Rossetti v. Saban

Docket Number21 C 4324
Decision Date11 September 2023
PartiesBELINDA J. ROSSETTI and EZRA J. ROSSETTI, Plaintiffs, v. HAIM SABAN, individually, and in his official capacity, SABAN CAPITAL GROUP, LLC, SABAN REAL ESTATE, LLC., 601 VAIRO LLC, d/b/a THE BRYN, KATIE LIBERMAN, Individually, and in her official capacity, VALERIE HERRERA, individually and in her official capacity, CARDINAL GROUP HOLDINGS LLC, d/b/a CARDINAL GROUP COMPANIES, CARDINAL GROUP MANAGEMENT MIDWEST, LLC, and ALEX O'BRIEN, Individually and in his official capacity, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois

HON JORGE ALONSO United States District Judge.

Pro se plaintiffs Belinda J. Rossetti (Ms. Rossetti) and Ezra J. Rossetti (“Mr. Rossetti,” and together with Ms. Rossetti, Plaintiffs) bring suit against Defendants Haim Saban, Saban Capital Group, LLC Saban Real Estate, LLC, 601 Vairo LLC, d/b/a The Bryn, Katie Liberman, Valerie Herrera, Cardinal Group Holdings, LLC d/b/a Cardinal Group Companies, Cardinal Group Management Midwest, LLC, and Alex O'Brien (together Defendants), purporting to assert the following claims: (I) 740 ILCS 80/3 Illinois Frauds Act; (II) 815 ILCS 505/ Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (“ICFA”); (III) 815 ILCS 510/2 Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (“UDTPA”); (IV) 18 U.S.C. § 2325 Telemarketing Fraud”; (V) Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a); (VI) “Safety and Risk- Reduction Claims”; (VII) “The Covid-19 Consumer Protection Act via the FTC Act; (VIII) 18 U.S.C. § 1341 Mail Fraud/Frauds and Swindles”; (IX) 18 U.S.C. § 1343 Wire Fraud”; (X) 18 U.S.C. § 1344 - Bank Fraud”; (XI) 18 U.S.C. § 1349 Attempt and Conspiracy”; (XII) 18 U.S.C. § 1951 Extortion”; (XIII) “Fraud in the Factum”; (XIV) “Fraud in the Inducement”; (XV) “Predatory Advertising and Business Practices”; (XVI) Plaintiff's Injury”; (XVII) Illinois Human Rights Act, 775 ILCS 5/101, The Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. [§] 3601 [et seq.], Civil Rights Act of 1866, Discrimination Based on Race”; and (XVIII) 18 U.S.C. § 1961-1968 Rico Act.”

Before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), (2), (3), and (6). For the following reasons, the Court grants the motion under Rule 12(b)(2) and, alternatively, under Rule 12(b)(3).


The following facts are taken from the First Amended Complaint and are assumed true for the purposes of this motion at this stage of the proceedings. Sapperstein v. Hager, 188 F.3d 852, 855 (7th Cir. 1999).

Mr Rossetti is, or was, a student at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) located in State College, Pennsylvania. This case stems from Plaintiffs' allegations that Defendants lied on multiple occasions about the conditions of an apartment in an off-campus student apartment community (“The Bryn”) in order to induce Mr. Rossetti into signing a lease. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants, through their agents and staff at The Bryn, misrepresented and omitted material information about the condition of Mr. Rossetti's apartment by saying it was cleaned and had up-to-date appliances, when in fact the apartment was filthy and equipped with old, non-working appliances.

In early April 2020, Mr. Rossetti and his mother, Ms. Rossetti, began searching online for student housing in State College, Pennsylvania for the coming academic year. Plaintiffs, who live in Illinois, reviewed the website of The Bryn, which advertised “luxury apartments,” “an incredible living experience,” “updated appliances,” “stress-free student living,” and “luxury off-campus student housing near Penn State University.” (Am. Compl. ¶ 120, ECF No. 38.) The website also stated, “Your college apartment at The Bryn is more than a home, it's a hub for your social life, a quiet refuge for focus, and space for maintaining health and wellness.” (Id. ¶ 121.) Plaintiffs reached out to inquire about leasing information for two-bedroom apartments. Plaintiffs spoke to Defendant Katie Liberman (“Ms. Liberman”), the Regional Property Manager, Area Leasing Manager, and Marketing Manager, who claimed that she, Cardinal Group Management Midwest, LLC (CGMM)-the managing entity of The Bryn-and The Bryn “take COVID-19 seriously and because of that, [they] thoroughly clean every apartment after Residents move out, and perform a deep steam cleaning of all carpets in the apartments,” including the apartment that was to be leased to Mr. Rossetti. (Id. ¶ 23.) Ms. Liberman told Plaintiffs that it was the normal “standard policy” of The Bryn to thoroughly clean all apartments in between residents. (Id. ¶ 41.d.) Ms. Liberman also told Plaintiffs that the apartment Mr. Rossetti was moving into had “all new and up-to-date appliances,” confirming the reference on The Bryn's website which said, “Fully equipped kitchens with updated appliances and plenty of counter space.” (Id. ¶ 41.f.)

On June 4, 2020, Ms. Liberman warned Plaintiffs that only two of the two-bedroom apartments remained, and Plaintiffs needed to sign a lease immediately to hold the apartment. Sometime between April 7, 2020, and June 15, 2020, Ms. Liberman told Plaintiffs that the full month's rent for August ($824.00) was due immediately to hold the apartment. In reliance on the information provided regarding the availability and condition of the apartment, on June 15, 2020, Mr. Rossetti signed a lease (“Lease”) for the academic school year-August 14, 2020 to July 31, 2021. Ms. Liberman electronically signed the Lease on behalf of CGMM, which was named in the Lease as the “Manager” and “agent” for Defendant 601 Vairo LLC (601 Vairo), the “Master Resident Landlord.” (Rental Agreement And Lease, Mot. to Dismiss Ex. A, ECF No. 781.) That same day, Ms. Liberman told Ms. Rossetti that because Mr. Rossetti signed the lease without a guarantor, he was required to pay the last two month's rent up front ($1,648.00).

After Mr. Rossetti signed the lease, The Bryn's Community Manager, Christy Lee, told Plaintiffs that in fact ten two-bedroom apartments remained. She also informed Plaintiffs that they do not prorate for the month of August, even though Mr. Rossetti was not allowed to move in until August 14, 2020. Ms. Liberman told Plaintiffs that Mr. Rossetti was not allowed to move in until August 14 because the two weeks prior were used to ensure the thorough cleaning of the apartment. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants “forced” Plaintiffs to prepay three months' rent, plus $10 monthly fees for insurance, before Mr. Rossetti could take possession of the apartment. (Am. Compl. ¶ 28, ECF No. 38.)

On August 8, 2020, Mr. Rossetti received an email from The Bryn, stating what they were doing to prepare for incoming residents, including by stating, “Prior to move-in, all units and bedrooms will be professionally cleaned and sanitized with CDC-recommended cleaning agents and disinfectants....Our team has been preparing all summer to ensure all team members have the required resources and knowledge to provide a clean environment at movein.” (Id. ¶ 58.) Yet when Mr. Rossetti moved in on August 14, 2021, Plaintiffs discovered that the apartment had not been cleaned and was “not in livable condition.” (Id. ¶ 30.) The carpets were filthy and black with oil and dirt in many areas. The bathrooms were dirty with old toothpaste, scum, dried urine, and other foreign material. The bathroom had visible black mold spanning the entire length of the bathroom about three-inches high, seeping out of a “deep crevice.” (Id. ¶ 50.) After Plaintiffs complained, a maintenance staff member arrived that day and spackled and spray-painted over the mold, telling Plaintiffs it was “safe” to do so. (Id. ¶ 51.) He did not remove or treat the mold. Mr. Rossetti's mattress was filthy on both sides, including a urine stain spanning three-fourths of the mattress that was covered in “long mold and ‘fibers', approximately 3/8 inches tall.” (Id. ¶ 53.) Plaintiffs also noted “significant amounts of animal hair” in the apartment, including in the refrigerator-which was the only functioning appliance, aside from the microwave. (Id. ¶ 52.) The kitchen was filthy with dried food inside and on the doors of the cabinets and on the stove and oven. The washer, dryer, stove, oven, and dishwasher did not work. The refrigerator and microwave were between 26 and 28 years old. The living room furniture and carpets were filthy with dirt and animal hair. A large vent in the living room wall was “sealed” with dirt and animal hair. (Id. ¶ 56.) The complaints in Google Reviews, presumably for The Bryn, “are similar to the horrendous, uninhabitable condition in which the Plaintiffs found the apartment.” (Id. ¶ 58.d.)

Ms. Rossetti spent two full days cleaning the apartment, including by renting a steam cleaner at Walmart, which caused her “extreme” back pain and leg swelling. (Id. ¶ 57.c.) Immediately after moving into the apartment, Mr. Rossetti began to develop a constant and continuous cough for the duration of his residency at The Bryn and from which Mr. Rossetti only found relief when he left the apartment for extended periods. Mr. Rossetti was “forced to evacuate” the apartment on May 9, 2022, due to his constant coughing. (Id. ¶ 71.)

Between August 14, 2020, and May 14, 2020, Plaintiffs “complained to Defendants, and were met with additional lies claiming the apartment had been cleaned', they ‘forgot to clean' ‘maintenance missed that apartment', [and] ‘the apartment was cleaned but just not to Plaintiff's standards.' (Id. ¶ 59.) In September 2020, Mr. Rossetti noticed that the maintenance requests he and his roommate had submitted were not being completed but were being marked “completed” and deleted by staff. (Id. ¶ 61.) Ms. Rossetti...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT