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Ware v. Alexander

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division

March 29, 2019




         On September 26, 2018, pro se plaintiff, Kimberly Michelle Ware, filed this Complaint against Mark Alexander, Ed Hatton, and Charity Singleton (D.E. 1). In an order issued on October 24, 2018, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis (D.E. 9). This case has been referred to the United States Magistrate Judge for management and for all pretrial matters for determination and/or report and recommendation as appropriate. (Admin. Order 2013-05).

         The Court is required to screen in forma pauperis complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the action-

(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         In assessing whether the Complaint in this case states a claim on which relief may be granted, the standards under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), as stated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 667-79, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949-50, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009), and in Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-66, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007), are applied. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). “Accepting all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, the Court ‘consider[s] the factual allegations in [the] complaint to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.'” Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681, 129 S.Ct. at 1951) (alteration in original). “[P]leadings that . . . are no more than conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681, 129 S.Ct. at 1950; see also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65 n.3 (“Rule 8(a)(2) still requires a ‘showing,' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief. Without some factual allegation in the complaint, it is hard to see how a claimant could satisfy the requirement of providing not only ‘fair notice' of the nature of the claim, but also ‘grounds' on which the claim rests.”).

         “Pro se complaints are to be held ‘to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,' and should therefore be liberally construed.” Williams, 631 F.3d at 383 (quoting Martin v. Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 712 (6th Cir. 2004)). Pro se litigants, however, are not exempt from the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989), reh'g denied (Jan. 19, 1990); see also Brown v. Matauszak, No. 09-2259, 2011 WL 285251, at *5 (6th Cir. Jan. 31, 2011) (affirming dismissal of pro se complaint for failure to comply with “unique pleading requirements” and stating “a court cannot ‘create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading'”) (quoting Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975)) (alteration in original); Payne v. Secretary of Treas., 73 Fed.Appx. 836, 837 (6th Cir. 2003) (affirming sua sponte dismissal of complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) and stating, “[n]either this court nor the district court is required to create Payne's claim for her”); cf. Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231, 124 S.Ct. 2441, 2446, 159 L.Ed.2d 338 (2004) (“District judges have no obligation to act as counsel or paralegal to pro se litigants.”).

         In Plaintiff's Complaint she includes an assortment of information including, but not limited to, various unidentified case citations, police reports, extensive notes on drug traffickers and cartels, a discussion of whether the United States is a republic or a democracy, a history of clothing brands, information on child support, and a long list of names with “intent to kill” notated next to the name. However, after a laborious deciphering of Plaintiff's notes, it seems the crux of Plaintiff's Complaint are claims pursuant to the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) 42 U.S.C. § 3601, et seq., and the Tennessee Human Rights Act (“THRA”) Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-21-101, et seq., for “all the retaliation, discrimination, coercion, retaliation - from THRD/HUD and private landlord.” (D.E. 1 PageID 3). Tennessee courts have held that the legislature intended the Tennessee Human Rights Act to be coextensive with federal civil rights laws. See Parker v. Warren Cnty. Util. Dist., 2 S.W.3d 170, 172 (Tenn.1999). Thus, the Magistrate Judge will analyze the housing discrimination claims under the FHA and the THRA the same.

         The purpose of the Fair Housing Act is “to provide, within constitutional limitations, for fair housing throughout the United States.” 42 U.S.C. § 3601. To that end, the Act prohibits discrimination against “any person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin” in the rental or sale of housing. 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a). To state a claim under the FHA, plaintiff must show: (1) that she is a member of a protected class; (2) that she applied for and was qualified to rent housing; (3) that she was rejected; and (4) that the housing remained available thereafter. Mencer v. Princeton Square Apartments, 228 F.3d 631, 634-35 (6th Cir.2000).

         The FHA provides in relevant part:

It shall be 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. Similarly, it is a discriminatory practice in Tennessee for a person to retaliate or discriminate in any matter against someone because that person filed a complaint under the Tennessee Human Rights Law. Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-21-301(1).To state a claim under § 3617, the plaintiff in this case must establish (1) that she exercised or enjoyed a right guaranteed by §§ 3603-3606; (2) that the defendant's intentional conduct constituted coercion, intimidation, threat, or interference; and (3) a causal connection ...

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