United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L. Miller, Jr. Judge
Jones filed an amended complaint against Runaway Bay M/A Mgmt
Corp. alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C.
§ 3601 et seq. Mr. Jones claims that Runaway
Bay discriminatorily terminated his lease, restricted him
from accessing a clubhouse, didn't conduct service and
repairs in his apartment, and retaliated against him for
engaging in protected activities. Runaway Bay's motion to
dismiss Mr. Jones's amended complaint is before the
court. [Doc. No. 113]. For the following reasons, the court
grants the motion in part and denies it in part.
Standard of Review
considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court
construes the complaint in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party, accepts all well-pleaded facts as true, and
draws all inferences in the nonmoving party's favor.
Reynolds v. CB Sports Bar, Inc., 623 F.3d 1143, 1146
(7th Cir. 2010). But Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) “demands more
than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A claim is
plausible if “the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
Twombly and Iqbal “require the
plaintiff to ‘provid[e] some specific facts' to
support the legal claims asserted in the compliant.”
McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 616 (7th
Cir. 2011) (quoting Brooks, 578 F.3d at 581)). The
plaintiff “must give enough details about the
subject-matter of the case to present a story that holds
together.” Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d
400, 404 (7th Cir. 2010).
Jones filed his complaint without an attorney, so the court
“construe[s] it liberally, holding it to a less
stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Perez v. Fenoglio, 792 F.3d 768, 776
(7th Cir. 2015). The court construes Mr. Jones's
complaint as attempting to state Fair Housing Act claims
under § 3604(a) for discriminatory eviction, §
3604(b) for discriminatory provision of services or
facilities, and § 3617 for retaliation. Because of the
straightforward nature of Fair Housing Act claims like those
alleged by Mr. Jones, the Twombly/Iqbal
standard requires nothing more from a complaint than
“factual allegations identifying (1) who discriminated
against [the plaintiff]; (2) the type of discrimination that
occurred; and (3) when the discrimination took place.”
McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 617 (7th
Bay argues that Mr. Jones's complaint should be dismissed
because the allegations don't meet the
Twombly/Iqbal standard. It contends that
the complaint doesn't state a Fair Housing Act claim and
only contains labels and conclusions alleging discrimination
without any facts that plausibly show that the defendant
violated the Fair Housing Act. With respect to some of Mr.
Jones's claims, the court agrees; with respect to others,
the court disagrees.
3604(a) of the Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to
“refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide
offer, or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of,
or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any
person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial
status, or national origin.” 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a).
The court of appeals has construed the clause in 42 U.S.C.
§ 3604(a), “otherwise make unavailable or deny, a
dwelling, ” broadly, holding that the clause extends to
the point of eviction, including constructive eviction.
Bloch v. Frischholz, 587 F.3d 771, 776 (7th Cir.
2009) (arguing that to do otherwise would allow a landlord
“to rent to an African-American but then, the day after
he moves in, [to] change all the locks and put up signs that
said, ‘No blacks allowed.' That clearly could not
be what Congress had in mind when it sought to create
‘truly integrated and balanced living
Jones, an African-American, alleges racial discrimination by
Runaway Bay caused his eviction or constructive eviction. For
example, he alleges Runaway Bay racially discriminated
against him and his family by restricting access to
maintenance and clubhouse services, including through force,
exposing the family to racial segregation, and “openly
showing differences between white residents” and Mr.
Jones. [Doc. No. 116 at ¶ 13]. He claims these actions
made him “vulnerable to violence [and] mistreatment,
” caused him fear and “intentionally forc[ed]
[Mr. Jones] to move to avoid further racism.”
Id. He further alleges that Runaway Bay
“terminated [his] lease unlawfully, without legitimate
grounds based off of discrimination giving whites
preferential treatment” and due to “race . . .
discrimination by racist stereotypes, ” false
accusations, and efforts to enforce “degrading racially
segregating standards.” Id. at ¶ 2, 5, 7.
These allegations of constructive eviction due to racial
discrimination and a racially discriminatory eviction are
sufficient to state a claim under § 3604(a).
3604(b) of the 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). Mr. Jones
can state a § 3604(b) claim by alleging that Runaway Bay
“engage[d] in invidious discrimination when failing to
provide maintenance services or when limiting the use of
[its] . . . facilities.” Mehta v. Beaconridge
Improvement Ass'n, 432 Fed.Appx. 614, 617 (7th Cir.
amended complaint alleges that Runaway Bay “engaged in
racial profiling, racial segregation[, ] and race
discrimination, ” by “not conducting service or
requested major repairs.” [Doc. No. 116 at ¶ 2-3].
Mr. Jones claims that when Runaway Bay maintenance workers
entered his apartment to service his refrigerator and
furnace, the workers allegedly refused to remove dirty gloves
before working inside the refrigerator. An argument ensued
and Mr. Jones claims that the workers exhibited
“threatening white supremacy behaviors, ” made
“racist distinctions between races openly in [Mr.
Jones's] home, ” and left without making the