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McCall v. Montgomery Housing Authority

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

September 29, 2017




         Now before the court is the Motion to File Leave to Amend Complaint for Correction filed by pro se Plaintiff Minnie McCall (Doc. 55); an objection to McCall's motion for leave to file a third amended complaint filed by Defendants Montgomery Housing Authority (“MHA”) and Yvette Hester[1] (Doc. 56); McCall's “Motion of Response to Defendant's Objection to Plaintiff's Complaint for Corrections” (Doc. 58), which the court construes as a response to Defendants' objection; and Defendants' reply to McCall's response to their objection (Doc. 59). Also before the court is MHA's and Hester's motion to sanction McCall and to strike certain portions of her response to their motion to dismiss (Doc. 44), and McCall's Motion Not to Sanction or Strike Part of Plaintiff Pleading or Dismiss Plaintiff Pleading as it Relates to Show Cause Order (Doc. 50), which the court construes as a response to Defendants' motion to strike and for sanctions.

         After a careful review of the record, and for the reasons that follow, the court finds that McCall's motion for leave to file a third amended complaint is due to be DENIED, and the defendants' motion to strike and for sanctions is also due to be DENIED.


         McCall filed this lawsuit on October 24, 2014 against MHA and Hester in her official capacity as Executive Director of MHA.[2] Doc. 1. On January 27, 2016, after reviewing McCall's objections to the undersigned's report and recommendation that her complaint be dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, the court ordered McCall to file “an amended complaint that clearly sets forth her claims, identified in separate counts with separately numbered paragraphs, and that is supported by factual allegations identifying the specific harm(s) caused to McCall by each specific defendant.” Doc. 9.

         McCall filed an amended complaint on February 12, 2016, naming MHA, Hester, and the MHA Board of Directors as defendants. Doc. 10. The amended complaint asserts claims against these defendants for violations of the Fair Housing Act and of McCall's due process and equal protection rights. Doc. 10. McCall also sought to assert class-action claims on behalf of individuals who were subjected to similar violations of the Fair Housing Act by MHA, as well as individuals whose housing rights have been terminated by MHA without the benefit of a fair and impartial hearing or meeting prior to the termination of those rights. Doc. 10.

         On April 4, 2016, MHA, Hester, and the Board of Directors moved to dismiss McCall's amended complaint arguing that her claims were due to be dismissed because they failed to meet minimum pleading requirements. Docs. 19 & 20. Because the defendants' motion relied on materials outside the pleadings, the court construed the motion as one for summary judgment and ordered McCall to file a single response. Doc. 21. McCall instead filed multiple documents and motions in response to the defendants' summary-judgment motion, many of which contained factual allegations and claims that were not in the amended complaint. Docs. 22-1, 23, 25, 26 & 29.

         One of these filings was a “Motion to Add to Plaintiff Response to Defendant Motion to Dismiss or Alternative Motion for Summary Judgment.” Doc. 25. In that motion, McCall sought to add as defendants Nona Eath, a former MHA employee, and the City of Montgomery. Doc. 25. She also sought to include additional factual allegations and to add a new claim that she was unlawfully denied the right to “port out” of her current housing. Doc. 25.

         Because McCall is proceeding pro se and because the court should freely give leave when justice so requires, the court granted McCall leave to amend her complaint a second time to add new defendants and to set forth all of the claims arising out of the incidents made the basis of her first amended complaint and her motion to amend. Doc. 30. However, the court cautioned McCall that “with this granting of leave to amend her complaint, the court is not giving McCall permission to amend in any manner she desires.” Doc. 30.

McCall's amended complaint must comply with Rules 8 and 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. More specifically, McCall must set forth her claims in numbered paragraphs, and she must identify and label the specific causes of action she is asserting against the Defendants. McCall must also identify the specific facts that support each specific claim, and she must identify which claims she is asserting against each Defendant. More than conclusory and vague allegations or subjective beliefs are required to state a cause of action.

Doc. 30. Additionally, the court warned McCall that, absent good cause, she would not be given another opportunity to amend her complaint, nor would she be allowed to assert new factual allegations or to add new claims or parties through a later response to a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment. Doc. 30. Because McCall was given leave to amend, the court denied as moot the defendants' pending motion for summary judgment and motion to strike with leave to refile after McCall filed her amended complaint. Doc. 30. The court also denied as moot McCall's motion for a preliminary injunction with leave to refile after she filed an amended complaint. Doc. 30.

         On February 17, 2017, McCall filed her second amended complaint (or her third complaint), naming MHA, Nona Eath, Evette Hester, and the Montgomery Board of Commissioners as defendants. Doc. 35. Having leniently reviewed the second amended complaint due to McCall's pro se status, and making its best effort to discern McCall's claims, the court concludes that McCall is asserting the following claims against one or more of the defendants:

(1) a violation of the Fair Housing Act based on the entry of McCall's housing unit for an inspection on October 24, 2012 without giving her prior notice of the inspection;
(2) a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) based on MHA's denial of a “reasonable accommodation” for McCall at MHA meetings;
(3) a violation of the ADA based on the denial of a “reasonable accommodation” when Eath refused to give McCall an extension on a housing choice voucher, which resulted in the denial of her housing;
(4) forcing McCall, an African American, to live in segregated areas as a result of the defendants' housing policies;
(5) MHA's denial of McCall's safe housing rights and “human rights” through fraudulent inspections ...

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