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Blanton v. Torrey Pines Property Management, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

April 20, 2017

MONYA BLANTON, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
TORREY PINES PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS [DOC. 72]

          Hon. Thomas J. Whelan United States District Judge

         Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' first two causes of action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. [Doc. 72.] Plaintiffs Monya Blanton and Diane Joa oppose. [Doc. 73.] The Court decides the motion on the papers submitted and without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1(d)(1). For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Defendants' motion.

         I. Background

         A. Monya Blanton

         Monya Blanton allegedly began renting an apartment managed by Torrey Pines Property Management (“TPPM”) in September of 2011. (Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) [Doc. 13] ¶ 13.) Corinne Lampman, an employee of TPPM, allegedly told Blanton during the application process that she and her three children could not rent a two-bedroom apartment, but rather would have to rent a more expensive three-bedroom unit.[1] (Id.) The SAC alleges that Blanton then rented the more expensive unit. (See id.)

         According to the SAC, Blanton was pregnant with her fourth child in January of 2013. (SAC [Doc. 29] ¶ 14.) At that time, the apartment complex's manager, Peggy Warny, allegedly told her that her lease would not be renewed if she exceeded the occupancy limit of four residents. (Id. [Doc. 13] ¶¶ 7, 14.) TPPM allegedly raised the rent for Blanton's apartment in May of 2013. (Id. [Doc. 13] ¶ 15.) The SAC alleges that the next month, Blanton informed Warny that for medical reasons she could not access her bank account in order to pay her July rent on time. (See SAC [Doc. 13] ¶ 16.) Warny told Blanton that TPPM would accept her rent after the due date. (Id.)

         When Blanton attempted to pay her rent after giving birth to her fourth child on July 13, 2013, TPPM allegedly returned the rent payment to her by taping it to her door. (SAC [Doc. 9] ¶ 17.) TPPM thereafter informed Blanton that the payment was deficient for lack of late fees. (Id.) Before the end of July, TPPM evicted Blanton and her family. (See id.) Blanton alleges that her eviction was a result of her violating the occupancy policy. (See id.)

         B. Diane Joa

         Diane Joa was another resident at the same property managed by TPPM. (SAC [Doc. 29] ¶¶ 13, 18.) She and her five children, two of whom were minors at the time, began renting a three-bedroom apartment in 2009. (See id. [Doc. 13] ¶ 18.) Pursuant to TPPM's occupancy policy, the TPPM manager refused to include two of Joa's adult sons on the lease. (Id.) In May of 2013, Joa and her family executed a new lease with TPPM through Warny. (Id. [Doc. 29] ¶ 19.) The lease Warny prepared for Joa and her family also excluded two of her children, both adults. (See Joa Depo. [Doc. 72-4, Exh. 1; Doc. 73-3, Exh. B] 12-13, 42-45; 2013 Joa Lease [Doc. 73-3, Exh. C].)

         On April 28, 2014, TPPM sent Joa a “Three-day Notice to Perform Conditions and/or Covenants or Quit” as to the number of occupants in her unit. (Three-Day Notice [Doc. 73-3, Exh. E].) Joa received an eviction notice three days later. (Eviction Notice [Doc. 73-3, Exh. F].) Her adult son Michael Howard then moved out of the unit so that the family could remain. (See Michael Howard Intent to Vacate [Doc. 73-3, Exh. G].) Apparently Joa was allowed to remain, as the next year, TPPM sent Joa another notice as to the number of occupants in her unit, causing to spend another $100 to add her adult son Douglas Howard to the lease. (See Resident Change Addendum [Doc. 73-3, Exh. I].)

         C. Procedural History

         Joa and Blanton filed this action on April 22, 2015. (Compl. [Doc. 1].) The SAC asserts seven causes of action against TPPM and its employees: (i) violation of the federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), 42 U.S.C. § 3601, et seq.; (ii) violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), Cal. Gov. Code §§ 12927, 12955, et seq.; (iii) violation of the Unruh Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 51; (iv) breach of the covenant of quiet use and enjoyment; (v) invasion of privacy; (vi) unfair business practices in violation of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200; and (vii) negligence. (SAC [Doc. 29] ¶¶ 34-47.)

         Defendants now move to dismiss both Plaintiffs' first and second causes of action only, on the basis that both plaintiffs lack standing.[2] (See Defs.' Mot. [Doc. 72-1].) Plaintiffs oppose. [Doc. 73.]

         II. L ...


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