Morgan v. NTS Architects & Planners, Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE for 85 Report and Recommendations re: 47 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by WW Woodbridge, LP. Western Rim Investors 2013-3, L.P., Newport Classic Homes, L.P. Defendants No-Evidence Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. #47) is DENIED. Signed by District Judge Amos L. Mazzant, III on 11/30/2017. (cm, )
United States District Court
EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
WESTERN RIM INVESTORS 2013-3, L.P.,
NEWPORT CLASSIC HOMES, L.P., AND
WW WOODBRIDGE, L.P.
CASE NO. 4:16CV454
Judge Mazzant/Judge Johnson
MEMORANDUM ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Came on for consideration the report of the United States Magistrate Judge in this action,
this matter having been heretofore referred to the United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636. On August 11, 2017, the report of the Magistrate Judge was entered containing
proposed findings of fact and recommendations (see Dkt. #85) that Defendants Western Rim
Investors 2013-3, L.P., Newport Classic Homes, L.P., and WW Woodbridge, L.P.’s No-Evidence
Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. #47) be DENIED.
On August 24, 2017, Defendants filed objections to the report (see Dkt. #92), and Plaintiff
filed a response (see Dkt. #95). The Court has made a de novo review of the objections and is of
the opinion that the findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge are correct and the objections
are without merit as to the ultimate findings of the Magistrate Judge. The Court hereby adopts the
findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge as the findings and conclusions of the Court.
Defendants first object to the Court’s interpretation of Harding v. Orlando Apartment,
LLC, 748 F.3d 1128 (11th Cir. 2014). Defendants claim that Harding sets forth a distinction
between violations of the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), under subsection 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1) and
§ 3604(f)(2). See Dkt. #92 at 2-3. Specifically, Defendants argue that some design/build FHA
violations only amount to discrimination as to the “terms, conditions, or privileges” of a sale or
rental of a dwelling, therefore constituting a violation of § 3604(f)(2); whereas other, more
egregious violations, rise to a level making a dwelling for sale or rental “unavailable,” and thus a
violation of § 3604(f)(1). As the report notes, regardless of Defendants contentions distinguishing
violations under § 3604(f)(1) and § 3604(f)(2), the former subsection does not require Plaintiff to
demonstrate “unavailability” as an element of a claim for “discrimination” as defined in
§ 3604(f)(3)(C). See Dkt. 85 at 5. Thus, the Court finds no error in the Magistrate Judge’s
conclusion, and Defendants’ objection is overruled.
Defendants also object to the Magistrate Judge’s finding that the Court can grant injunctive
relief to Plaintiff, which may generally prevent discrimination going forward. See Dkt. 92 at 3-8.
Defendants argue that, for FHA violation cases involving individual plaintiffs, a court may only
fashion injunctive relief which prevents future discriminatory housing practices as to the individual
plaintiff making the allegations. See id. at 6. However, as the report notes, “in a civil Fair Housing
Act case brought by a private person, ‘if the court finds a discriminatory housing practice has
occurred or is about to occur, the court may award the plaintiff actual and punitive damages, and
. . . may grant as relief, as the court deems appropriate, any permanent or temporary injunction,
temporary restraining order, or other order. . . .’” Dkt. 85 at 6 (citing 42 U.S.C. § 3613(c)(1)).
Defendants’ objection relies on a single case, Balachowski v. Boidy, No. 95 C 6340, 2000
WL 1365391 (N.D. Ill. 2000), which involved a plaintiff who was living in an apartment and was
ultimately granted injunctive relief as to her particular unit. In the matter before the Court, Plaintiff
is a prospective tenant, not a current tenant. As such, the Court does not find Balachowski
instructive. Moreover, the Magistrate Judge provided ample authority for her conclusion that the
Court can grant injunctive relief generally when an alleged disability-based housing violation
would remain, even if damages are awarded. See Dkt. 85 at 6-7. Thus, the Court finds no error in
the Magistrate Judge’s conclusion, and this objection is likewise overruled.
Based on the foregoing, Defendants’ No-Evidence Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt.
#47) is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
SIGNED this 30th day of November, 2017.
AMOS L. MAZZANT
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?