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Farnsworth v. Christians

September 25, 2009

KARI FARNSWORTH AND ELISHA FARNSWORTH, A MINOR, BY AND THROUGH HER GUARDIAN AD LITEM KARI FARNSWORTH, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
PATRICIA A. CHRISTIANS AND TRINITY MANAGEMENT COMPANY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. United States District Judge

TENTATIVE RULING ON ISSUES INVOLVED WITH PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION; AND ISSUES TO BE DISCUSSED AT HEARING

On July 13, 2009, Plaintiffs filed a motion for summary adjudication of three claims in their lawsuit involving Defendants' alleged discriminatory housing practices; specifically, Plaintiffs seek summary adjudication on their following three claims: (1) Violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604;(2) Violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act,*fn1 Cal. Gov. Code § 12955; and (3) Violation of California Business and Professions Code section 1720.

As a preliminary matter, Kari Farnsworth is appointed guardian ad litem for her daughter, Elisha Farnsworth. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 17(c). Although Plaintiffs failed to alert the Judge to the need for this appointment as required by the applicable local rule, the appointment is made in accordance with the Petition for Appointment filed with Plaintiffs' Complaint on August 12, 2008. E.D. Cal. R. 17-202(a) (requiring appropriate evidence of the appointment having been made under state law or a motion for the appointment).

I. BACKGROUND

At issue is whether Defendants discriminated against Plaintiffs by subjecting Plaintiffs to discriminatory rules which treated Plaintiffs child and family differently and less favorably than adults-only households. On June 1, 2004, Plaintiff Kari Farnsworth and her then nine-year-old daughter, Plaintiff Elisha Farnsworth, moved into the Parkwood Terrace Apartments in Redding, California. (Statement of Undisputed Facts ("SUF") 5:1-9.) From 2002 to 2007, the Parkwood Terrace Apartments were owned and operated by Defendant Patricia A. Christians, doing business as Trinity Management Company, also a Defendant. (SUF 2:8-14.) In addition to the Rental Agreement and Lease, tenants were required to sign a form entitled "House Rules and Regulations." (Christians Depo. 14:19-25; Pls.'

Notice of Lodgement Ex. 2.) Under the "Children-Strictly Inforced" [sic] section, the House Rules state:

1. Children 14 years or younger must be attended by parent or guardeon [sic] in common areas

2. Children are not to climb on trees or landscaping; Damage will be charged to the tenant.

3. No Screaming for children or at children outside will be tolerated.(Noise Violation)

4. No Rock throwing will be tolerated. Proper conduct of your children is your responsibility.

(Pls.' Notice of Lodgement Ex. 2.) [the first sentence is hereinafter referred to as the Supervision Rule]. Kari Farnsworth signed the House Rules on April 2, 2005. (Id.)

During her tenancy at Parkwood Terrace, Kari Farnsworth received two Notices of Termination of Tenancy. The first notice stated no reason for the termination and required Plaintiffs to vacate the premises within 60 days of the notice or on January 9, 2007, whichever was later. (Pls.' Notice of Lodgement Ex. 3.) The second notice stated:

Tenancy is terminated due to the following violations of the Lease/Rental Agreement:

1. Children 14 Years or younger must be attended by an adult in ...


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