United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
TRICHE MILAZZO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Doc. 3).
For the following reasons, the Motion is DENIED.
Kathleen Varrecchio is an elderly woman who suffers from
mental illness and alcoholism. She has lived at Defendant
Friends Alliance Housing II, Inc.'s housing facility, the
Friendship House, for the past 11 years. The Friendship House
is a 15-unit apartment complex that provides housing for
mentally ill individuals. After a series of incidents in
which Plaintiff stole items of minor value from other
residents at the Friendship House, she received a notice that
she would be evicted. She appealed this decision to the board
of the Friendship House, and the board approved the eviction.
Plaintiff then sought relief in this Court, bringing claims
for violation of the Fair Housing Act. On September 27, 2018,
the Court entered a temporary restraining order at
Plaintiff's request, postponing the pending eviction. A
hearing was held on November 29, 2018 on Plaintiff's
request for a preliminary injunction preventing her eviction.
applicant for preliminary injunctive relief must show: (1) a
substantial likelihood that he will prevail on the merits;
(2) a substantial threat that he will suffer irreparable harm
if the injunction is not granted; (3) his threatened injury
outweighs the threatened harm to the party whom he seeks to
enjoin; and (4) granting the preliminary injunction will not
disserve the public interest. A preliminary injunction is an
extraordinary remedy. Accordingly, a preliminary injunction
which should only be granted the party seeking it has clearly
carried the burden of persuasion on all four
requirements. In the end, a preliminary injunction is
treated as an exception rather than the rule.
request for a preliminary injunction fails because she cannot
satisfy the first prong, that is, she cannot show a
substantial likelihood of success on the merits.
Plaintiff's Complaint sets forth three causes of action:
(1) a failure to provide a reasonable accommodation for
Plaintiff's disability in violation of the Fair Housing
Act (“FHA”), (2) discrimination in making a
dwelling available under the FHA, and (3) interference with
her exercise or enjoyment of rights under the FHA.
Failure to Accommodate
under the FHA includes “a refusal to make reasonable
accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services,
when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such
person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a
dwelling.” Plaintiff alleges that Defendant failed to
reasonably accommodate her mental illness and alcoholism when
it evicted her from the Friendship House. She alleges that
Defendant should have accommodated her disability by offering
a lesser penalty, such as requiring more family involvement
and participation in her life and treatment and allowing her
to remain a tenant.
succeed on a claim under this provision, a plaintiff must
show that the requested accommodation is both reasonable and
necessary. “An accommodation is
‘reasonable' under the FHAA unless it imposes an
undue financial and administrative burden on the defendant or
requires a fundamental alteration in the nature of the
program at issue.” Here, Plaintiff's requested
accommodation was not reasonable. It would require Defendant
to continue to ignore Plaintiff's bad behavior, even when
such was disrupting to the lives of the other tenants in the
building. Indeed, Plaintiff was given an accommodation less
than eviction after each of the three prior incidents.
the initial incident in 2011, in which Plaintiff was seen on
camera taking a set of keys belonging to another tenant,
Defendant required Plaintiff to pay for replacement keys and
see a doctor to discuss her inability to remember the event.
After the second incident in 2011, in which Plaintiff was
caught on camera leaving a rude note under another
tenant's door, Defendant counseled Plaintiff to seek
medical treatment and advised her that another incident may
result in eviction. After the third incident in 2016, in
which she was seen on camera taking money that had been
partially slipped under another tenant's door, Defendant
advised Plaintiff that another incident would result in
eviction. Finally in June 2018, Plaintiff was seen on video
surveillance stealing another tenant's mail, and
Defendant followed through on its threats to evict her. It
would be a fundamental alteration of the rules of the
Friendship House to continue to allow Plaintiff to remain a
tenant despite her disruptive behavior, even if that behavior
was caused by a disability. Indeed, there was testimony at
the hearing that another tenant was evicted for carrying a
knife around the apartment complex even when that behavior
was caused by his paranoia. The Friendship House has a
responsibility to protect the right of peaceful enjoyment of
the premises for each of its tenants. An accommodation
otherwise is not reasonable.
Plaintiff did not show that the requested accommodation was
necessary. “In order for a requested accommodation to
be necessary, the plaintiff must show ‘a direct linkage
between the proposed accommodation and the equal opportunity
to be provided to the handicapped person.' If the
requested accommodation ‘provides no direct
amelioration of a disability's effect,' it is not
necessary.” Here, Plaintiff's requested
accommodation- increased family involvement-would not
ameliorate Plaintiff's behavior. Unless Plaintiff was
under constant surveillance by family members, she ...