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Dudley v. Fenton

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

August 5, 2016

KELLI DUDLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
ERNEST B. FENTON, LAW OFFICES OF ERNEST B. FENTON, P.C., WILLIAM MOORE, BRANDON LOGGINS, KENDALL ANDERSON, BRIAN SNYDER, AND CLARENCE BUTLER, Defendants.

          Kelli Dudley, Plaintiff, represented by Kelli A. Dudley, Law Office of Kelli Dudley.

          Ernest Fenton, Defendant, represented by Steven Michael Laduzinsky, Laduzinsky & Associates, P.C. & Conor Samuel Sickel, Laduzinsky & Associates, P.c..

          Law Office of Ernest B. Fenton, P.C., Defendant, represented by Steven Michael Laduzinsky, Laduzinsky & Associates, P.C. & Conor Samuel Sickel, Laduzinsky & Associates, P.c..

          Clarence Butler, Defendant, represented by Clarence Butler, Attorney at Law.

          Brandon Jathan Loggins, Defendant, represented by Andrew Finko.

          Kendall Lawrence Anderson, Sr., Defendant, Pro Se.

          Brian Snyder, Defendant, represented by Steven Michael Laduzinsky, Laduzinsky & Associates, P.C. & Conor Samuel Sickel, Laduzinsky & Associates, P.c..

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JAMES B. ZAGEL, District Judge.

         Plaintiff Kelli Dudley brings this action against Defendants Ernest B. Fenton, the Law Offices of Ernest B. Fenton, William Moore, Brandon Loggins, Kendall Anderson, Brian Snyder, and Clarence Butler (collectively, "Defendants") alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq (the "FHA"). Specifically, Dudley alleges that Defendants retaliated, intimidated, and interfered with her for exercising her rights under the FHA.

         Currently before me are several motions to dismiss under rule 12(b)(6), separately filed by each of the Defendants. For the following reasons, Defendants' motions are granted.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Kelli Dudley is a Chicago attorney who specializes in assisting clients with foreclosures through her Resistance Legal Clinic. Defendants are a law office, individual lawyers who work or previously worked at that office who perform the same function, or individual lawyers hired by the law office to assist with performing those functions.

         Tonya Davis is an African-American woman who retained Ernest B. Fenton and his law firm, the Law Offices of Ernest B. Fenton, in 2010 to represent her in a home foreclosure proceeding. Despite paying thousands of dollars, Davis alleged that Fenton and his law firm did absolutely nothing to help her keep her home. After losing her home, Davis sued Fenton and his law firm in 2013 and hired Kelli Dudley to represent her. This 2013 lawsuit will be referred to as the "Federal Action" and the defendants in this suit, the "Fenton Defendants." In the Federal Action, Davis claimed that the Fenton Defendants violated several state laws with their inadequate representation and that they also violated the FHA as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1982, by targeting her for inferior service based on her race.

         As the Federal Action progressed, relations between parties moved from adversarial to antagonistic. The Fenton Defendants filed sanctions against Dudley, which Dudley claims was an act of retaliation for representing Davis. On July 13, 2013, the Fenton Defendants moved to stay litigation and compel arbitration before Judge Ruben Castillo of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. On the same day, the Fenton Defendants filed a state claim in the Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County against Dudley and Andrew Sidea, her co-counsel. This lawsuit will be called the "State Action." In the State Action, the Fenton Defendants sought damages and injunctive relief, alleging Dudley had damaged them by unlawfully accessing and using privileged information, as well as making slanderous statements that damaged their professional reputations, leading to a loss of business. ...


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