Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Earl A. Pondexter v. the Allegheny County Housing Authority

August 21, 2012

EARL A. PONDEXTER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE ALLEGHENY COUNTY HOUSING AUTHORITY,
JAMES T. ZAPF, FRANK AGGAZIO, THOMAS MCPOYLE, AND JOHN JOYCE,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Nora Barry Fischer

MEMORANDUM OPINION

I. INTRODUCTION

The present matter is before the Court on cross motions for summary judgment. (Docket Nos. 98 and 100). Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, claims that Defendants, the Allegheny County Housing Authority, James T. Zapf, Frank Aggazio, Thomas McPoyle, and John Joyce, et al. (collectively "ACHA")*fn1 unlawfully denied his housing application based on his alleged mental disability and race discrimination. (Docket No. 4). He has brought federal and state law claims against the ACHA relying on these allegations and has moved for summary judgment arguing that he is entitled to judgment on same. (Docket No. 98). ACHA cross-moves for summary judgment, arguing that there is no proof that Plaintiff ever applied for housing assistance with the ACHA and that he has otherwise failed to present evidence sufficient to sustain any of his claims. (Docket No. 100 at 2-3). For the reasons that follow, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED and Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED, with prejudice.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND*fn2

A.Disability Status

In June 1996, the Social Security Administration determined that Plaintiff was totally disabled, (Docket No. 102-1 at 1), because he was diagnosed with "adjustment and impulse control disorder with narcissistic personality" and was "compulsively disturbed and potentially homicidal." (Id. at 2).*fn3 In his Second Amended Response to ACHA's Motion, Plaintiff maintains that he has mental health issues and is disabled. (Docket No. 111 at 10-11). Given same, ACHA concedes that for purposes of the present summary judgment proceedings, Plaintiff's diagnosis qualifies as a disability. (Docket No. 101 at 2).

B.Housing Application

By way of background, the ACHA's admissions policy states that in order for an applicant to receive housing assistance, he/she must complete and submit an application via mail or hand delivery. (Docket Nos. 102-1 at 35; 109-1 at 1). The application requires an applicant to disclose his/her criminal history and explains that a criminal background check will be conducted and used to determine eligibility. (Docket No. 111-1 at 16-20). Applications are entered into the ACHA computer system to be processed in the order in which they are received. (Docket No. 109-1 at 1).

Plaintiff alleges that on May 1, 2010, he downloaded an Allegheny County Low Income Housing application. (Docket No. 4at ¶¶ 22-23). Plaintiff contends that he submitted his completed and signed application to ACHA via regular mail through the United States Postal Service on May 10, 2010.*fn4 (Docket No. 111 at 8). ACHA disputes Plaintiff's recitation of these facts. (See Docket No. 101). Rather, it claims that it has no record of Plaintiff's application and asserts that Plaintiff has admitted that he cannot prove that he submitted an application. (Id. at ¶¶ 20-22).

To that end, Mr. James Bulls, the ACHA Director of Housing Management-Operations Department, filed an Affidavit stating that upon a review of its records, as well as an inquiry with the site managers, the ACHA has no knowledge of Plaintiff's May 2010 application. (Docket No. 102-1 at 40). Mr. Bulls also determined that Plaintiff's name does not currently appear on the ACHA's waiting list. (Id.). In addition, ACHA filed its list of applications received from April 2010 through June 2010, which reveals that the ACHA did not receive an application from Plaintiff. (Id. at 41-44).

In the course of discovery, ACHA requested that Plaintiff produce his May 2010 application and any supporting documentation. (Id. at 38). Plaintiff did not respond. (Docket No. 95). Hence, during the Court's Telephonic Post Fact Discovery Status Conference, ACHA again requested all documents in support of Plaintiff's claim to which he replied that he did not have any additional documents and would rely on the mailbox rule to establish the fact of his application. (Id.). In addition, Plaintiff admitted that he cannot prove that he submitted an application to the ACHA. (Docket No. 25 at p. 45, lns. 19-24).

C.HUD FHEO and PHRC Complaints

On May 28, 2010, Plaintiff filed a 903 United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity ("FHEO") discrimination complaint against ACHA with the Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh.*fn5 (Docket No. 4 at ¶ 24). HUD FHEO did not review or investigate the complaint and closed the case. (Id. at ¶ 25). Subsequently, on December 13, 2010, Plaintiff filed a Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA") Complaint against ACHA. (Id. at ¶¶ 25-26). On May 27, 2011, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ("PHRC") determined that Plaintiff never filed an application and concluded that there was insufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case of discrimination. (Id at ¶ 27; Docket Nos. 98-1 at 10; 102-1 at 24-34).

D.Threats Against a Federal Judge

Plaintiff asserts that the ACHA improperly influenced the PHRC while his PHRC claim was pending. (Docket Nos. 98 at 15; 25 at p.61, lns. 3-6). In particular, he maintains that ACHA's April 22, 2011 letter to the PHRC falsely accused him of being arrested for threatening a federal judge. (Id.). Plaintiff makes this allegation because the PHRC's Findings noted that Plaintiff "was arrested for threatening the Federal District Court Judge who was hearing his discrimination complaint against [ACHA]." (Docket No. 102-1 at 26-27). While that suit was pending, Plaintiff had filed a Motion to Disqualify the Honorable Joy Flowers Conti because he was visited by the United States Marshals. (Docket No. 102-1 at 82). In a Memorandum Order, wherein she recused herself, Judge Conti wrote that the Marshals visited Plaintiff due to "comments made by him on the record during a status conference held on April 19, 2005." (Id.). ACHA concedes for purposes of the present summary judgment proceedings that Plaintiff was not arrested for threatening a federal judge in 2005.*fn6 (Docket No. 101 at 6).

III. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

After Plaintiff's PHRA complaint was dismissed, Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint alleging race and disability discrimination against ACHA, on June 30, 2011. (Docket No. 4).*fn7

Plaintiff asserts claims under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d ("Title VI"); the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq. ("FHA"); 42 U.S.C. § 1983; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794 ("Rehabilitation Act"); the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. ("ADA'); 42 U.S.C. § 1986; the Housing and Community Development Act, 42 U.S.C. § 5301 et seq. ("HCDA"); 42 U.S.C. § 14141; as well as criminal claims under 42 U.S.C. § 3631 and 18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242 and 245. (Id.).

On November 28, 2011, ACHA filed its Answer, denying liability. (Docket No. 55).

During the Court's Telephonic Post Fact Discovery Status Conference, the parties advised that discovery was complete with the exception of Plaintiff's request for the April 22, 2011 letter*fn8 referenced in the PHRC's Findings. (Docket No. 95). Accordingly, the Court entered an Order directing ACHA to produce said letter. (Docket No. 96). ACHA then produced the letter, effectively concluding discovery. (Docket No. 97). Subsequently, the Court entered an Order scheduling dispositive motions. (Id.).

Plaintiff timely filed his Motion for Summary Judgment. (Docket No. 98). Next, ACHA timely filed its Motion for Summary Judgment, (Docket No. 100), followed by its Concise Statement of Material Facts, (Docket No. 101), Exhibits related to same, (Docket No. 102), and Supporting Brief, (Docket No. 103). In turn, Plaintiff filed his Response, (Docket No. 104), as well as his Brief and Concise Statement of Material Facts, (Docket No. 105). ACHA responded to Plaintiff's Motion, (Docket No. 106), and submitted its Brief in Opposition, (Docket No. 108). Plaintiff then filed an Amended Response to ACHA's Motion. (Docket No. 109). Subsequently, upon review of Plaintiff's filings (Docket Nos. 104; 105; 109), wherein the Plaintiff asserted conclusions of law and legal argument, but very few statements of fact,*fn9 the Court entered an Order, directing Plaintiff to file a Second Amended Response to ACHA's Motion, in compliance with Rule 56 and L.Cv.R. 56(C).*fn10 (Docket No. 110). Plaintiff then filed his Second Amended Response with the same defects. (Docket No. 111).

Accordingly, these cross Motions for Summary Judgment are now fully briefed, (Docket Nos. 103; 105; 108; 109; 111), and ripe for disposition.

IV. OVERVIEW OF PARTIES' ARGUMENTS

A.Plaintiff's Arguments

The Court construes Plaintiff's papers to raise three arguments in support of his Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff contends that he has proved a prima facie case of race and disability discrimination under Title VI, the FHA, the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA because he has used the mailbox rule to establish that he applied for housing with ACHA. (Docket Nos. 4 at ¶ 1; 98 at 13-15; 4 at ¶ 1; 104 at 9). Plaintiff also maintains that ACHA's assertion that it never received his application is pretext for discrimination. (Id.). Next, Plaintiff argues that ACHA's counsel committed a fraud on the Court by stating that ACHA did not receive his application. (Docket No. 104 at 11). Finally, with respect to his defamation claim, Plaintiff avers that ACHA's assertion to the PHRC that he was arrested for threatening a federal judge was defamatory and improperly influenced the PHRC's investigation. (Docket Nos. 98 at 16; 4 at ¶¶ 40-41).

B.ACHA's Arguments

ACHA raises several defenses. ACHA argues that Plaintiff's claims under Title VI, the FHA, the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA fail because he has not proved a prima facie case of race and disability discrimination as there is no evidence that he applied for ACHA housing or that the ACHA denied his application. (Docket No. 100 at ¶¶ 5-8).

Next, ACHA contends that municipalities and municipal organizations, such as itself, cannot be found liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1986. (Id. at ¶ 9). ACHA then asserts that Plaintiff's claims under 42 U.S.C. § 5309, 42 U.S.C. § 1437 and 42 U.S.C. § 14141 do not provide private rights of action. (Id. at ¶¶ 10-12). ACHA also avers that Plaintiff lacks the authority to enforce criminal statutes, 42 U.S.C. § 3631 and 42 U.S.C. §§ 241; 242; and 245. (Id. at ¶ 13). In addition, ACHA maintains that Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim fails because Plaintiff has not established any deprivation of his constitutional rights. (Id. at ¶ 14). Finally, ACHA states ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.