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Anderson v. TCAM Core Prop. Fund Operating LP

United States District Court, C.D. California

January 14, 2015

STEVEN ANDERSON, ET AL.
v.
TCAM CORE PROPERTY FUND OPERATING LP

ATTORNEYS PRESENT FOR PLAINTIFF: None Present.

ATTORNEYS PRESENT FOR DEFENDANT: None Present.

HONORABLE CORMAC J. CARNEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

CIVIL MINUTES -- GENERAL

PROCEEDINGS: (IN CHAMBERS) ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS [filed 12/11/14]

Having read and considered the papers presented by the parties, the Court finds this matter appropriate for disposition without a hearing. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; Local Rule 7-15. Accordingly, the hearing set for January 26, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. is hereby vacated and off calendar.

I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Steven Anderson, Solma Escobar, and Patrice Gilgan (collectively, " Plaintiffs") bring this action against Defendant TCAM Core Property Fund Operating LP (" TCAM") for unlawful discrimination on the basis of familial status. (Dkt. No. 1, Notice of Removal Exh. 1 [" Compl." ].) The Complaint alleges that TCAM operates an apartment complex located at 102 Calais Street, Laguna Nigel, California (the " Subject Property"). (Compl. ¶ ¶ 1, 6.) Plaintiffs, along with their minor children, resided at the Subject Property and were subject to rules that allegedly discriminated against families with children. (Compl. ¶ ¶ 3-4, 15.) Specifically, Plaintiffs contend that TCAM enforced a rule which prohibited children from playing in the common areas and that TCAM posted a sign which read, " No skateboarding, bicycle riding, roller blading, scooter riding." (Compl. ¶ 15.) The Complaint alleges a series of incidents where the on-site managers repeatedly informed Plaintiffs that the children could not play in the common areas or that the children needed to be quiet or stay home. (Compl. ¶ ¶ 16-22.) Plaintiffs maintain that the children were not excessively noisy but were playing like normal children do. (Compl. ¶ ¶ 18, 21.) The Complaint further contends that management threatened Mr. Anderson and Ms. Escobar with eviction due to the noise of their children and ultimately refused to renew their lease. (Compl. ¶ ¶ 13, 24-25.)

The Complaint alleges six causes of action: (1) violation of the Fair Housing Act (" FHA") under 42 U.S.C. § § 3604(a)-(c), 3617; (2) violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, Cal. Gov. Code § 12940 et seq .; (3) violation of the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 51 et seq .; (4) negligence; (5) unfair business practice under the California Business & Professions Code § 17200 et seq .; and (6) invasion of the right to privacy. ( See Compl.) Before the Court is TCAM's motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for a more definite statement. (Dkt. No. 7 [" Def.'s Mot." ].) For the following reasons, TCAM's motion is GRANTED IN PART.

II. DISCUSSION

A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the claims asserted in the complaint. The issue on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is not whether the claimant will ultimately prevail, but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims asserted. Gilligan v. Jamco Dev. Corp., 108 F.3d 246, 249 (9th Cir. 1997). Rule 12(b)(6) is read in conjunction with Rule 8(a), which requires only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). When evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the district court must accept all material allegations in the complaint as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Moyo v. Gomez, 32 F.3d 1382, 1384 (9th Cir. 1994). However, " the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009); see also Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (stating that while a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, courts " are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation" (citations and quotes omitted)). Dismissal of a complaint for failure to state a claim is not proper where a plaintiff has alleged " enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. In keeping with this liberal pleading standard, the district court should grant the plaintiff leave to amend if the complaint can possibly be cured by additional factual allegations. Doe v. United States, 58 F.3d 494, 497 (9th Cir. 1995).

A. FHA and California Statutory Claims

TCAM moves to dismiss the first, second, third, and fifth causes of action, arguing that no rule prohibiting children from playing in the common areas existed. (Def.'s Mot. at 1, 4-8.) Specifically, TCAM submits two exhibits titled " Lease Addendum: Community Policies, Rules, and Release" (" Community Rules") that were purportedly signed by Plaintiffs and which read in relevant part:

All property recreational facilities are provided for the enjoyment of the residents and guests. Abuse of the facilities and or policies will not be tolerated. Management reserves the right to restrict, wherever necessary, resident's facility privileges. Keep skateboards, roller blades, and ...

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