Tahir v. Delany et al

Filing 101

ORDER granting Defendant's 92 Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff's Title VI claim is DISMISSED with prejudice and his remaining state law claims, assault and defamation, are DISMISSED without prejudice. Signed by U.S. District Judge John C Coughenour. (PM)

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THE HONORABLE JOHN C. COUGHENOUR 1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 7 8 9 OMARI TAHIR, 10 CASE NO. C15-2017-JCC Plaintiff, v. 11 ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT MARGARET DELANY, et al., 12 13 Defendants. 14 15 This matter comes before the Court on Defendants’ motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 16 No. 92). Having thoroughly considered the parties’ briefing and the relevant record, the Court 17 finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS the motion for the reasons explained 18 herein. 19 I. BACKGROUND 20 In 1992 or 1993, Defendant Midtown Center, LLC borrowed $3.2 million in Community 21 Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to acquire properties in Seattle. (Dkt. No. 93-1 at 6.) 22 These funds were obtained from the city of Seattle, but were part of a grant from the federal 23 government. (Id.) The CDBG funds were paid back to the City around 2000. (Dkt. No. 93-1 24 at 7.) 25 In 2002, Defendant Midtown bought property in Seattle’s Central District, which 26 included a house on Spring Street (Spring Street House). (Dkt. No. 94-1 at 1; Dkt. No. 94 at 2.) ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT PAGE - 1 1 Defendant Midtown purchased Spring Street House intending to demolish it to create additional 2 parking for another one of its tenants. (Dkt. No. 93-1 at 3.) However, Spring Street House was 3 not demolished because the tenant did not need the parking. (Id.) 4 Around 2008, Plaintiff moved into Spring Street House. (Dkt No. 93-1 at 10.) Plaintiff 5 paid no rent. (Dkt No. 93-1 at 3–4, 10–11.) Instead, he helped keep the surrounding property 6 clean and safe. (Id.) 7 In 2015, Defendant Midtown’s partners voted to oust the then managing partner, Thomas 8 Bangasser, and replaced him with Defendant Margaret Delaney. (Dkt. No. 94 at 2.) Defendant 9 Midtown then began the process of selling Spring Street House and the surrounding properties. 10 (Dkt. No. 92 at 6.) On or around March 15, 2017, following several court proceedings and 11 disagreements between the parties, Plaintiff was evicted from Spring Street House. (Dkt. No. 92 12 at 5; Dkt. No. 94 at 3.) Defendants then sold Spring Street House and the surrounding properties. 13 (Dkt. No. 92 at 6.) 14 Prior to his eviction and the sale of the property, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit in this Court 15 alleging a number of different claims. (Dkt. No. 4.) Some of Plaintiff’s claims have been 16 addressed in various orders by this Court, leaving only the Title VI, assault, and defamation 17 claims. (See Dkt. Nos. 18, 33, 46, 54, 70, 90.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendants discriminated 18 against him by denying him basic benefits that they afforded white tenants, thereby violating 19 Title VI, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d, et seq. (Dkt. No. 4.) Plaintiff also alleges Defendant Delaney 20 assaulted and defamed him. (Id.) On June 14, 2017, Defendants moved for summary judgment 21 on these claims. (Dkt. No. 92.) 22 II. DISCUSSION 23 A. Summary Judgment Standard 24 “The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine 25 dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. 26 Civ. P. 56(a). In making such a determination, the Court must view the facts and justifiable ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT PAGE - 2 1 inferences to be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Anderson v. 2 Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). Once a motion for summary judgment is properly 3 made and supported, the opposing party “must come forward with ‘specific facts showing that 4 there is a genuine issue for trial.’” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 5 574, 587 (1986) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)). Material facts are those that may affect the 6 outcome of the case, and a dispute about a material fact is genuine if there is sufficient evidence 7 for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248–49. 8 Conclusory, non-specific statements in affidavits are not sufficient, and “missing facts” will not 9 be “presumed.” Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 888–89 (1990). Ultimately, 10 summary judgment is appropriate against a party who “fails to make a showing sufficient to 11 establish the existence of an element essential to that party’s case, and on which that party will 12 bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). 13 B. 14 Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides that “[n]o person in the United States Title VI Claim 15 shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be 16 denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving 17 Federal financial assistance.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000d. For a plaintiff to prevail on a Title VI claim, 18 one threshold requirement is that the defendant is currently receiving federal funds. Fobbs v. 19 Holy Cross Health Sys. Corp., 29 F.3d 1439, 1447 (9th Cir. 1994) (overruled on other grounds). 20 Additionally, “to prevail on a Title VI claim . . . a plaintiff must prove (1) that he is an ‘intended 21 beneficiary of the federally-funded program the defendants . . . ‘participated in,’ . . . and (2) that 22 the defendant intentionally discriminated against him in violation of the statute.” Clarke v. 23 Upton, 703 F. Supp. 2d 1037, 1050 (E.D. Cal. 2010). 24 1. Federal Assistance 25 Here, both parties are generally in agreement that Defendants received $3.2 million 26 dollars in federal funding and that the funds have been repaid. (Dkt. No. 93-1 at 6; see also Dkt. ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT PAGE - 3 1 No. 96 at 7.) Plaintiff alleges there is a dispute as to when the funds were repaid. (Dkt. No. 96 at 2 7.) However, Plaintiff’s assertion does not create a genuine issue of material fact, because 3 Plaintiff fails to offer support, or even allege, that Defendants were receiving federal funds at the 4 time of the alleged discrimination, 2008–2016. 1 (See Dkt. No. 96 at 7.) His supporting 5 declarations and response to Defendants’ motion for summary judgment all lack specific facts. 6 (See Dkt. Nos. 4, 96, 97.) Further, Plaintiff does not deny that the loan was paid off before he 7 moved into Spring Street House. (See Dkt. No. 96 at 7.) Plaintiff’s Title VI claim is fatally 8 deficient without a sufficient showing that Defendants were receiving federal financial assistance 9 at the time of the alleged discrimination. 10 2. Intended Beneficiary 11 Further, Plaintiff lacks support for his assertion that he was an intended beneficiary of the 12 federal monies received by Defendant Midtown. Although Plaintiff cites to a recent declaration 13 by Thomas Bangasser to support his argument, the declaration is missing an exhibit and Plaintiff 14 has provided no context for the content. (See Dkt. No. 98.) The Court will not speculate as to 15 what may be in the missing exhibit attached to Thomas Bangasser’s most recent declaration. 16 However, to the extent that the missing report may indicate the 1992 CDGB funds were intended 17 for community development, it cannot provide the nexus between the federal monies and 18 Plaintiff. As noted above, Spring Street House was purchased after the monies were paid back, 19 and Plaintiff moved in more than five years later. (Dkt No. 93-1 at 3–4, 10–11.) Plaintiff is 20 unable to provide the necessary link between the federal funds and the Spring Street House, or 21 his time spent living there. 22 To prevail on a Title VI claim Plaintiff must prove all elements of the claim. See Clarke, 23 703 F. Supp. 2d at 1050; Davison ex rel. Sims v. Santa Barbara High Sch. Dist., 48 F. Supp. 2d 24 25 26 1 Plaintiff’s Title VI claim is fatally deficient for the reasons laid out in this order. However, it is important to note that Defendant Delaney cannot be sued as an individual or in her official capacity under Title VI. Title VI only offers a right of action against entities. Walden v. Moffett, 2006 WL 947738, at *9 (E.D. Cal. Apr. 12, 2006). ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT PAGE - 4 1 1225, 1229 (C.D. Cal. 1998). Because Plaintiff has failed to make a sufficient showing that 2 Defendants were receiving federal financial assistance and that he was the intended beneficiary 3 of the federal funds, the Court need not consider the racial discrimination element. Accordingly, 4 Plaintiff’s Title VI claim is DISMISSED with prejudice and Defendants’ motion for summary 5 judgment is GRANTED. 2 6 C. State Law Claims 7 “The district courts may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction” over state law 8 claims, if the court “has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. 9 § 1367(c). Here, because Plaintiff failed to properly allege a Title VI claim, the Court no longer 10 retains original jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims. Therefore, the Court declines 11 jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s state law causes of action. All remaining claims are DISMISSED 12 without prejudice. III. 13 14 CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, Defendant’s motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 92) is 15 GRANTED. Plaintiff’s Title VI claim is DISMISSED with prejudice and his remaining state law 16 claims, assault and defamation, are DISMISSED without prejudice. 17 DATED this 8th day of August 2017. A 18 19 20 John C. Coughenour UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 21 22 23 24 25 26 2 Plaintiff requests the Court allow him additional time to find representation in this matter. (Dkt. No. 97 at 2.) However, it is improper to grant this request because Plaintiff’s claim is incurably deficient. ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT PAGE - 5

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