United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER RE SUMMARY JUDGMENT
WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
disability-discrimination action, defendants move for summary
judgment. For the reasons below, the motion is
essence of this case is that the landlord evicted plaintiff
for failure to pay rent, not on account of his race.
Plaintiff has also failed to show the landlord neglected to
accommodate his disability. Beginning in December 2016,
plaintiff Rodney Green, Sr., an African American man, rented
a unit at East Leland Court Apartments owned and operated by
defendants Mercy Housing, Inc., Mercy Housing Management
Group, Inc., and Mercy Housing California XXXVIII. Plaintiff
depended on a walking cane for mobility and also needed an
in-home care giver (Compl. ¶¶ 6-11).
plaintiff entered into his lease agreement, defendants told
him he would receive accessible parking. When he moved in,
however, defendants had already leased the parking spaces
closest to plaintiff's unit to a daycare center while he
received a space a further from his unit. The building
property manager also accused plaintiff's son - who
visited plaintiff to provide in-home health care - of
engaging in criminal activity and living in plaintiff's
unit in violation of plaintiff's rental agreement
(id. ¶¶ 11-14).
these incidents, defendants served plaintiff with a sixty-day
notice to terminate his tenancy. Defendants agreed to rescind
the notice on the condition that plaintiff not allow his son
to come to the apartment. Plaintiff agreed to those terms.
Plaintiff later filed a complaint with the California
Department of Fair Housing in December 2017 (id.
¶ 14). Beginning June 2018, plaintiff failed to pay rent
on time, and in October 2018, the Contra Costa Superior Court
entered judgment in favor of Mercy Housing and against the
Greens, ordering the Greens to return possession of the
premises to Mercy Housing (Dkt. No. 76, Ex. E).
filed the complaint in the instant action in August 2018. The
complaint currently asserts claims under: (1)
California's Disabled Person's Act; (2)
California's Unruh Civil Rights Act; (3) the Fair Housing
Act; (4) California's Fair Employment and Housing Act;
(5) harassment and retaliation under California Government
Code § 12955; (6) unlawful interference under California
Government Code § 12955.7; and (7) unfair competition
under the California Business & Professions Code §
17200 (Dkt. No. 1, 39).
various discovery disputes in which the Court ultimately
appointed a special master to oversee depositions, defendants
filed the instant motion for summary judgment as to all of
plaintiff's claims. This order follows full briefing and
Rule 56(a), a movant is entitled to summary judgment if
“there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact.” A fact is material when it affects the outcome
of the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Although the moving party bears
“the initial burden of production and the ultimate
burden of persuasion” on summary judgment, Nissan
Fire & Marine Ins. Co., Ltd. v. Fritz Companies,
Inc., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102 (9th Cir. 2000), once it has
discharged that burden, the nonmovant must “go beyond
the pleadings and . . . designate specific facts showing
there is a genuine issue for trial.” Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986) (internal
citation and quotation marks omitted). The nonmoving
party's evidence must be sufficient such that the record,
taken as a whole, could support a rational trier of fact in
finding for the nonmoving party on that issue. Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
587 (1986). If conflicting inferences may be drawn from the
facts, the case must go to the jury.” LaLonde v.
Cnty. Of Riverside, 204 F.3d 947, 959 (9th Cir. 2000).
Fair Housing Act, the California Disabled Persons Act, the
California Unruh Civil Rights Act, and the California Fair
Employment and Housing Act all prohibit discrimination
against those with disabilities by failing to provide them
with reasonable or equal accommodations. Such discrimination
occurs if plaintiff (1) suffers from a disability, (2)
defendant knew or reasonably should have known of
plaintiff's disability; (3) accommodation of the
disability may be necessary to afford plaintiff an equal
opportunity to use and enjoy his dwelling; and (4) defendant
refused to make such accommodation. McGary v. City of
Portland, 386 F.3d 1259, 1262 (9th Cir. 2004).
alleges defendants refused to make three reasonable
accommodations: (1) a parking space near his unit and outside
the gate; (2) a walkway clear of overhanging trees; and (3)
in-home care. There is no factual dispute that plaintiff
meets the first three elements. Rather, the question is
whether plaintiff requested these accommodations and
defendants refused to make them.
first allege that defendants discriminated against him by
failing to providing him with certain parking spaces.
Plaintiff moved into East Leland Court Apartments in December
2016. At that point, he was provided assigned access to at
least two non-disabled parking spaces (spaces 141 and 31) and
unassigned access to two handicapped parking spaces. These
spaces were all behind a gate and plaintiff needed to exit
through that gate to reach his apartment unit. Plaintiff then
requested a space closer to his unit and was given one (space
136), although defendants indicate plaintiff had been
assigned this space from the start. This space was behind the
gate as well. There were, however, other parking spaces
closer to his unit that were outside the gate, and plaintiff
thus began to park there instead. ...