Walton v. Hathaway Village Partners, LLC et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion for Stay of Plaintiffs Right to Tenancy and to Amend Complaint (ECF No. 19) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff shall file an amended complaint, in accordance with the instructions set forth above, no later than thirty (30) days from the date of this Order. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, in addition to a copy of this Order, the Clerk shall forward to plaintiff the court-provided Pro Se Civil Com plaint Form. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if Plaintiff fails to timely file an amended complaint or fails to comply with the instructions set forth above relating to the filing of an amended complaint, the Court shall dismiss this action without prejud ice.IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motions for Default Judgment (ECF Nos. 21, 23) are DENIED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 15) is DENIED without prejudice as moot. 15 19 23 21 ( Response to Court due by 5/28/2016.) Signed by District Judge Jean C. Hamilton on 4/28/16. cc: petitioner with form.(CLA)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
HATHAWAY VILLAGE PARTNERS,
LLC, et al.,
Case No. 4:16-cv-00269-JCH
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion for Stay of Plaintiff’s Right to
Tenancy and to Amend Complaint (hereinafter, “Motion to Stay”) (ECF No. 19), Plaintiff’s
Motions for Default Judgment (ECF Nos. 21, 23), and Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss (ECF No.
15). The Motions are ready for disposition.
In July 2015, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the United States Department of Housing
and Urban Development (the “HUD”) alleging that, because of her disability, Defendant
Hathaway Village Partners, LLC (hereinafter, “Hathaway”) and Defendant Valerie Davis had
failed to make adequate repairs to her apartment and had harassed her. (ECF No. 1.3 at 2-3.)
Plaintiff also filed a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (“MCHR”).1 Id.
at 5-6. The HUD determined that “[t]he investigation failed to establish a causal connection
between [Plaintiff’s] disability and any alleged harassment,” and the MCHR issued a right to sue
notice upon concluding that no violations of the Missouri Human Rights Act had occurred. Id. at
In her Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that she has filed a separate action in the Circuit Court of
Cole County, Missouri, “per [the] MCHR.” (ECF No. 1 at 2.)
3, 5. Proceeding pro se, Plaintiff filed the instant property action on February 29, 2016. (ECF
No. 1.) In her Complaint she asserts, among other claims, that Defendants violated her First and
Fourteenth Amendment rights (Count V); that “Plaintiff Established Causal, Plausible, and
Nexus Connections to Defendants Investigation Statements” (Count VI); and that “Plaintiff
Demands a Jury Trial” (Count VII). Id. at 26-32.
Motion to Stay
In her Motion to Stay, filed on April 13, 2016, Plaintiff requests that “a temporary order
be put in place for a Stay of Plaintiff’s current lease giving her the right to reside at the
address…until all testimony and evidence is heard in this case.” (ECF No. 19 at 3.) Plaintiff has
attached to her Motion a copy of a document she received from Hathaway titled “Notice of
Non-Renewal of Lease,” dated March 30, 2016, which indicates that her lease will expire on
May 31, 2016 and will not be renewed.
Id. at 6.
In their Memorandum in Opposition,
Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s request, which is essentially one for a temporary restraining
order (“TRO”), should be denied because “Plaintiff has failed to show that any irreparable harm
will befall her should the Court deny her a [TRO],” and because she “has not provided any
support for her position in governing law that would warrant the type of relief that she requests.”
(ECF No. 24 at 6-8.)
“In deciding a motion for a preliminary injunction, a district court balances four factors:
(1) the likelihood of the movant’s success on the merits; (2) the threat of irreparable harm to the
movant in the absence of relief; (3) the balance between that harm and the harm that the relief
would cause to the other litigants; and (4) the public interest.” Watkins Inc. v. Lewis, 346 F.3d
841, 844 (8th Cir. 2003) (citing Dataphase Sys., Inc., v. C L Sys., Inc., 640 F.2d 109, 114 (8th
“A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy,” and “the burden of
establishing the propriety of an injunction is on the movant.” Id. (citations omitted). Upon
consideration of the foregoing standards, the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate a
threat of irreparable harm in absence of relief, as well as her likelihood of success on the merits.
The Court will therefore deny Plaintiff’s request for a temporary order allowing her to reside at
the address in question during the pendency of this action.
Also in her Motion to Stay, Plaintiff seeks to amend her Complaint by interlineation to
include new counts of age discrimination, disparate treatment of a senior citizen, and retaliation.
(ECF No. 19 at 1-3.) Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s proposed additional claims are futile
because she did not raise the claims before the HUD or the MCHR, and has thus failed to
exhaust them. (ECF No. 24 at 3-6.)
The Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) provides that “[a]n aggrieved person may commence a
civil action in an appropriate United States district court…not later than 2 years after the
occurrence or the termination of an alleged discriminatory housing practice…to obtain
42 U.S.C. § 3613(a)(1)(A). Section 3613(a)(2) explicitly states that “[a]n aggrieved person may
commence a civil action under this subsection whether or not a complaint has been filed [with
the HUD] and without regard to the status of any such complaint.” 42 U.S.C. § 3613(a)(2); see
also 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a) (administrative enforcement; aggrieved person may, not later than one
year after alleged discriminatory housing practice has occurred or terminated, file complaint with
Secretary alleging such discriminatory housing practice). In view of the foregoing provisions,
and because Defendants have failed to cite any authority for support of their proposition that
Plaintiff cannot raise before this Court any claims she did not present to the HUD, the Court
finds that Defendants have failed to meet their burden of showing that it would be legally futile
to allow Plaintiff to amend her Complaint. The Court will therefore grant Plaintiff’s request to
amend her Complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a) (party may amend pleading once as matter of
course within 21 days after service of responsive pleading; leave to amend complaint “shall
[otherwise] be freely given when justice so requires”); see also Roberson v. Hayti Police Dep’t,
241 F.3d 992, 995 (8th Cir. 2001) (under liberal amendment policy, denial of leave to amend
pleadings is appropriate “only in those limited circumstances in which undue delay, bad faith on
the part of the moving party, futility of the amendment, or unfair prejudice to the non-moving
party can be demonstrated”).
Plaintiff, however, has failed to provide the Court with a pleading that includes all claims
she wishes to pursue in this action. All of her claims must be included in one, centralized
complaint form. Accordingly, the Court will order Plaintiff to file an amended complaint on a
court-provided form.2 Plaintiff must follow the Court’s instructions relating to the filing of her
amended complaint, or she will face dismissal of this action, without prejudice. Plaintiff is
forewarned that the filing of an amended complaint completely replaces the original complaint,
and claims that are not re-alleged are deemed abandoned.
Plaintiff shall have thirty (30) days from the date of this Order to file an amended
complaint. The amended complaint must comply with Rules 8 and 10 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. Rule 8(a) requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and…a demand for the relief sought.” Rule
8(d) requires that “[e]ach allegation must be simple, concise, and direct,” and Rule 10(b) requires
that “[a] party must state its claims…in numbered paragraphs, each limited as far as practicable
The Court will instruct the Clerk of Court to provide Plaintiff with the proper form.
to a single set of circumstances.” Plaintiff must clearly state the defendants against which she is
pursuing allegations, and she must articulate, for each of those defendants, the factual
circumstances surrounding their alleged wrongful conduct. Plaintiff’s failure to make specific
and actionable allegations against any of the defendants will result in their dismissal from this
Motions for Default Judgment
In her Motions for default judgment, filed on April 18, 2016, Plaintiff asserts that
Defendants’ Answer and Motion to Dismiss were untimely because defense counsel filed the
responsive pleadings prior to filing a formal Entry of Appearance. (ECF No. 21, 23.) The
record demonstrates, however, that the attorneys for Defendants filed the responsive pleadings
on April 11, 2016, which was in accordance with this Court’s March 17, 2016 Order, and that
they filed a formal Entry of Appearance two days later. (ECF Nos. 8, 11, 15-18.) Contrary to
Plaintiff’s contention, the attorneys’ subsequent entry of appearance does not render Defendants’
responsive filings untimely or otherwise invalid. In addition, without an entry of default by the
Clerk, a default judgment cannot be entered under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b). See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a) (“When a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought
has failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise, the
clerk must enter the party’s default.”); Johnson v. Dayton Elec. Mfg. Co., 140 F.3d 781, 783 (8th
Cir. 1998) (entry of default under Rule 55(a) must precede grant of default judgment under Rule
55(b)). Therefore, Plaintiff’s Motions for Default Judgment will be denied.
Motion to Dismiss
In their Motion to Dismiss, Defendants seek dismissal of Counts V, VI, and VII of the
original Complaint. (ECF No. 15.) Because an amended complaint supersedes the original
complaint and renders it without legal effect, see In re Atlas Van Lines, Inc., 209 F.3d 1064,
1067 (8th Cir. 2000), pending motions pertaining to the original complaint should be denied as
moot, see Pure Country, Inc. v. Sigma Chi Fraternity, 312 F.3d 952, 956 (8th Cir. 2002).
Therefore, Defendants’ Motion will be denied, without prejudice to the filing of motions
concerning the amended complaint.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion for Stay of Plaintiff’s Right to
Tenancy and to Amend Complaint (ECF No. 19) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff shall file an amended complaint, in
accordance with the instructions set forth above, no later than thirty (30) days from the date of
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, in addition to a copy of this Order, the Clerk shall
forward to plaintiff the court-provided Pro Se Civil Complaint Form.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if Plaintiff fails to timely file an amended complaint
or fails to comply with the instructions set forth above relating to the filing of an amended
complaint, the Court shall dismiss this action without prejudice.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motions for Default Judgment (ECF Nos.
21, 23) are DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 15) is
DENIED without prejudice as moot.
Dated this 28th day of April, 2016.
/s/ Jean C. Hamilton
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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