United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
D. ANGELINA KENNEDY, Plaintiff,
WARREN PROPERTIES, INC, et al., Defendants.
K. DuBOSE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action is before the Court on the motion for summary judgment
and supporting documents filed by Defendants Warren
Properties, Inc., Brian Adkins, Linda Prosi, Sabrina Gross,
and Debra Ivy (the Warren Defendants); the responses and
supporting documents filed by Plaintiff D. Angelina Kennedy;
and the Warren Defendants' reply (docs. 21, 39, 53, 56).
Upon consideration, and for the reasons set forth herein,
Warren Defendants' motion for summary judgment is
GRANTED as to Kennedy's claims arising
under the Fair Housing Act; the Equal Protection Clause; the
criminal conspiracy statutes, 18 U.S.C. § 241 and 18
U.S.C. § 371; and the civil conspiracy claim brought
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1985(2), against these
Factual and procedural background
Kennedy who is a black female, resided at Warren House
Apartments from 2002 through February 2013. Defendant Warren
Properties, Inc. owns the apartment complex (doc. 21-2,
Exhibit A). At relevant times, Defendant Adkins was in-house
counsel, Defendant Prosi was the reasonable accommodations
facilitator, Defendant Gross was a manager, and Defendant Ivy
was an area supervisor for Warren Properties. (Id.)
the time period from 2011 to 2012, Kennedy complained to
Warren Apartment management about vandalism to her vehicle,
racial harassment by white tenants,  sexual harassment by a white
male juvenile tenant and that the juvenile's white mother
was recruiting other white and black tenants to harass,
threaten and intimidate her in retaliation for the allegation
against the juvenile. Also during this time, Apartment
management addressed various allegations of improper conduct
against Kennedy by other tenants, one of which resulted in
Adkins and Prosi sending a non-compliance notice which
Kennedy perceived as an attempt to get her to admit guilt for
“talking about people” (doc. 4, p. 6).
on the harassment, Kennedy made several criminal complaints
to law enforcement against several co-tenants and the
co-tenants made complaints against her. These complaints
resulted in a series of arrests and trials in the City of
Mobile Municipal Court. The last event occurred in July 2012,
when an altercation occurred in the apartment complex office.
This event resulted in Kennedy's arrest for disorderly
conduct and her charges for assault against another tenant.
When Kennedy was arrested, an outstanding warrant issued from
the Mobile County District Attorney resulted in a hold upon
her. That warrant, based upon a bad check charge from twenty
years earlier, was resolved and Kennedy was released. In
September 2012, the tenant against whom Kennedy alleged
assault was found not guilty. In February 2013, Kennedy moved
out of Warren Apartments. (Doc. 4, Amended Complaint).
during Kennedy's residence she requested a downstairs
apartment, but her repeated requests were denied. In early
2012, a white female tenant Jean McLeod was rented a
downstairs apartment. (Id.) Soon thereafter, in June
of 2012, Kennedy signed a complaint with the U.S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) against Warren
Properties for violations of the Fair Housing Act (doc. 39).
In October 2012, the “final signing” occurred and
the complaint was sent to Warren Properties (Id.;
see also doc. 21-2, p. 12-13). On September 11,
2013, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of
Alabama wrote Kennedy to explain that after conducting an
investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice had determined
that no further action by the Department was warranted, and
the file would be returned to HUD for appropriate action
(doc. 39, p. 9-10). On July 23, 2014, HUD dismissed
Kennedy's complaint after informing Defendant Warren
Properties that “[b]ased on the evidence obtained
during the investigation, HUD has determined that no
reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory
housing practice has occurred” (doc. 21-2, p. 12-13).
March 10, 2017, Kennedy filed a complaint in this Court (doc.
1). On April 4, 2017, she amended her complaint (doc. 4).
Kennedy alleges violations of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C.
3601, et seq, based on race and violations of the
anti-retaliation provision of the FHA, 42 U.S.C. § 3617,
which makes it unlawful to coerce, intimidate or threaten a
person in the exercise of their rights protected by the Act
(doc. 4, p. 8, 10). Kennedy also alleges violations of the
Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment (“Class
of One” based on race) (doc. 4, p. 8-9) Although she
did not specifically invoke § 1983 as to her
constitutional claim, a liberal reading of her amended
complaint indicates that this claim is brought pursuant to
that statute. See Gilmore v. Hodges, 738 F.3d 266,
281 (11th Cir. 2013) (citations omitted) (“The law is
clear that pro se pleadings are held to a less
demanding standard than counseled pleadings and should be
also alleges claims for criminal conspiracy under 18 U.S.C.
§ 241 and 18 U.S.C. § 371, and conspiracy to
interfere with civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1985(2)
(doc. 4, p. 9-10). With regard to her conspiracy claims,
Kennedy alleges that the “last overt act” in the
“continued conspiracy” claim brought pursuant to
18 U.S.C. § 371, occurred on March 10, 2015 (doc. 4, p.
seeks to “recover damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983”. She also seeks declaratory and injunctive
relief, actual and compensatory damages, punitive or
exemplary damages, and other relief, as the Court deems just
and appropriate (doc. 4, p. 11).
Conclusions of Law
Standard of Review
court shall grant summary judgment if 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) (Dec. 2010). The Warren Defendants, as the
parties seeking summary judgment bear “the initial
burden to show the district court, by reference to materials
on file, that there are no genuine issues of material fact
that should be decided at trial.” Clark v. Coats
& Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991).
The party seeking summary judgment “always bears the
initial responsibility of informing the district court of the
basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of
‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, ' which it believes demonstrate the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact.”
Clark, 929 F.2d at 608 (quoting Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2553
(1986)). In deciding whether the Warren Defendants have met
their initial burden, the Court must review the record and
draw all reasonable inferences therefrom in a light most
favorable to Kennedy, as the non-moving party. See
Whatley v. CNA Ins. Co., 189 F.3d 1310, 1313 (11th Cir.
the Warren Defendants meet this responsibility, the burden
shifts to Kennedy, as the non-movant, to show the existence
of a genuine issue of material fact that would preclude
summary judgment. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. Ltd. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). “In
reviewing whether the [non-movant has met the] burden, the
court must stop short of weighing the evidence and making
credibility determination of the truth of the matter.
Instead, the evidence of the non-movant is to be believed,
and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his
favor.” Tipton v. Bergrohr GMBH-Siegen, 965
F.2d 994, 999 (11th Cir. 1992) (citing Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505 (1986)
((bracketed text added). However, the Warren Defendants would
be entitled to summary judgment if Kennedy fails “to
make a sufficient showing on an essential element of her case
with respect to which she has the burden of
proof.'” In re Walker, 48 F.3d 1161, 1163
(11th Cir. 1995) (quoting Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at
323, 106 S.Ct. at 2552) (bracketed text added). Overall, the
Court must “resolve all issues of material fact in
favor of [Kennedy], and then determine the legal question of
whether [Defendants are] entitled to judgment as a matter of
law under that version of the facts.” McDowell v.
Brown, 392 F.3d 1283, 1288 (11th Cir. 2004)
(citing Durruthy v. Pastor, 351 F.3d 1080, 1084
(11th Cir. 2003)) (bracketed text added).
the mere existence of any factual dispute will not
automatically necessitate denial of a motion for summary
judgment; rather, only factual disputes that are material
preclude entry of summary judgment. Lofton v. Secretary
of Dept. of Children and Family Services, 358 F.3d 804,
809 (11th Cir. 2004). “An issue of fact is material if
it is a legal element of the claim under the applicable
substantive law which might affect the outcome of the case.
It is genuine if the record taken as a whole could lead a
rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving
party.” Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide,
Inc., 594 F.3d 798, 807 (11th Cir. 2010) (citation
Motion for Leave to Extend Time to Finish Responding to
Summary Judgment for Cause (doc. 54).
moves the Court for leave to extend the time to respond and
includes her additional response in the motion. The Warren
Defendants object to the extension (doc. 57). They point out
that Kennedy has already filed two responses. They also argue
that Kennedy does not explain why she needs additional time,
but instead she simply presents an additional narrative in
support of her earlier responses. Kennedy filed her first
response on August 4, 2017 (doc. 39) and also moved for
additional time ...