Clark v. Lafayette Place Lofts et al
OPINION and ORDER Adopting Magistrate Judge's 75 Report and Recommendation; and Granting Defendants' 66 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by District Judge Linda V. Parker. (RLou)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
WILLIE T. CLARK,
Civil Case No. 14-12519
Honorable Linda V. Parker
LAFAYETTE PLACE LOFTS,
WEST CONSTRUCTION SERVICES,
KYLE WESTBERG, BRENT WESTBERG,
ANGELA HOLBROOK, BOB DAVIS, and
STATE OF MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF
OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S AUGUST 3,
2016 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [ECF NO. 75] AND
GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
[ECF NO. 66]
Plaintiff filed this lawsuit against Defendants claiming violations of the
federal Fair Housing Act, the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act,
and the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. Plaintiff’s claims arise from the
denial of his rental application at Lafayette Place Lofts (“Lafayette Place”), an
apartment complex in Pontiac, Michigan. The matter has been referred to
Magistrate Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis for all pretrial proceedings, including a
hearing and determination of all non-dispositive matters pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(A) and/or a report and recommendation on all dispositive matters
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). (ECF No. 64.)
On September 28, 2015, Plaintiff filed a motion for appointment of counsel.
(ECF No. 63.) On February 22, 2016, all remaining defendants filed a motion for
summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56.1 (ECF No.
66.) Plaintiff failed to file a timely response to Defendants’ motion. Therefore, on
April 28, 2016, Magistrate Judge Davis issued an order requiring Plaintiff to show
cause in writing by May 12, 2016, as to why the magistrate judge should not
recommend the dismissal of his Complaint. (ECF No. 73.) Plaintiff filed a
document styled as a response to the show cause order on May 11, 2016.2 (ECF
On August 3, 2016, Magistrate Judge Davis issued a Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) in which she recommends that this Court grant
Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 75.) Magistrate Judge
Davis concludes that Defendants establish legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons
Court previously dismissed Plaintiff’s Complaint against the State of
Michigan Department of Civil Rights, finding the claims barred by the Eleventh
Amendment. (ECF No. 46.) Plaintiff has failed to provide an updated address for
Defendant Angela Holbrook, despite being ordered to do so, and thus this
defendant has never been served with a Summons and a copy of the Complaint.
(See ECF No. 38, 50.)
In her Report and Recommendation, Magistrate Judge Davis notes that Plaintiff’s
response to the show cause order, like many of his other submissions, “is virtually
incomprehensible” and “subject to being stricken from the [d]ocket.” (Id. at Pg ID
for rejecting Plaintiff’s application for an apartment at Lafayette Place, specifically
his criminal history and his poor credit score. (Id. at Pg ID 1158-59.) Magistrate
Judge Davis finds that Plaintiff presents no evidence to demonstrate that these
reasons were a pretext for race or disability discrimination. (Id. at Pg ID 1159.)
Further, as set forth in the factual background section of the R&R, the Michigan
Department of Civil Rights’ investigation of Plaintiff’s complaint regarding the
denial of his application revealed that of the forty-five total units at Lafayette
Place, twenty were occupied by black tenants and three were occupied by black
and disabled tenants. (Id. at Pg ID 1154.) Magistrate Judge Davis alternatively
recommends that the Court dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 41(b) for failure to prosecute or comply with an order. (Id. at
Pg ID 1161-65.) Based on these recommendations, the magistrate judge further
recommends that the Court dismiss as moot Plaintiff’s motion for appointment of
counsel. (Id. at Pg ID 1153.)
At the conclusion of the R&R, Magistrate Judge Davis advises the parties
that they may object to and seek review of the R&R within fourteen days of service
upon them. (Id. at Pg ID 1165-66.) She further specifically advises the parties that
“[f]ailure to file specific objections constitutes a waiver of any further right to
appeal.” (Id. at Pg ID 1166.) In response to Plaintiff’s request for an extension of
time to file his objections, submitted August 17, 2016 (ECF No. 76), this Court
extended the deadline for objections to September 9, 2016. On September 9, 2016,
Plaintiff filed the same document he filed on August 17, 2016. (ECF No. 77.) The
Court will construe these submissions as Plaintiff’s objections to the R&R.
When objections are filed to a magistrate judge’s R&R on a dispositive
matter, the Court “make[s] a de novo determination of those portions of the report
or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.”
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The Court, however, “is not required to articulate all of the
reasons it rejects a party’s objections.” Thomas v. Halter, 131 F. Supp. 2d 942,
944 (E.D. Mich. 2001) (citations omitted). A party’s failure to file objections to
certain conclusions to an R&R waives any further right to appeal on those issues.
See Smith v. Detroit Fed’n of Teachers Local 231, 829 F.2d 1370, 1373 (6th Cir.
1987). Likewise, the failure to object to certain conclusions in the magistrate
judge’s report releases the Court from its duty to independently review those
issues. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985).
Plaintiff lists three “objections” in his August 17 and September 9
submissions. The first two objections do not address Magistrate Judge Davis’
August 3, 2015 R&R, however. While Plaintiff’s final objection appears to be
directed at Magistrate Judge Davis’ findings in her R&R, the Court finds it
difficult to discern what arguments Plaintiff is asserting. The Court, in any event,
finds no evidence in the record to refute Defendants’ legitimate, non4
discriminatory reasons for rejecting Plaintiff’s housing application.3 As such, the
Court is adopting Magistrate Judge Davis’ recommendation to grant Defendants’
motion for summary judgment. Therefore, the Court finds it unnecessary to
consider dismissal under Rule 41(b) and is dismissing as moot Plaintiff’s motion
for appointment of counsel.
IT IS ORDERED that Defendants’ motion for summary judgment (ECF
No. 66) is GRANTED;
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion for appointment of
counsel (ECF No. 63) is DENIED AS MOOT.
s/ Linda V. Parker
LINDA V. PARKER
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: September 20, 2016
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was mailed to counsel of
record and/or pro se parties on this date, September 20, 2016, by electronic and/or
U.S. First Class mail.
s/ Richard Loury
on this finding, the Court is sua sponte dismissing Plaintiff’s Complaint
against Defendant Holbrook as well.
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