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Kraszinski v. Rob Roy Country Club Village Association

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

July 19, 2018

CHRISTOPHER KRASZINSKI, Plaintiff,
v.
ROB ROY COUNTRY CLUB VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          John Robert Blakey United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Christopher Kraszinski sued Rob Roy Country Club Village Association, its board of directors, and its property manager, Rowell Property Management, Inc., under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Plaintiff lives in a condominium unit at Rob Roy and suffers from a disabling autoimmune disease. He alleges that Defendants retaliated against him by suing him in state court after he requested accommodations from some of the association's policies, discriminated against him based upon his disability, and caused him emotional distress. Defendants moved to dismiss every count for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. For the reasons explained below, this Court grants the motion in part and denies it in part.

         I. Background

         A. The Complaint's Allegations

         Defendants govern and manage the condominium association where Plaintiff has lived since 1997. [37] ¶¶ 13-14. Beginning in 1997, Plaintiff, through his mother, regularly asked Defendants to stop applying landscape pesticides and herbicides outside his condominium unit. Id. ¶ 15. Plaintiff's mother made these requests through written correspondence and in person during Defendants' board meetings. Id. ¶ 16. Defendants denied each request. Id. ¶ 21. They continue spraying chemicals around Plaintiff's unit today, and Plaintiff's mother continues asking Defendants to use fewer chemicals. Id. ¶¶ 15, 21.

         In 2006, Plaintiff was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that severely limits his “ability to engage in major life activities.” Id. ¶ 22. Doctors told Plaintiff to avoid toxins-like pesticides and herbicides-that could aggravate his condition. Id. ¶ 23. Subsequently, Plaintiff and his mother “increased the frequency of their requests” that Defendants stop using pesticides near Plaintiff's home. Id. ¶ 24. Defendants not only denied those requests, but also told Plaintiff in 2009 that they would spray more often outside his unit because Plaintiff's frequent requests for accommodation annoyed them. Id. ¶¶ 28-30.

         By 2009, Plaintiff's autoimmune disease had progressed significantly and often rendered him bedridden for several weeks in a row. Id. ¶ 32. Plaintiff's doctors again recommended that he avoid exposure to toxins like pesticides that could aggravate his symptoms. Id. ¶¶ 33-34. The doctors also explained that Plaintiff's wall-to-wall carpeting likely harbored environmental toxins carried inside on people's clothing and shoes. Id. ¶ 34. Plaintiff and his doctors then asked Defendants to modify the association's policy to allow Plaintiff to remove the carpeting from his unit to “aid in his recovery.” Id. ¶¶ 34-35.

         In April 2009, Defendants refused to modify the carpeting policy. Id. ¶ 37. Defendants specifically told Plaintiff that they wanted to force Plaintiff and his mother to move out of the community. Id. ¶ 38. In 2010, Defendants sued Plaintiff and his mother in state court seeking an injunction to prevent them from removing the carpeting in the unit, as discussed below. Id. ¶¶ 41-42.

         In 2011, after Plaintiff's health declined further, the Social Security Administration declared him permanently disabled. Id. ¶ 43. In 2013, Plaintiff was hospitalized for psychological injuries stemming from the “chronic stress and trauma” of Defendants denying his requests for accommodation and harassing him. Id. ¶ 48. Additionally, Plaintiff has developed a “stress-based cardiovascular condition” that Defendants' behavior caused. Id. ¶ 51.

         In 2014, doctors diagnosed Plaintiff with severe allergies to carpeting and dust. Id. ¶ 54. Plaintiff takes medication for the allergies, but the medication offers only minimal relief because carpeting-the source of the allergens-remains in Plaintiff's unit. Id. From 2014 through the present, Plaintiff continued asking Defendants to allow him to remove the carpeting from his unit. Id. ¶¶ 15, 55-56. In response to Plaintiff's continued requests, Defendants, among other things, fined Plaintiff for trivial policy violations that they never held other unit owners accountable for and removed medicinal plants from Plaintiff's balcony. Id. ¶ 63.

         B. State Court Litigation

         In the state lawsuit, Defendants sought to enforce a condominium bylaw that barred Plaintiff from removing the carpeting in his unit. Id. ¶¶ 42, 78. Plaintiff raised defenses of retaliation under federal statutes, and also argued that Defendants violated his rights to speech, participation in government, and a healthy environment. See [39-3] at 15-21.[1] The state court issued a default judgment barring Plaintiff from removing the carpeting in his unit in 2012. [37] ¶ 45. Plaintiff has made “numerous failed attempts” to reverse the permanent injunction in state court. Id. ¶ 47. Plaintiff alleges that the state litigation contributed to his poor health and caused him severe emotional distress. Id. ¶¶ 128-30.

         II. Legal Standard

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must provide a “short and plain statement of the claim” showing that the pleader merits relief, Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), so the defendant has “fair notice” of the claim “and the grounds upon which it rests, ” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). A complaint must also contain “sufficient factual matter” to state a facially plausible claim to relief-one that “allows the court to draw the reasonable inference” that the defendant committed the alleged misconduct. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). This plausibility standard “asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Williamson v. Curran, 714 F.3d 432, 436 (7th Cir. 2013).

         In evaluating a complaint on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, this Court accepts all well-pled allegations as true and draws all reasonable inferences in Plaintiffs' favor. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. This Court does not, however, accept legal conclusions as true. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). On a motion to dismiss, this Court may consider the complaint itself, documents attached to the complaint, documents central to the complaint and to which the complaint refers, and information properly subject to judicial notice. Williamson, 714 F.3d at 436.

         III. Analysis

         Defendants argue that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars Plaintiff's claims because they either seek review of the state court's decision or are “inextricably intertwined” with that decision. [39] at 2, 6. Defendants also argue that, even if Rooker-Feldman does not apply, this Court should dismiss all counts as time-barred or insufficiently pled. Id. Plaintiff counters that he seeks damages independent of the state court's judgment and that several ...


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