United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS
William T. Lawrence, Judge
cause is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss filed by
the Defendants, United Church Residences of Indianapolis,
Indiana, Inc., (“UCR”); United Church Homes,
Inc., (“UCH”); and Shea Hodowaniec. Dkt. No. 19.
The motion is fully briefed, and the Court, being duly
advised, GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART the motion for the
reasons set forth below.
Defendants move to dismiss the Plaintiffs' Complaint
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing
that the Complaint fails to state a claim for which relief
can be granted. In reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the
Court “must accept all well pled facts as true and draw
all permissible inferences in favor of the plaintiff.”
Agnew v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n,
683 F.3d 328, 334 (7th Cir. 2012). For a claim to survive a
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, it must
provide the defendant with “fair notice of what the . .
. claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.”
Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009)
(quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007))
(omission in original). A complaint must “contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Agnew, 638 F.3d at 334 (citations omitted). A
complaint's factual allegations are plausible if they
“raise the right to relief above the speculative
level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 556 (2007).
Plaintiffs, Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, Inc.;
Patricia Light; Madonna Quick; Helen Wells; and Carolyn
Brock, assert claims under the Fair Housing Act of 1988, 42
U.S.C. § 3601, et seq., and the Indiana Fair Housing
Act, Ind. Code § 22-9.5, et seq., against the
Defendants. For the purposes of this motion, the Court
accepts the following facts as true.
Station is a residential apartment building financed by the
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
(“HUD”) to provide housing for people 62 years of
age or older. Residents pay 30% of their adjusted monthly
income for rent, and the remainder of the rent for each
tenant is paid by HUD. Capitol Stations has 48 units. It is a
three-story building and has one elevator.
Defendants advertise that Capitol Station is wheelchair
accessible and has apartments with lots of space for maximum
mobility. Many Capitol Station residents have mobility
impairments and, due to these impairments, rely on the
elevator to access or leave their second- or third-floor
apartments. During the months of August and September 2015,
Light, Quick, Wells, and Brock (“the Individual
Plaintiffs”) were all individuals with disabilities who
qualify as disabled under the FHA, and all lived on the third
floor at Capitol Station. On or around August 25, 2015, the
sole elevator at Capitol Station stopped working. It remained
completely out of service for approximately five and a half
the time that the elevator was out of service, Quick
underwent knee replacement surgery. Her return to her
apartment was delayed due to the lack of elevator service.
Brock moved from Capitol Station in November 2015 due to her
unhappiness about the elevator outage.
the elevator was out of service, many tenants of Capitol
Station made many requests to the Defendants for
accommodations for themselves and other residents, including
help getting groceries and walking dogs. The tenants
requested that the elevator be promptly repaired and sought
information about when it would be repaired. The Defendants
did not engage in an interactive dialogue regarding the
requests by the residents. Capitol Station did nothing to
help Light, Quick, Wells, Brock, and other residents, some of
whom were trapped on the top two floors of the building.
Capitol Station promised that volunteers would assist, but no
volunteers ever did.
an employee of UCR and/or UCH, told one of the Individual
Plaintiffs that she was hired to take care of the building,
not the residents. Hodowaniec took a one-week vacation during
the time the elevator was out of service. She did not engage
in an interactive dialogue with or provide any of the tenants
with reasonable accommodations.
Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination against “any
person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or
rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or
facilities in connection therewith, because of race, color,
religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.” 42
U.S.C. § 3604(b). The Act also makes it unlawful to
“coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any
person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his
having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his having
aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or
enjoyment of, any right granted or protected by section 3603,
3604, 3605, or 3606 of this title.” 42 U.S.C. §
3617. The Act governs conduct regardless of whether it occurs
before or after a tenant or owner has acquired a property
interest in a dwelling. See Bloch v. Frischolz, 587
F.3d 771, 780-82 (7th Cir. 2009) (en banc).
Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 amended the Fair Housing
Act of 1968 to extend protection to people with disabilities.
Pub. L. No. 100-430, 102 Stat. 1619, codified at 42 U.S.C.
§ 3601, et seq. In addition to bringing disabled persons
within the FHA's ambit, the amendments expanded the
definition of unlawful discrimination. Section 3604(f)(3)(B)
defines discrimination to include “a refusal to make
reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or
services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford
such [disabled] person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a
dwelling.” A disabled individual alleging unlawful
housing discrimination can rely on any of ...