FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This case was referred to the undersigned pursuant to Eastern District of California Local Rule 302(c)(21). See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). On May 11, 2011, the court heard defendant Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency's ("SHRA") motion for summary judgment. Dckt. No. 28. Attorney Melissa Greenidge appeared at the hearing on behalf of SHRA. Plaintiff failed to appear at the hearing.*fn1 For the reasons that follow, the court recommends that SHRA's motion for summary judgment be granted.
On July 1, 2009, plaintiff filed a complaint against SHRA and Chesapeake Commons Holdings, LLC ("CCH"), alleging that both defendants violated the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. ("FHA").*fn2 Dckt. No. 1, Compl. Plaintiff raises the following claims: (1) SHRA discriminated against plaintiff because of her race in violation of the FHA; (2) SHRA and CCH conspired to violate plaintiff's rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985; and (3) SHRA and CCH "failed to take reasonable steps necessary to prevent discrimination" against plaintiff. Id. at 9-10. On February 4, 2011, SHRA filed an answer to plaintiff's complaint, Dckt. No. 9, and now seeks summary judgment. SHRA's Mot. For Summ. J. ("SHRA's MSJ"), Dckt. No. 28.
II. DEFENDANT SHRA'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
A. Summary Judgment Standard
Summary judgment is appropriate when it is demonstrated that there exists "no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Under summary judgment practice, the moving party always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any," which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)).
Summary judgment avoids unnecessary trials in cases with no genuinely disputed material facts. See N. W. Motorcycle Ass'n v. U .S. Dep't of Agric., 18 F.3d 1468, 1471 (9th Cir. 1994). At issue is "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986). Thus, Rule 56 serves to screen the latter cases from those which actually require resolution of genuine disputes over material facts; e.g., issues that can only be determined through presentation of testimony at trial such as the credibility of conflicting testimony over facts that make a difference in the outcome. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.
If the moving party meets its initial responsibility, the opposing party must establish that a genuine issue as to any material fact actually does exist. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). To overcome summary judgment, the opposing party must demonstrate a factual dispute that is both material, i.e. it affects the outcome of the claim under the governing law, see Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987), and genuine, i.e., the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. See Wool v. Tandem Computers, Inc., 818 F.2d 1433, 1436 (9th Cir. 1987). In attempting to establish the existence of a factual dispute that is genuine, the opposing party may not rely upon the allegations or denials of its pleadings but is required to tender evidence of specific facts in the form of affidavits, and/or admissible discovery material, in support of its contention that the dispute exists. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586 n. 11.
In resolving a summary judgment motion, the court examines the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The evidence of the opposing party is to be believed. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. All reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the facts placed before the court must be drawn in favor of the opposing party. See Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587. Nevertheless, inferences are not drawn out of the air, and it is the opposing party's obligation to produce a factual predicate from which the inference may be drawn. See Richards v. Nielsen Freight Lines, 602 F. Supp. 1224, 1244--45 (E.D. Cal. 1985), aff'd, 810 F.2d 898, 902 (9th Cir. 1987). Finally, to demonstrate a genuine issue, the opposing party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts . . . . Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no 'genuine issue for trial.' " Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (citation omitted).
SHRA administers a Housing Choice Voucher program ("HCV") (formerly known as Section 8) which provides rent subsidies for qualified tenants in privately owned rentals, in compliance with federal guidelines. SHRA's Statement of Undisputed Material Facts ("SUF"), Dckt. No. 28-2, ¶ 2.*fn3 CCH is the owner of an apartment complex in Rancho Cordova, California.
Plaintiff is a participant in the HCV program. Compl. at 3. In 2004, she moved into a one-bedroom apartment owned by CCH. Id.; SUF ¶ 12. Plaintiff alleges that although under SHRA guidelines she was eligible for a two-bedroom apartment, CCH assigned her a one-bedroom apartment when she moved in.*fn4 Compl. at 3-4. Plaintiff also alleges that she contacted SHRA several times to complain about the situation but that "SHRA did nothing to remedy the problem." Id. at 4-5.
In April 2007, CCH initiated unlawful detainer proceedings against plaintiff based on an alleged failure to pay sums due under her lease. Id. at 5; SUF ¶ 14. Plaintiff alleges that she informed SHRA about the eviction notice and "the court appearance."*fn5 Id. Plaintiff claims SHRA "told [her] that they would send someone to the Court on the day of the hearing to verify that [plaintiff] did not owe any rent or water and trash payments" to CCH. Id. at 6. No SHRA representative appeared at the eviction hearing. Id. Plaintiff alleges SHRA's actions violated her rights. Id. at 8. However, SHRA does not provide tenants with legal representation, SUF ¶ 11, and it is the tenant's responsibility to ...