United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
Michael J. McShane, United States District Judge.
appearing pro se, filed suit alleging rental discrimination
based on race. Defendant now moves for summary judgment on
grounds that no evidence supports plaintiff's claims and
defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Plaintiff did not respond to defendant's motion, despite
being given several extensions of time in which to do so.
After review of the record, defendant's motion is granted
and this case is dismissed.
November of 2015, plaintiff and his girlfriend, Denise
Paulsen, signed a lease agreement to rent property owned by
defendant on a month-to-month basis, commencing on November
15, 2015. Am. Complaint ¶¶ 10, 13, 19-20 & Ex.
1 (ECF Nos. 13, 13-1); Eck. Decl. ¶ 2 (ECF No. 40-1).
Plaintiff alleges that defendant was reluctant to enter into
the rental agreement because of plaintiff's race, and
that he overheard defendant use a racial epithet directed at
plaintiff. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 16, 18. According to
Paulsen, defendant was cordial to her and
“indifferent” to plaintiff when they met, and
defendant later told Paulsen that he would not have rented
the property to plaintiff “if it wasn't for”
her. See Paulsen Decl. at 1-2 (ECF No. 31).
March 16, 2016, Paulsen and plaintiff informed defendant that
Paulsen was moving out and plaintiff would assume
responsibility for the rent and all financial obligations as
of April 16, 2016. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 28-29 & Ex. 2.
The same day, defendant issued a termination notice stating
that the month-to-month tenancy would terminate on April 16,
2016 and both plaintiff and Paulsen were required to move out
by that date. Id. Ex. 3.
April 14, 2016, Paulsen and defendant entered into an updated
agreement stipulating that the last month's rent paid by
Paulsen in November 2015 would be applied to the period from
April 16 through May 16, 2016, and that both plaintiff and
Paulsen were allowed to remain until May 16, 2016. Am. Compl.
¶ 31 & Ex. 4; Eck. Decl. ¶ 4.
17, 2016, Paulsen met defendant at the rental property.
Paulsen's and petitioner's belongings had been
removed and Paulsen returned her key to defendant. Eck Decl.
¶ 6. Paulsen asserts that plaintiff had not agreed to
move out and had not returned his key; consequently, she
claims that she “took it upon” herself to remove
plaintiff's belongings “to avoid the upcoming legal
battle.” Paulsen Decl. at 3. Defendant then changed the
7, 2016, shortly past 2:00 a.m., a neighbor called the police
and reported a break-in at defendant's rental property.
Eck Decl. ¶ 7; Am. Compl. ¶ 36; Def.'s Answer
Ex. 1 (ECF No. 18-1). Police officers responded and found
defendant and a woman (not Paulsen) inside the property. The
officers also found damage to a door leading from the mudroom
and evidence of a forced entry.
subsequently filed a forcible entry and detainer (FED) suit
against plaintiff in Klamath County and judgment was rendered
in favor of defendant. Eck Decl. ¶ 8.
September 16, 2016, plaintiff filed this action.
alleges that defendant unlawfully terminated the lease
agreement without adequate notice because of plaintiff's
race. Specifically, plaintiff contends he was a lawful
resident as of June 7, 2016, because defendant was required
to provide thirty days' notice before terminating the
updated lease agreement allowing plaintiff to remain until
May 16, 2016. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 33-34. Plaintiff also
maintains that defendant exhibited racial hostility towards
him on several occasions and falsely told his neighbor that
plaintiff had moved out of the property. Id.
¶¶ 16, 18, 23-24, 30, 35. Defendant argues that no
evidence supports plaintiff's claims.
prevail on his motion for summary judgment, defendant must
show that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact
and he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The court must construe the evidence
and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most
favorable to plaintiff. Torres v. City of Madera,
648 F.3d 1119, 1123 (9th Cir. 2011).
plaintiff's claims broadly, he alleges racial
discrimination under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and 42 U.S.C.
§ 1981. The FHA and § 1983 make it unlawful to deny
a rental dwelling or to discriminate in the terms,
conditions, or privileges of a rental agreement because of
race. 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 3604; Pavon v. Swift