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Hamilton v. Lincoln Mariners Associates Limited

United States District Court, S.D. California

October 14, 2014

JAMES HAMILTON, an individual, Plaintiff,
LINCOLN MARINERS ASSOCIATES LIMITED, dba MARINERS COVE APARTMENT HOMES, a limited liability company; AIMCO-GP, INC, a corporation; MARIBEL ROBLES, an individual; and DOES 1 through 20, inclusive, Defendant.


WILLIAM Q. HAYES, District Judge.

The matter before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants. (ECF No. 3).

I. Background

On June 11, 2014, Plaintiff James Hamilton commenced this action by filing the Complaint in San Diego County Superior Court. (ECF No. 1 at 9). On July 17, 2014, Defendants Lincoln Mariners Associates Limited, dba Mariners Cove Apartment Homes ("Mariners Cove"), Aimco-GP, Inc. ("Aimco"), and Maribel Robles (collectively "Defendants") removed to this Court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction. (ECF No. 1 at 2). On July 24, 2014, Defendants filed the Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 3). On August 19, 2014, Plaintiff filed an opposition. (ECF No. 4). On August 26, 2014, Defendants filed a reply. (ECF No. 5).

II. Allegations of the Complaint

Since February 2012, Plaintiff has been a resident of 4330 West Point Loma Boulevard, leased by Mariners Cove. Plaintiff has been diagnosed by the Veterans Administration with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ("PTSD") "with a 100% disability rating" and "degenerative arthritis, bulging discs, and chronic pain in the lower lumbar of the back and spine" with a disability rating of 50%. (ECF No. 1 at 12). "Plaintiff notified Defendants of his disabilities in February, 2012. He later reminded them of his disabilities, including, but not limited to, the date of approval of his parking space assignment, and at the times Plaintiff made complaints about the dumpster noise, dumpster smell, and parking lot traffic. Id.

When Plaintiff first signed a lease with Mariners Cove, he requested a three bedroom apartment. Plaintiff was told he would be placed on a waiting list and would be notified when a three bedroom apartment became available. Plaintiff later learned that a three bedroom apartment had become available, but he witnessed new tenants moving into that apartment. "Defendants then disclosed that there was not, in fact, a waiting list, and that the prior representation was false." Id. at 12. When Plaintiff complained to corporate customer relations about this "false representation, " "the necessity to have the dumpster relocated, " and his disability, Defendants failed to accommodate him and instead retaliated. Id.

Plaintiff also complained to Mariners Cove about electrical, plumbing, and mechanical violations in the building, "unsatisfactory disabled access (raised sidewalks and limited parking spaces), substandard housing conditions, excessive noise (especially around the dumpster), fire hazards regarding excessive leaves and tree debris in the gutter systems and on the roofs, " and lack of appropriate security. Id. at 13. Plaintiff also complained about landscaping and lawn maintenance activities "as early as 6:30 a.m., " but "Mariners Cove has refused to limit the landscaping and maintenance activities to reasonable hours." Id at 14.

Plaintiff also complained about other tenants violating their leases by exceeding maximum permitted pet provisions, allowing animals to "wander unchecked and unleashed in the common areas, " owning dog breeds not permitted on the property, and smoking cigarettes and marijuana. Id. at 13-14. Mariners Cove has ignored all of these complaints.

"On September 1, 2013, a theft occurred at the main leasing office where the perpetrator stole residents' files (including Plaintiff's). However, Mariners Cove failed to notify Plaintiff of the breach of security and theft of Plaintiff's personal information for twenty (20) days, when a notice dated September 20, 2013 was finally provided." Id. at 13. In order to accommodate his PTSD, Plaintiff installed security cameras at his unit. "In response to Plaintiff's installation of security cameras to monitor his door stoop, stairs, and parking space, Mariners Cove, including, but not limited to Maribel Robles, threatened and harassed him with legal action and eviction." Id. at 15.

Plaintiff has also been denied requests to install a tarp over his balcony and a washer/dryer in his unit, even though others tenants have been permitted to do so.

On March 18, 2014, Mariners Cove (and specifically, Maribel Robles) provided Plaintiff notice that his lease would not be renewed without providing any explanation, even though he had been a tenant in excess of two (2) years, and entitled by law to be offered a renewal of his lease under similar terms pursuant to by Diego Municipal Ordinance § 98.0701 et seq. On May 6, 2014, Plaintiff was given a notice of intent to perform a pre-move out inspection. Although Plaintiff also fully paid his rent for the month of June, 2014, Maribel Robles issued a Three Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit on June 4, 2014. Also on June 4, 2014, Plaintiff was finally provided a renewal of his lease, but only after the expiration of the prior lease, and thus forcing Plaintiff into a month to month lease with a $300.00 increase until such time as he accepted the lease renewal. Plaintiff was told that he would be assessed fees if he failed to give at least 60 days notice of his intent not to renew his lease.
Plaintiff has also complained to Mariners Cove that the tenants in apartment 4332 F continue to create excessive noise, permit their children to play outside unsupervised (which results in the children playing "ding dong ditch), playing in the parking lot area and around the dumpsters, all of which exacerbate Plaintiffs PTSD disability. Despite Plaintiff s repeated complaints, Mariners Cove refused to take any action, and instead issued to Plaintiff a Non-Renewal/Termination Notice (in violation of San Diego Municipal Ordinance § 98.0701 et seq.).
During Plaintiffs tenancy, the premises have not been in a habitable condition, including, but not limited to, dry rot and damage to the stairs leading to Plaintiffs apartment water being shut off by Mariners Cove without reasonable notice to Plaintiff, mold on the premises, termite damage, bird feces that is permitted to accumulate, exterior door that does not seal, and ...

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