Blanton et al v. Torrey Pines Property Management, Inc. et al

Filing 108

ORDER Denying 99 Defendants' Motion For A Determination That Plaintiff JOA's FHA and CFEHA Causes of Action Were Frivolous, Unreasonable, and/or Without Foundation. Signed by Judge Thomas J. Whelan on 10/13/2017. (jao)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 MONYA BLANTON, et al., Case No.: 15-CV-0892 W (NLS) Plaintiffs, 12 13 v. 14 ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR A DETERMINATION THAT PLAINTIFF JOA’S FHA AND CFEHA CAUSES OF ACTION WERE FRIVOLOUS, UNREASONABLE, AND/OR WITHOUT FOUNDATION [DOC. 99] TORREY PINES PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, et al., 15 Defendants. 16 17 Pending before the Court is Defendants’ motion for a determination that Plaintiff 18 19 Joa’s FHA and CFEHA causes of action were frivolous, unreasonable, and/or without 20 foundation. [Doc. 99.] The Court decides the matter on the papers submitted and 21 without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1(d)(1). For the reasons that 22 follow, the Court DENIES the motion. 23 // 24 // 25 // 26 // 27 // 28 // 1 15-CV-0892 W (NLS) 1 I. 2 BACKGROUND On April 22, 2015, Plaintiffs Monya Blanton and Diane Joa brought this action 3 against Defendants Torrey Pines Property Management, Inc., Sedlack Development Co., 4 LP, Peggy Warny, and Corinne Lampman. (Compl. [Doc. 1].) According to the Second 5 Amended Complaint (“SAC”), Torrey Pines Property Management (“TPPM”) enforced a 6 policy restricting the occupancy of its rental units to “one occupant per bedroom plus 7 one[,]” thus discriminating on the basis of familial status in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3601 8 and Cal. Gov. Code § 12927, inter alia. (SAC [Doc. 29] ¶¶ 1–37.) On Defendants’ motion, the Court dismissed Plaintiff Joa’s first two causes of 9 10 action for lack of standing, reasoning that by the time the occupancy policy at issue was 11 enforced against Plaintiff Joa’s family, all members of her family had reached the age of 12 majority. (See April 20, 2017 Order [Doc. 83].) Defendants now move “for a 13 determination that Plaintiff Joa’s FHA and CFEHA causes of action were frivolous, 14 unreasonable, and/or without foundation.” (Defs.’ Mot. [Doc. 99].) 15 16 II. LEGAL STANDARD 17 “Article III of the Constitution grants this Court authority to adjudicate legal 18 disputes only in the context of ‘Cases’ or ‘Controversies.’ To enforce this limitation, we 19 demand that litigants demonstrate a ‘personal stake’ in the suit.” Camreta v. Greene, 563 20 U.S. 692, 701 (2011) (quoting Summers v. Earth Island Institute, 555 U.S. 488, 493 21 (2009)). “ ‘[F]ederal courts have never been empowered to issue advisory opinions.’ ” 22 Coal. for a Healthy California v. F.C.C., 87 F.3d 383, 386 (9th Cir. 1996) (quoting FCC 23 v. Pacifica Found., 438 U.S. 726, 734–35 (1978)). 24 25 III. DISCUSSION 26 Defendants do not move for attorneys’ fees. (Defs.’ Mot. [Doc. 99].) Rather, they 27 propose to do so at a later date, after their motion for an advisory opinion as to the nature 28 of Joa’s claims is granted. (Id. [Doc. 99] 1:28–2:2 (“If this motion is granted, Defendants 2 15-CV-0892 W (NLS) 1 will submit attorney billing amounts pertaining specifically to Defendants’ defense of 2 Joa’s frivolous claims so that an attorney fee award may be specifically calculated.” 3 (formatting altered from original).) The issue of fees is not before the Court. Defendants 4 do not show a personal stake in the issue of whether Plaintiff Joa’s claims were frivolous, 5 unreasonable, or without foundation. The Court is not empowered to issue an opinion 6 advising Defendants. See, e.g., Coal. for a Healthy California, 87 F.3d at 386. 7 8 9 IV. CONCLUSION & ORDER Defendants’ motion is DENIED. [Doc. 99.] 10 11 12 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: October 13, 2017 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3 15-CV-0892 W (NLS)

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