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Curtis Jackson, Sr v. the Renaissance Collaborative

February 16, 2012

CURTIS JACKSON, SR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE RENAISSANCE COLLABORATIVE, INC., PATRICIA ABRAMS, TIFFANY SLEDGE, PRISCILLA FOSTER, AND DENISE RANKIN, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Blanche M. Manning United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Pursuant to the Rehabilitation and Fair Housing Acts, pro se plaintiff Curtis Jackson seeks monetary and injunctive relief from the Renaissance Collaborative (a non-profit organization that provides housing and support to homeless and disabled individuals) and four of its employees. According to Mr. Jackson, Renaissance denied him housing because he was disabled and its employees attempted to extort him for their own personal gain. The defendants' motion for summary judgment is before the court. Mr. Jackson also has filed a motion to reconsider the magistrate judge's order striking Mr. Jackson's motion to compel discovery responses based on his failure to notice the motion for presentment. For the following reasons, the defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted in its entirety and Mr. Jackson's motion to reconsider is denied.

I. Background

The following facts are drawn from the parties' submissions. As Mr. Jackson is proceeding pro se, the court has construed his filings generously, as it has done throughout the entire pendency of this case.

A. The Renaissance Apartment Program

The Renaissance Apartment Program provides 101 single room units for disabled, homeless adults. On site supportive services at the Apartment Program include employment education and training, job readiness, employment referrals and retention training, health and wellness support, and life skills coaching. In the Fall of 2009, Mr. Jackson sought to obtain housing through the Apartment Program.

To qualify for housing with the program, applicants must, among other things, be chronically homeless. The "chronic" part of this requirement refers to an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has been continuously homeless for at least one year or has had at least four instances of homelessness in the past three years. The "homeless" part refers to being on the streets or in an emergency shelter. Transitional housing does not qualify. "Disabling condition" means a diagnosable substance abuse disorder, serious mental illness, developmental disability, or a chronic physical illness or disability, including the co-occurrence of two or more of these conditions. Proof of documented homelessness and disability is required to complete an application for housing.

B. Mr. Jackson's Application

Defendant Denise Rankin is Renaissance's property manager and defendant Priscilla Foster is the health and wellness manager. On November 11, 2009, Ms. Rankin and Ms. Foster met with Mr. Jackson as part of his application process. According to Ms. Rankin and Ms. Foster, Mr. Jackson did not provide personal references and adequate proof of chronic homelessness. Thus, they believed he was not eligible for the program. In his third amended complaint, however, Mr. Jackson alleges that he gave Ms. Rankin a "Chicago Department of Family & Support Services Supportive Housing Program Homeless Verification Form" dated November 10, 2009, stating that he had been homeless for two years. Third Amended Complaint, Dkt. 47, at p.6, Page ID#171.

Mr. Jackson asserts that he is obese, has bi-polar disorder, impaired mobility, a left shoulder that dislocates, and hypertension, and suffers from migraines, allergic rhinitis, and sinusitis. According to Mr. Jackson, during his interview, Ms. Rankin and Ms. Foster intimated that they would not process his application without a bribe because they knew he had some money from receiving Social Security benefits. Id. at pp.2, 4, Page ID#167, 169. In addition, he contends that when they met, Ms. Rankin told him his problems were such that he "need[s] to be in an old folks home" and called him "pitiful" for having bi-polar disorder. Id. at pp.3-4, Page ID#168-169.

Following the meeting, Ms. Rankin completed the form letter Renaissance sends to applicants who do not meet the program's requirements or are ineligible by checking off the sections of the form indicating that Mr. Jackson had failed to provide personal references and adequate proof of chronic homelessness. The letter advises applicants that they may seek review of the decision by sending a letter within 14 days. Mr. Jackson received the letter on or about November 22 or 23, 2009. He submitted a request for review. Renaissance asserts that the request was misplaced due to a clerical error. Mr. Jackson followed up by calling defendant Patricia Abrams, Renaissance's Executive Director, on December 22, 2009. She offered him an opportunity for review. In response, Mr. Jackson said, "This is not right; I did what I was asked to do." Dkt. 47 at p.7, Page ID#172. Following his interview, Mr. Jackson did not supplement his application with the additional documentation requested in Renaissance's letter.

C. Mr. Jackson's Federal Claims

Mr. Jackson filed a federal lawsuit in July of 2010 asserting claims under § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, and the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3631.*fn1 The parties pursued discovery. As noted above, this court and the assigned magistrate judge have given Mr. Jackson wide latitude and construed all of his filings generously as he is proceeding pro se. The defendants' motion for summary judgment is before the court. The court notes that ...


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