United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Richard G. Kopf Senior United States District Judge
filed her Complaint on March 8, 2017. (Filing No.
1.) She has been granted leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. (Filing No. 3.) The court now conducts an
initial review of Plaintiff’s Complaint to determine
whether summary dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
brings this action against the Open Door Mission
(“ODM”) and its CEO, Candace Gregory
(“Gregory”). (Filing No. 1.) Plaintiff
moved into ODM at the end of January 2015 to escape an
abusive landlord. (Id. at CM/ECF pp. 4-5.) She
stayed in ODM’s emergency shelter for six weeks
awaiting a “Permanent Supportive Housing”
(“PSH”) room. (Id.)
alleges that she has “multiple chemical
sensitivities.” (Id. at CM/ECF p. 5.) She
admits that ODM staff announced many times to the women
residents not to spray air fresheners or perfumes in their
attempt to accommodate Plaintiff’s “chemical
sensitivities.” (Id.) She alleges that a small
group of women defied the rule. (Id.) ODM Director
Steve Frazee denied her request to sleep in the separate
community room that night, but he allowed another resident to
sleep in there the next night. (Id.) Plaintiff
informed Gregory about the situation. (Id.)
alleges that she requested that “intern Pam” not
wear perfume at work. (Id.) Pam harassed Plaintiff
about her reasonable accommodation request and the harassment
continued after Plaintiff reported it to ODM social worker
Tina Murray (“Murray”). (Id.) Plaintiff
alleges that over the next several weeks, six to seven women,
who applied for rooms after Plaintiff, received a PSH room.
(Id.) Plaintiff informed Murray and Gregory.
(Id.) Gregory informed Plaintiff that she needed
living quarters elsewhere without shared bathrooms and
alleges that she later wrote Murray and Gregory and asked if
she could sleep in the community room that night if another
woman resident sprayed the room like she did the night
before. (Id.) Plaintiff claims that she got no
response and the woman “sprayed up the room just before
bedtime.” (Id.) Staff told Plaintiff,
“Steve says this is no place for accommodations and go
to another shelter.” (Id.) Plaintiff states
that she told them she suffered abuse at the other shelters
and could not go to them. (Id.) Staff informed her
she could call Steve (presumably Director Frazee).
(Id.) Plaintiff alleges that when she asked them to
call him, staff told her to leave or they would call the
police. (Id.) Plaintiff states that she had to leave
without finding another shelter first. (Id.)
seeks compensatory and punitive damages from ODM, primarily
because her dismissal from ODM subjected her to six months of
“rough shelter environments,” which exacerbated
her PTSD caused from her abusive landlord. (Id. at
CM/ECF p. 5.)
APPLICABLE STANDARDS OF REVIEW
court is required to review in forma pauperis complaints to
determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The court must dismiss
a complaint or any portion of it that states a frivolous or
malicious claim, that fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
plaintiffs must set forth enough factual allegations to
“nudge their claims across the line from conceivable
to plausible,” or “their complaint must be
dismissed.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 569-70 (2007); see also Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”).
essential function of a complaint under the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure is to give the opposing party ‘fair
notice of the nature and basis or grounds for a claim, and a
general indication of the type of litigation
involved.’” Topchian v. JPMorgan Chase Bank,
N.A., 760 F.3d 843, 848 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Hopkins v. Saunders, 199 F.3d 968, 973 (8th Cir.
1999)). However, “[a] pro se complaint must be
liberally construed, and pro se litigants are held to a
lesser pleading standard than other parties.”
Topchian, 760 F.3d at 849 (internal quotation marks
and citations omitted).
asserts claims under the Fair Housing Act
(“FHA”), see42 U.S.C. §§ 3601,
et seq. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p.
3.) The FHA makes it unlawful to
“discriminate against any person in the terms,
conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or
in the provision of services or facilities in connection with
such dwelling, because of a handicap of - - (A) that person .
. . .” 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(2)(A). Several courts
have concluded that temporary homeless shelters are
“dwellings” under the FHA. See Hunter on
behalf ofA.H. v. D.C., 64 F.Supp.3d 158, 174
(D.D.C. 2014) (citing cases). Discrimination includes
“a refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules,
policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations
may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to
use and enjoy a dwelling . . . .” 42 U.S.C. §
3604(f)(3)(B). The term “handicap” is defined as
a person ...