United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
D. WOLSON, J.
Madden has sued Canus Corporation, alleging that Canus has
delayed unreasonably in processing her application to rent an
apartment at the Ardmore Crossing housing complex. Canus
moves to dismiss, arguing that Ms. Madden's claims are
not ripe and that they fail in any event. The Court concludes
that the claims are ripe to the extent they allege an
unreasonable delay in processing Ms. Madden's
application. Some of Ms. Madden's claims fail, including
two that she concedes fail. For others, however, including
claims under the Fair Housing Act and the Rehabilitation Act,
Ms. Madden has pled plausible claims that can move forward.
Madden suffers from congestive heart failure with atrial
fibrillation, which affects her ability to walk, climb
stairs, lift items, and/or stand for long periods of time.
(ECF No. 12 ¶¶ 12-13.) She also suffers from
depression and maintains an emotional support cat.
(Id. at ¶ 10.) In April 2017, Ms. Madden began
the process of applying to participate in the Montgomery
County Housing Authority's (“MCHA”) Housing
Choice Voucher Program for affordable senior housing at
Ardmore Crossing, which is an apartment complex that Canus
owns and/or managers. (Id. at ¶¶ 6, 15.)
On March 2, 2018, Ms. Madden received a notification that she
was at the top of the waiting list for an apartment at
Ardmore Crossing. (Id. at ¶ 18.) Ms. Madden
then tried to ascertain whether she would be able to bring
her emotional support cat with her. (Id. at
¶¶ 18-33.) During a meeting on September 20, 2018,
Canus representatives agreed that Ms. Madden's request
for an accommodation for her emotional support cat would be
tabled for an indefinite period. (Id. at ¶ 31.)
At some unspecified point, Canus stated that her application
to Ardmore Crossing should be skipped because of her
disability. (Id. at ¶ 88.)
September 26, 2018, MCHA issued an Ardmore Crossing housing
voucher to Ms. Madden. (Id. at ¶ 33.) On
October 9, 2018, Canus advised Ms. Madden that there was an
empty unit but that the apartment required a full renovation
before Canus could show the apartment or accept a new
application. (Id. at ¶ 35.) Ms. Madden contends
this was false. (Id. at ¶ 107.) Canus later
advised Ms. Madden that renovations had stalled because a
needed roof replacement took priority. (Id. at
¶¶ 37, 41.) Ms. Madden contends this statement was
false as well. (Id. at ¶ 108.) Over the next
few months, Ms. Madden made repeated inquiries as to the
status of the apartment and the overall application process,
to no avail. (Id. at ¶¶ 37-43.)
March 2019, a resident of Ardmore Crossing told Ms. Madden
that there were three vacant units in the building.
(Id. at ¶ 44.) Ms. Madden initiated this
lawsuit on April 15, 2019. Then, on May 23, 2019, Canus
advised that it would contact Ms. Madden when an appointment
could be scheduled so that she could continue with the rental
process. (Id. at ¶ 46.) From that time until
July 2, 2019, Ms. Madden did not receive any notice about the
status of her application, nor had Canus scheduled an
appointment. (Id. at ¶ 47.) When Ms. Madden
filed her Amended Complaint on July 15, 2019, she did not
indicate the status of her rental application.
Amended Complaint, Ms. Madden asserts claims against Canus
for discrimination under the Fair Housing Act
(“FHA”) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
(“Rehab Act”), violations of Pennsylvania's
Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law
(“UTPCPL”) and 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3), and
common law claims for misrepresentation and concerted
district court may dismiss a plaintiff's complaint for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1).
The party asserting subject matter jurisdiction bears the
burden of establishing its existence. See Lincoln Ben.
Life Co. v. AEI Life, LLC, 800 F.3d 99, 105 (3d Cir.
2015) (citation omitted). Challenges to subject matter
jurisdiction may be facial or factual. See Id.
“A facial attack ‘concerns an alleged pleading
deficiency whereas a factual attack concerns the actual
failure of [a plaintiff's] claims to comport [factually]
with the jurisdictional prerequisites.'”
Id. (quote omitted). “In reviewing a facial
attack, the court must only consider the allegations of the
complaint and documents referenced therein and attached
thereto, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.”
district court may also dismiss a plaintiff's complaint
for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Rather than require detailed
pleadings, the “Rules demand only a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief[.]” Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp.,
809 F.3d 780, 786 (3d Cir. 2016) (quotation omitted).
“To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Id. (same). A claim has facial plausibility when the
complaint contains factual allegations that permit the court
“to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.
(same). In doing so, the court must “draw on its
judicial experience and common sense.” Id.
(same). Under the governing “pleading regime[, ]”
a court confronted with a 12(b)(6) motion must take three
steps. First, it must identify the elements needed to set
forth a particular claim. Id. at 878 (same). Second,
it should identify conclusory allegations, such as legal
conclusions, that are not entitled to the presumption of
truth. Id. (same). Third, with respect to
well-pleaded factual allegations, the court should accept
those allegations as true and “determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.”
Id. (same). The court must “construe those
truths in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and then
draw all reasonable inferences from them.” Id.
at 790 (citations omitted).
contends that because it has not denied Ms. Madden a unit at
Ardmore Crossing and has not denied her request to
accommodate her emotional support animal, Ms. Madden's
FHA claims are not ripe for adjudication. That argument
ignores Ms. Madden's allegations that Canus' delay in
processing her rental application harmed her. Viewed through
this lens, Ms. Madden's claims are ripe for review.
III of the Constitution limits the federal judiciary's
authority to exercise its ‘judicial Power' to
‘Cases' and ‘Controversies.'”
Plains All Am. Pipeline L.P. v. Cook, 866 F.3d 534,
538-39 (3d Cir. 2017) (quotation omitted). The ripeness
doctrine operates “to determine whether a party has
brought an action prematurely . . . and counsels abstention
until such a time as a dispute is sufficiently concrete to
satisfy the constitutional and prudential requirements . . .
.” Id. (quotation omitted). “[T]he
Supreme Court laid out two principal considerations for
gauging ripeness including (1) ‘the fitness of the
issues for judicial decision' and (2) ‘the hardship
to the parties of withholding court
consideration.'” Id. (quoting Abbott
Labs. v. Gardner, 387 U.S. 136, 149 (1967),
abrogated on other grounds, Califano v.
Sanders, 430 U.S. 99 (1977)). “When making a
‘fitness for review' determination, a court
considers whether the issues presented are purely legal, and
the degree to which the challenged action is final. A court
must consider whether the claims involve uncertain and
contingent events that may not ...