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Perry v. Strategic Realty Capital, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

January 30, 2019




         This matter comes before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 21) filed by Defendants Latter & Blum Property Management, Inc. (“Latter & Blum”) and Strategic Realty Capital, LLC (“Strategic Realty”) (collectively, “Defendants”). Pro se Plaintiff Omega T. Perry opposes the motion. (Doc. 35.) Defendants have filed a reply. (Doc. 38.) Oral argument is not necessary. The Court has carefully considered the law, the facts in the record, and the arguments and the submissions of the parties and is prepared to rule. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is denied.

         I. Relevant Factual Background and Parties' Arguments

         A. Plaintiff's Complaint

         Pro se Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging a violation of the Fair Housing Act. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff alleges one act of wrongdoing, which allegedly occurred on December 23, 2015. Specifically, Plaintiff claims: “On 12/23/2015 complainant spoke to leasing agent requesting to view a 3-bedroom apartment. Request was denied. Caucasian male viewed 3-bedroom apartments within muniets (sic) of dening (sic) Omega Perry.” (Doc. 1 at 4.) Plaintiff seeks $25, 000, 000.00 in damages. (Doc. 1 at 4.)

         Plaintiff attaches to his complaint a “Housing Discrimination Complaint” alleging discrimination on the basis of race. (Doc. 1 at 3.) Plaintiff provides the following summary of facts:

Complainant is African American and therefore a member of a protected group. Complainant lives at [XXXX] Flora Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70810. The apartment in question is Place Du Plantier, [XXX] Lee Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808. The property is owned by Strategic Realty Capital and the property management is Latter & Blum Property Management. The Leasing Agent is Essie Uman. Collectively, they are the respondents in this matter. The Manager, Brittany (LNU) and Assistant Manager, Amber (LNU) were not involved.
On December 23, 2015, Complainant spoke to Essie Uman, Leasing Agent, requesting to view a 3-bedroom apartment. The leasing agent informed Complainant the golf cart was not operational and it was too far for her to walk. Complainant offered his own vehicle for use and was denied. Complaint was allowed to view a 2-berdr.oom and a 1bedroom apartment. As complainant was completing an application, a Caucasian male was informed of two 3-bedroom apartments available for viewing. The Leasing Agent barrowed a co-worker's vehicle to show the apartments. Based On the forgoing, complainant believes he was discriminated against in violation of the Act.

(sic throughout) (Doc. 1 at 4.) The complaint further states:

9. The most recent date on which the alleged discrimination occurred: December 23, 2015, and is continuing.

(Doc. 1 at 4.)

         B. Relevant Summary Judgment Evidence

         According to Latter and Blum's President, Plaintiff “was hired by Latter & Blum and paid $75.00 to conduct testing activity at Village De Jardin Apartments, specifically to determine if housing rules and laws were being follows (sic) by the property managers at that location.” (Affidavit of Joseph S. Pappalardo, Sr., ¶ 2, Doc. 21-3.) Plaintiff's “investigation took place at the site on December 23, 2015.” (Pappalardo Affidavit ¶ 3, Doc. 21-3.)

         Plaintiff's only pieces of evidence are two emails. One reflects that Plaintiff registered for a drug screen on October 3, 2016. (Doc. 35-1 at 1.) Someone from Latter & Blum named Kerri Primeaux is carbon copied on the email. (Doc. 35-1 at 1.) A second email from Primeaux to Plaintiff is dated a few days later and states in relevant part: “HR has notified me that unfortunately we will not be able to offer you employment at this time. Our offer of employment was contingent upon passing all pre-employment screenings, and you did not. Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.” (Doc. 35-1 at 3.)

         In any event, in or around January 12, 2017, Plaintiff filed a housing complaint with HUD. (Doc. 21-4.) This complaint is virtually identical to the “Housing Discrimination Complaint” attached to Plaintiff's complaint, except that this document contains a signed statement, dated January 12, 2017, that the “Housing Discrimination Complaint” is true under penalty of perjury. (Doc. 21-4 at 4.) Again, this complaint alleges that the most recent date of discrimination was December 23, 2015, and the only allegedly wrongful act in this complaint occurred on that date. (Doc. 21-4 at 4.) Despite Plaintiff's statement that the violation is “continuing, ” no other housing violations are alleged in the housing complaint that occurred after December 23, 2015. (See Doc. 21-4 at 4.)

         On May 24, 2017, the Louisiana Department of Justice issued a letter finding that “there [was] no reasonable cause to believe that a discriminatory housing practice ha[d] occurred.” (Doc. 21-5 at 1.) The HUD complaint was thus dismissed. (See Doc. 21-5 at 1-2.)

         Again, Plaintiff's complaint was filed on December 27, 2017. (Doc. 1.)

         C. Parties' Arguments

         1. Defendants' Original ...

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