United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
TIMOTHY A. GOOD, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
R. LEICHTY JUDGE.
Timothy Good, a pro se litigant, challenges the
United States Department of Housing and Urban
Development's (HUD) implementation of a no-smoking policy
in HUD-funded public housing. On July 8, 2019, Mr. Good filed
a summary judgment motion. Two days later, he sent a letter
to the former presiding judge seeking to suspend HUD's
no-smoking policy until its legality could be determined by
the courts. On July 12, 2019, HUD filed its own summary
judgment motion. The court now denies Mr. Good's motions
and grants HUD's cross motion for summary judgment.
U.S. Housing Act authorizes HUD to distribute federal
financial assistance to public housing agencies (PHAs) to
provide public housing for low-income families. 42 U.S.C.
§ 1437. For PHAs to receive federal financial
assistance, they must agree to comply with procedures and
requirements as the Secretary of HUD may prescribe. 42 U.S.C.
§ 1437d(c)(4). In addition, the Act requires PHAs to
inspect housing projects to ensure compliance with the
housing quality standards determined by HUD. Id.
2015, HUD proposed the Smoke Free Rule, which it later
promulgated in 2016. See HUD, Institution Smoke-Free
Public Housing, Prop. Rule, 80 Fed. Reg. 71762 (Nov. 17,
2015). The rule remains in effect today. It requires that
each PHA implement a policy prohibiting lit tobacco products
in all living units, indoor common areas, and in PHA
administrative office buildings. Id. The smoke-free
policy extends 25 feet outside of housing units and
administrative office buildings. Id. The purpose of
the rule is to “improve indoor air quality in public
housing; benefit the health of public housing residents,
visitors, and PHA staff; reduce the risk of catastrophic
fires; and lower overall maintenance costs.”
Id. When promulgated, the rule forced PHAs to update
their smoke-free policies and change their tenant leases,
including adding lease amendments to the current tenants'
leases. 81 Fed. Reg. at 87437 (Dec. 5, 2016); ECF 28 at 7.
Good is a smoker who resides in an Elkhart Housing Authority
apartment unit, subject to HUD's smoke-free policy. ECF 1
at 2. In Mr. Good's complaint, he alleges several
constitutional violations against his First, Fourth, and
Tenth Amendment rights. ECF 1 at 2. Additionally, he claims
that he was discriminated against as a smoker. Id.
His summary judgment motion (ECF 26) purports to assert
additional theories of liability under the Fifth and Ninth
Amendments, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and
Administrative Procedural Act (APA).
filed its crossmotion for summary judgment arguing that (1)
Mr. Good lacks standing to pursue his First and Fourth
amendment claims, (2) Mr. Good fails to show a violation of
his First and Fourth Amendment rights, (3) Mr. Good cannot
show that HUD's rule improperly discriminates against
smokers, and (4) HUD's rule does not implicate the 10th
Amendment because it is a reasonable exercise of
Congress' spending power. ECF 28 at 2.
judgment is warranted when “the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The non-moving party must present the
court with evidence on which a reasonable jury could rely to
find in his favor. Goodman v. Nat'l Sec. Agency,
Inc., 621 F.3d 651, 654 (7th Cir. 2010). The court must
deny a summary judgment motion when there is admissible
evidence that creates a genuine issue of material fact-a
triable issue. Luster v. Ill. Dept. of Corrs., 652
F.3d 726, 731 (7th Cir. 2011).
court “is not to sift through the evidence, pondering
the nuances and inconsistencies, and decide whom to
believe.” Waldridge v. Am. Heochst Corp., 24
F.3d 918, 920 (7th Cir. 1994). Instead, the “court has
one task and one task only: to decide, based on the evidence
of record, whether there is any material dispute of fact that
requires a trial.” Id. The court must construe
all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party, view all reasonable inferences in that party's
favor, Bellaver v. Quanex Corp., 200 F.3d 485,
491-92 (7th Cir. 2000), and avoid “the temptation to
decide which party's version of the facts is more likely
true.” Payne v. Pauley, 337 F.3d 767, 770 (7th
court is not “obliged to research and construct legal
arguments for parties, ” Nelson v. Napolitano,
657 F.3d 586, 590 (7th Cir. 2011); however, the court must
liberally construe the submissions of pro se
plaintiffs, such as those from Mr. Good. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Nochols v. Mich.
City Plant Planning Dept., 755 F.3d 594, 600 (7th Cir.
threshold matter, the court first must determine whether Mr.
Good has standing to bring this action. Bennet v.
Spear, 520 U.S. 154, 162 (1997). Generally, to satisfy
the standing requirement under Article III of the United
States Constitution, a plaintiff must demonstrate that: (1)
he or she has suffered an injury in fact; (2) the injury is
traceable to alleged actions of the defendant; and (3) the
injury will be redressed by a favorable decision.
must assert a threatened or actual injury resulting from the
alleged unlawful action before a federal court may assume
jurisdiction. Linda R.S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S.
614, 617 (1973). An injury must be “concrete,
particularized, and actual or imminent.” Monsanto
Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms,561 U.S. 139, 149 (2010).
Here, Mr. Good is a smoker and tenant in a HUD-funded public
housing unit. HUD's smoke-free policy would personally
affect Mr. Good and his ability to smoke in his public
housing unit. From Mr. Good's perspective, he has already
suffered an injury by being prohibited to smoke in his own
home. Thus, the court finds that an injury for purposes of
standing exists. See also NYC C.L.A.S.H., Inc. v.