Bey ex rel. Graves v. Richmond Redevelopment & Hous. Auth.

Decision Date08 August 2013
Docket NumberAction No. 3:13CV464-HEH
CourtU.S. District Court — Eastern District of Virginia
PartiesAKIL RASHIDI BEY ex rel AIKIDO GRAVES, Plaintiff, v. RICHMOND REDEVELOPMENT AND HOUSING AUTHORITY, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION

(Granting Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and Dismissing in Part

Plaintiff's Complaint Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2))

THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Akil Rashidi Bey ex rel Aikido Graves's ("Plaintiff") Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 1), filed on July 22, 2013. In the accompanying Order, the Court grants Plaintiff's motion and permits him to proceed in this case without paying the Court's filing fee. For failing to state sufficient grounds for relief, the Court will dismiss the bulk of Plaintiff's claims. It appears that Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged a violation of his procedural due process rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1437d and 24 C.F.R. § 982.553. Thus, the Court will allow Plaintiff to proceed on that claim, but without prejudicing Defendants' right to move for dismissal on alternative grounds.

I. BACKGROUND1

Plaintiff commenced this action and names as defendants the Richmond Rehabilitation and Housing Authority ("RRHA"); RRHA employees Willitte C. Williams ("Williams"), Tammy L. Grubb ("Grubb"), and Calandra M. Trotter ("Trotter"); Genesis Properties ("Genesis"); Jefferson Townhomes ("Jefferson"); and Jefferson employees Vanessa Dieterly ("Dieterly") and Joy Warfield ("Warfield"). Liberally construing the Complaint in Plaintiff's favor, the relevant facts are as follows.

Plaintiff is "Moorish American Moslem." (Compl. at 2:13-14.) He and his family have received public housing assistance since 1999. (Id. at 3:5.) Plaintiff moved to . Richmond, Virginia, from Prince William County, Virginia ("PWC"). He ascribes this move to the fact that "PWC prosecution" was preventing him from returning to his house at 12544 Poplar Court near Woodbridge, Virginia, (id. at 3:16-17), and because of discrimination by "PWC Housing" after Plaintiff reported that his children no longer lived in his house, (Id. at 3:21-4:2). Plaintiff knew that "time was growing thin on the [S]ection 8 voucher for PWC," and so he transferred his Section 8 voucher and relocated to Richmond. (Id. at 4:7-9.) Plaintiff moved to a Jefferson property locatedat 710 Mosby Street in Richmond, where his wife eventually joined him. (Id. at 4:12-15.)

Plaintiff claims that the "federal court defendants" conspired to make a "severe false statement" about his son sexually abusing his siblings so that his son would be placed in the custody of social services. (Id. at 4:20-23.) Plaintiff states that this report is an example of the "disinformation and tactics" that the "Commonwealth agencies [conspired to use] to cause [him] burden and strife." (Id. at 5:12-19.) Furthermore, Plaintiff contends that these actions were taken because of his Moorish American Moslem affiliation, (id. at 5:20-21), and he cites numerous past and ongoing legal actions in which he is involved, (id. at 6:1-16), He asserts that the goal "with someone like [him] would be to pile up so many legal issues" that he could not confront each one individually. (Id. at 5:22-6:2.) As an example, Plaintiff alleges that a " 15 month JDR court process [has] been turned into a four year process" as part of the alleged conspiracy against him. (Id. at 7:2-4.)

Plaintiff further claims that RRHA failed to give him timely notice of appointments, (id. at 7:19-20), and that he was never given a copy of the criminal report used to justify the termination of his Section 8 voucher, (id. at 7:22-8:1). On June 12, 2013, Plaintiff's wife, on his behalf, attended a recertification meeting with Defendant Williams; however, the meeting was unable to proceed due to Plaintiff's absence. (Id. at 8:6-13.) Plaintiff contends that he gave his wife power of attorney tohandle the matter, but Williams indicated that his presence was required. (Id. at 8:13-14.) He further claims that he could not attend out of fear of being unlawfully arrested. (Id. at 6:9-19.) The recertification meeting was rescheduled for June 21, 2013. (Id. at 8:6-9:2.) Plaintiff's wife later discovered that she had a conflict on that date, and unsuccessfully attempted to contact Williams to reschedule. (Id. at 9:1-4.) Plaintiff's wife finally reached Williams on June 25, 2013. (Id. at 9:4-6.) Williams and her supervisor, Defendant Grubb, then told Plaintiff's wife that his Section 8 voucher would be terminated if he did not show up for the meeting on June 26, 2013. (Id. at 9:7-9.)

Plaintiff did not attend the meeting on June 26, 2013, because he "knew that the RRHA workers were going to have [him] setup and unlawfully arrested" and because he "didn't receive Due Process about the time" of the meeting. (Id. at 9:11-13.) While Plaintiff's wife was awaiting Williams's decision, a police officer asked if she knew Plaintiff's whereabouts. (Id. at 9:18-20.) After his wife informed the officer that she did not, Plaintiff's Section 8 voucher was terminated.2 (Id. at 9:22-10:1.)

Plaintiff contends that the termination of his Section 8 voucher was unlawful and that it led to his eviction by Jefferson. (Id. at 12:33-35.) He asserts that he hasnever been provided with the criminal record report used to justify the termination of his housing assistance, as is required by statute. Plaintiff also alleges that Trotter, an "appeal compliance officer" with RRHA, refused to produce a copy of the criminal report at an appeal, and that he has a recording of Trotter "admitting they violated [his] rights." (Id. at 19:4-5.) Plaintiff claims that one informal recording shows Trotter saying that Jefferson "based their decision [on the] RRHA termination letter," but that another recording shows Trotter denying that the Section 8 termination was the basis for Jefferson's eviction. (Id. at 19:16-21.)

Plaintiff alleges that Jefferson conspired with RRHA to evict him from their property, at least in part, because Plaintiff and his wife refused to sign an addendum to their lease.3 Plaintiff maintains that he was under no obligation to sign the addendum, and that because Jefferson could not "collect more money" from him, they retaliated via the eviction notice.4 (Id. at 14:18-21.) Furthermore, Plaintiff claims his evictionwas "based on the fact that [he] didn't get a chance to dispute any criminal background report that [he was] supposed to be provided a copy of." (Id. at 13:7-10.) He contends that his eviction was unlawful because Jefferson and Genesis relied on RRHA's reasoning and failed to provide him with a copy of the criminal record used. (Id. at 18:10-17.)

On July 4, 2013, Plaintiff sent a letter to RRHA and Jefferson requesting "to be removed from the [S]ection 8 voucher program and from the lease at [] 710 Mosby Street . . . under protest, duress, threat, and coercion . . . ." (ECF No. 1, Attachment No. 8, PI. App. Req., July 4, 2013.) In that letter, Plaintiff notes his objection to the termination of his assistance and states that he will exercise his right to appeal. (Id.) In a response dated July 10, 2013, RRHA informed Plaintiff that he was granted an informal appeal hearing set for July 16, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. (ECF No. 1, Attachment No. 8, Def. RRHA Letter, July 10, 2013.) Plaintiff responded on July 12, 2013, in aletter with the same text as the July 4 appeal request. (ECF No. 1, Attachment No. 8, PL App. Req., July 12, 2013.) The next day, Plaintiff submitted a request for materials, namely a copy of the criminal report used by RRHA, and also stated that he would not be attending the appeal hearing. (ECF No. 1, Attachment No. 8, PL Request for Bill of Particulars, July 13, 2013.)

Plaintiff then commenced this action, filing his Complaint on July 22, 2013.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

The federal in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, grants indigent plaintiffs the privilege of commencing an action in federal court without prepaying administrative costs. To prevent abuse of this privilege, however, a court must dismiss any complaint filed in forma pauperis that is frivolous or malicious; fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see also Eriline Co. S.A. v. Johnson, 440 F.3d 648, 656 (4th Cir. 2006).

The standards for dismissal under § 1915(e)(2)(B) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) are the same. De'Lonta v. Angelone, 330 F.3d 630, 633 (4th Cir. 2003). To state a claim for relief, the plaintiff's complaint must contain (1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and (3) a demand for the relief sought. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). The complaint must contain "more than labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Bell Atl.Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). And although they need not be "detailed," the plaintiff's factual allegations "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. Thus, "naked assertions of wrongdoing necessitate some factual enhancement within the complaint to cross the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief." Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted).

A complaint achieves facial plausibility when it contains factual allegations sufficient to support a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556; see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). This analysis is context-specific and requires "the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Francis, 588 F.3d at 193. The Court must assume Plaintiff's well-pleaded factual allegations to be true and...

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