Sesay v. Wedgewood Towers et al
ORDER granting 2 APPLICATION for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. The claims against Ernie Harrell are hereby DISMISSED. PROCESS SHALL ISSUE to the remaining defendants. The United States Marshal will serve process on these defendants. 28 U .S.C. § 1915(d). This action is REFERRED to the Magistrate Judge to enter a scheduling order for the management of the case, to dispose or recommend disposition of any pretrial motions under 28 U.S.C. §§ 636(b)(1)(A) and (B), and to conduct further proceedings, if necessary, under Fed. R Civ. P. 72(b) and the Local Rules of Court. Signed by District Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr on 4/14/2017. (xc:Pro se party by regular mail with service packet for four defendants and Order only by certified mail.)(DOCKET TEXT SUMMARY ONLY-ATTORNEYS MUST OPEN THE PDF AND READ THE ORDER.)(mg)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
GLORIA A. SESAY,
WEDGEWOOD TOWERS, et al.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Before the Court are the pro se Complaint (Doc. No. 1) brought pursuant to the Fair
Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601, et seq., and an Application to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc.
Plaintiff, Gloria Sesay, is a resident of Antioch, Tennessee. According to her Application,
Sesay has $1,109.00 in a checking account and owns a motor vehicle. However, her source of
monthly income is a disability payment, coupled with food stamps and monthly rent in the amount
of $915. From this information, it appears that Plaintiff is unable to pay the fee required to file the
Complaint. Therefore, the Application to proceed in forma pauperis is hereby GRANTED. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a).
Because Sesay is proceeding as a pauper, the Court is required to review the Complaint to
determine whether it is frivolous, malicious or fails to state a claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
Sesay describes herself as a woman of African descent (Sierra Leone) “with a foreign
accent.” (Doc. No. 1 at 3.) On November 16, 2016, she was evicted from her apartment in the
Wedgewood Towers in Nashville. She alleges: “I was evicted because I had filed an identity theft
complaint against Wedgewood Towers and Mrs. Patricia Horner, the Manager therefore chose
[sic] to evict me due to the ongoing investigation stating that I was behind in paying my rent.” (Id.
at 1.) Sesay believes that she was evicted, in part, for her role in organizing a Residents’
Association at the Wedgewood Towers. (See id. at 2 (“Horner tried and did everything to hinder
the Residents’ Association or to get me out. I filed a complaint to HUD and she evicted most of
the people that testified on my behalf.”).) She further claims that she is a victim of discrimination
due to ethnicity, sex, religion and national origin in violation of fair housing rules. (Id. at 3; see
also Exhibit 3 to the Complaint.)
The Fair Housing Act was designed to prohibit discrimination in the sale, rental, financing
or brokerage of private housing, and to provide federal enforcement procedures for remedying
such discrimination. Otero v. N.Y. City Hous. Auth., 484 F.2d 1122, 1133 (2d Cir. 1973). The Act
made it unlawful “[t]o refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to refuse to
negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person
because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.” 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a). The
Act also made it unlawful “to coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any person . . . on
account of his having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any
right granted or protected by section 3603, 3604, 3605 or 3606 of this title.” 42 U.S.C. § 3617.
“An aggrieved person may commence a civil action in [Federal] or State court not later
than 2 years after the occurrence or the termination of an alleged discriminatory housing practice
. . . to obtain appropriate relief with respect to such discriminatory housing practice or breach.” 42
U.S.C. § 3613(a)(1)(A). In this instance, Plaintiff has alleged that she was involved in the
organization of a Residents’ Association at the Wedgewood Towers and that her eviction is
attributable, at least in part, to her efforts in that regard. These allegations are sufficient to state a
colorable claim for relief under the Fair Housing Act. See Linkletter v. W. & S. Fin. Grp., Inc.,
851 F.3d 632 (6th Cir. 2017).
Sesay has named Wedgewood Towers, First Cumberland Properties, Ernie Harrell, Trish
Greer, Executive Vice President for First Cumberland Properties, and Patricia Horner, Leasing
Manager at Wedgewood Towers, as defendants. All of these defendants, with the exception of
Ernie Harrell, have been implicated in some fashion as participating in the alleged discrimination.
Harrell is not mentioned in the Complaint or the attachments to the Complaint. For that reason, the
claims against Ernie Harrell are hereby DISMISSED.
PROCESS SHALL ISSUE to the remaining defendants. The United States Marshal will
serve process on these defendants. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d). This action is REFERRED to the
Magistrate Judge to enter a scheduling order for the management of the case, to dispose or
recommend disposition of any pretrial motions under 28 U.S.C. §§ 636(b)(1)(A) and (B), and to
conduct further proceedings, if necessary, under Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b) and the Local Rules of Court.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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