The opinion of the court was delivered by: JEFFREY MILLER, District Judge
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS; GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND
Defendants Warner Springs Estate Homeowners Association
(erroneously also identified as defendant Stoneridge Estates
Homeowners Association), The Newport Pacific Management Company,
Ron Houck, Geri Houck, Doug Tomlin, Jerry Bunnell, Jim March and
Bob Roland move to dismiss Plaintiff's Fair Housing Act complaint
for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
Defendants Gunther Seidl, Arlette Seidl, Dee March, Rita
Gonzalez, Louis Gonzalez, Theresa Koch, Larry Strickland, and
Mimi Strickland join in the motion to dismiss. Plaintiff opposes
the motion. Pursuant to Local Rule 7.1(d)(1) the court finds this
matter appropriate for decision without oral argument. For the
reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim is granted with 20 days leave to amend from the
date of entry of this order. BACKGROUND
Plaintiff commenced this federal question action on January 25,
2005 alleging that Defendants violated her constitutional rights
under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985. Plaintiff
resides in an area known as Warner Springs Estates which is
located in the town of Warner Springs, California. On January 27,
2004 Plaintiff alleges that defendant Jerry Bunnell, the head of
the Architectural Control Committee ("ACC") of the Warner Springs
Homeowners Association ("Homeowner's Association"), entered her
property without permission and, when confronted by Plaintiff, he
identified himself and "stated that he was the head of the ACC
and damn well would go anywhere he wanted." (Compl. ¶ 13). He
then shoved Plaintiff out of the way and began to come up the
driveway. When Jerry Bunnell was notified that Plaintiff intended
to call the police because he was trespassing, he "immediately
left the scene." (Compl. ¶ 19).
On or about August 18, 2004 Plaintiff alleges that she sought
to attend a bible study class at the clubhouse of the
association. Plaintiff alleges that various Defendants locked the
bible study class out of the clubhouse and acted in a disruptive
manner. (Compl. ¶¶ 55-57). On September 15, 2004 Plaintiff again
tried to attend the bible study class but was allegedly prevented
by individuals associated with the Homeowner's Association from
attending the class. Plaintiff alleges that she and other
residents of the community were "denied the right to assemble
with the bible study group on several consecutive occasions while
attempting to attend the study." (Compl. ¶ 67).
The original complaint alleged a single federal claim for
violation of her civil rights and state law claims for assault,
battery, trespass, intentional infliction of emotional distress,
negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligence. On
May 17, 2005 the court dismissed the civil rights complaint with
leave to amend on the ground that the Defendants were not state
actors for purposes of the Civil Rights Act. On June 5, 2005 Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint
("FAC") alleging the same state law claims and a single claim
arising under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.
("FHA"). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated her FHA
rights when she was denied access to the Association's clubhouse
to attend the bible study class. (FAC ¶ 56). Plaintiff alleged
that the clubhouse had been used for years as a meeting place for
the bible study class. (FAC ¶ 57).
On or about August 17, 2004 Plaintiff alleges that the
Homeowners Association prohibited the use of the clubhouse for
"religious or political activities." (FAC ¶ 53; Exh. A). On
August 18, 2004 Plaintiff attempted to attend the bible study
class at the clubhouse but was "locked out" by defendants Ron and
Geri Houck. On September 15, 2004 Plaintiff was once again unable
"to attend bible study" at the clubhouse. (FAC ¶ 58). Plaintiff
alleges that various individuals, including defendants Gunther
and Arlettte Seidl, Theresa Koch, Rita and Luis Gonzalez, and
Doug Tomlin, played "blaring music, serv[ed] alcohol, and
creat[ed] a menacing atmosphere of humiliation, intimidation, and
harassment. All done with the corrupt motivation to disrupt or
terminate the bible study." (FAC ¶ 60). When one member of the
bible study class attempted to video record the "chaos,"
Plaintiff alleges that defendant Theresa Koch "violently
attempted to tear the video camera from the hands of" the bible
study member. (FAC ¶ 62). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants
created an "oppressive atmosphere." (FAC ¶ 62). Among other
things, Plaintiff alleges that one of the property manager
defendants, Geri Houck, a "power hungry women, and the board,
steered a felonious multiple convicted pedophile, to harass the
plaintiff." (FAC ¶ 74).
Plaintiff also alleges that the Homeowner's Association and its
president, defendant Tomlin, "uses a de-facto goon squad (of
violent individuals like Mr. Bunnell and others, if necessary) to
abuse and intimidate its senior citizens into fearful compliance
with the issuance of the boards dictatorial edicts which all to
often violates the residents' housing rights, and results in
systemic patterns of housing discrimination practices." (FAC ¶
52). Plaintiff alleges that the use of the clubhouse constitutes
a provision of services "in connection with the terms, conditions,
or privileges or sale or rental of a dwelling at Warner Springs
Estates." (FAC ¶ 55).
Defendants now move to dismiss the FHA claim on the ground that
it fails to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) and therefore the
court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the action.
Plaintiff opposes the motion.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) dismissal is proper
only in "extraordinary" cases. United States v. Redwood City,
640 F.2d 963, 966 (9th Cir. 1981). Courts should grant 12(b)(6)
relief only where a plaintiff's complaint lacks a "cognizable
legal theory" or sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal
theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dept., 901 F.2d 696, 699
(9th Cir. 1990). Courts should not dismiss a complaint "unless it
appears beyond doubt that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in
support of his claim which would entitle [the party] to relief."
Moore v. City of Costa Mesa, 886 F.2d 260, 262 (9th Cir. 1989)
(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)), cert.
denied, 496 U.S. 906 (1990). Courts must construe the complaint
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Concha v.
London, 62 F.3d 1493, 1500 (9th Cir. 1995), cert. dismissed,
116 S. Ct. 1710 (1996). Accordingly, courts must accept as true
all material allegations in the complaint, as well as reasonable
inferences to be drawn from them. See Holden v. Hagopian,
978 F.2d 1115, 1118 (9th Cir. 1992).
Where a plaintiff appears in propria persona in a civil
rights case, the court must construe the pleadings liberally and
afford the plaintiff any benefit of the doubt. Karim-Panahi v.
Los Angeles Police Dept., 839 F.2d 621 at 623 (9th Cir. 1988).
The rule of liberal construction is "particularly important in
civil rights cases." Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1261
(9th Cir. 1992). In giving liberal interpretation to a pro se
civil rights complaint, however, the court may not "supply
essential elements of claims that were not initially pled." Ivey
v. Board of Regents of the University of Alaska, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982). "Vague and
conclusory allegations of official participation in civil rights
violations are not sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss."
Id.; see also Jones v. Community Redevelopment Agency,
733 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984) (conclusory allegations unsupported
by facts are insufficient to state a claim under section 1983.)
"The plaintiff must allege with at least some degree of
particularity overt acts which defendants engaged in that support
the plaintiff's claim." Jones, 733 F.2d at 649 (internal
Federal Courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They can
adjudicate only those cases which the Constitution and Congress
authorize them to adjudicate: essentially those cases involving
diversity of citizenship, federal question, or to which the
Untied States is a party. See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins.
Co. Of America, 511 U.S. 375 (1994). Federal courts are
presumptively without jurisdiction over civil ...