dog. Defendant Potts told Plaintiff "that dog needs to go."

On November 2, 2010, Defendant Potts asked Plaintiff for the lot rent. Plaintiff told Defendant Potts he had part of it. Plaintiff also complained to Defendant Potts about the sewer leak in the pipes, to which Defendant Potts responded, "if people would pay my lot rent I could do things."

On November 19, 2010, Defendant Potts again asked Plaintiff about the lot rent, which totaled $200. Tracy, Plaintiff's wife, asked Defendant Potts about the sewer smell. Defendant Potts then "started back on the dog" and "threatened [Plaintiff] in a hostile manner." Defendant Potts told Plaintiff he was going to evict Plaintiff not for the back rent but for the dog.

Defendant Potts had someone serve Tracy with a 5-day eviction. notice Plaintiff alleged that after he paid the rent, management went to the trailer telling them to sign a piece of paper saying they violated park rules because of the guide dog. Plaintiff and his wife refused to sign it. Thereafter, Defendant Potts "put in a 30[-]day notice to evict [Plaintiff and Tracy]."

Plaintiff further alleged that Defendant Potts had people stalking Plaintiff and Tracy and entering their trailer when they were not home. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Potts turned off the gas and water to Plaintiff's home. Plaintiff also alleged Defendant Potts tried to hit Plaintiff and Plaintiff's friends, Stewart Alexander and Susan Martin, with Defendant Potts' truck. Plaintiff sought $27,000 and a written apology.

B. State Court Proceedings

On December 9, 2010, R and R Real Estate Services, LLC*fn1 , filed a Forcible Entry and Detainer action against Plaintiff and Tracy. On December 13, 2010, the Graggs filed a counterclaim. In their counterclaim, the Graggs asserted that "the reason why Park Ridge is [d]oing all this" was because Defendant Potts wanted the Graggs to sign a document stating they broke park rules but the Graggs refused. The Graggs asserted they did not break park rules because the dog was being trained as a guide dog. The Graggs also complained about (1) Defendant Potts harassing them and (2) the bad sewer leak Defendant Potts refused to fix. According to Defendants, Plaintiff filed the federal court Amended Complaint in the state court proceedings.

II. JURISDICTION AND VENUE

This Court has subject matter jurisdiction because Plaintiff's claims are based on federal law. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331 ("The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States"). Venue is proper because the events giving rise to the claim occurred in Sangamon County, Illinois. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) (a civil action where jurisdiction is not founded solely on diversity of citizenship may be brought in a judicial district where a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred).

III. ANALYSIS

Plaintiff has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment asserting the undisputed facts demonstrate Defendants discriminated against him in violation of the ADA. Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss asserting Plaintiff's claims--which Defendants construe as claims under the FHAA--are barred by (1) the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, (2) res judicata, and (3) the doctrine of unclean hands.

Because the parties dispute the nature of Plaintiff's claims, the Court must first determine whether Plaintiff is bringing a claim under the ADA or the FHAA. The Court will then address Defendants' Motion to Dismiss ...


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