United States District Court, D. Oregon
Shannon D. Sims, Attorney at Law, Of Attorneys for Plaintiff.
Jonathan Henderson and Christopher J. Drotzmann, Davis
Rothwell Earle & Xochihua, PC, Of Attorneys for
OPINION AND ORDER
Michael H. Simon United States District Judge.
Randi Wilson (“Plaintiff”) brings this lawsuit
against Guardian Management, LLC d/b/a Mountain Knoll
(“Guardian”), Kristine Herb, and two John or Jane
Does (collectively “Defendants”). Plaintiff
alleges that Guardian negligently allowed its tenants to
smoke on its property, which resulted in a fire damaging
Plaintiff's property. Plaintiff also alleges housing
discrimination under the federal Fair Housing Act
(“FHA”) and its state counterpart. Defendants
move for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims.
States Magistrate Judge Youlee Yim You issued a Findings and
Recommendation in this case on December 12, 2018. ECF 41.
Judge You had previously issued a findings and recommendation
recommending that summary judgment be granted against
Plaintiff's discrimination claim and denied on
Plaintiff's negligence claim. ECF 32. Judge You withdrew
her findings and recommendation and construed Defendant's
objections as a motion for reconsideration. ECF 35, 37. On
reconsideration, Judge You recommended that Defendants'
motion for summary judgment be granted on all claims and that
the case be dismissed with prejudice. Plaintiff filed
objections, ECF 43, to which Defendants responded. ECF 45.
For the reasons discussed below, after a de novo
review, the Court agrees with the recommendation to grant
summary judgment on all claims, but does not adopt the
reasoning related to Plaintiff's housing discrimination
claims. Accordingly, the Court adopts in part the Findings
Federal Magistrates Act
the Federal Magistrates Act (“Act”), the Court
may “accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part,
the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). If a party
files objections to a magistrate judge's findings and
recommendations, “the court shall make a de novo
determination of those portions of the report or specified
proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is
made.” Id.; Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3).
those portions of a magistrate judge's findings and
recommendations to which neither party has objected, the Act
does not prescribe any standard of review. See Thomas v.
Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 152 (1985) (“There is no
indication that Congress, in enacting [the Act], intended to
require a district judge to review a magistrate's report
to which no objections are filed.”); United States.
v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003) (en
banc) (holding that the court must review de novo
magistrate judge's findings and recommendations if
objection is made, “but not otherwise”). Although
in the absence of objections no review is required, the Act
“does not preclude further review by the district
judge sua sponte . . . under a de novo or
any other standard.” Thomas, 474 U.S. at 154.
Indeed, the Advisory Committee Notes to Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)
recommend that “[w]hen no timely objection is filed,
” the Court review the magistrate judge's
recommendations for “clear error on the face of the
is entitled to summary judgment if the “movant shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party has the burden of
establishing the absence of a genuine dispute of material
fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986). The court must view the evidence in the light most
favorable to the non-movant and draw all reasonable
inferences in the non-movant's favor. Clicks
Billiards Inc. v. Sixshooters Inc., 251 F.3d 1252, 1257
(9th Cir. 2001). Although “[c]redibility
determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing
of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions,
not those of a judge . . . ruling on a motion for summary
judgment, ” the “mere existence of a scintilla of
evidence in support of the plaintiff's position [is]
insufficient . . . .” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252, 255 (1986). “Where the
record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of
fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine
issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (citation
and quotation marks omitted).
Housing Discrimination Claims
prohibits discriminating against any person by refusing to
“sell or rent” a dwelling or by discriminating
“in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or
rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or
facilities in connection therewith, because of race, color,
religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.” 42
U.S.C. § 3604(a)-(b). “FHA claims . . . may be
brought under theories of both disparate treatment and
disparate impact.” Comm. Concerning Cmty.
Improvement v. City of Modesto, 583 F.3d 690, 711 (9th
Cir. 2009). Courts “analyze FHA . . . disparate
treatment claims under Title VII's three-stage
McDonnell Douglas/Burdine test.” Gamble v.
City of Escondido, 104 F.3d 300, 305 (9th Cir. 1997);
see also McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S.
792 (1973); Tex. Dep't of Cmty. Affairs v.
Burdine, 450 U.S. 248 (1981). Accordingly, to establish
a prima facie claim of disparate treatment based on
sex (or gender), a plaintiff must first show that: (1) she is
a member of a protected class; (2) she was denied a rental
relationship or otherwise treated differently in the terms,
conditions, or privileges of her rental relationship or in
the provision of services or facilities to her as a tenant;
and (3) the different treatment was, at least in part,
because of her sex (or gender). See 42 U.S.C. §
fair housing law, Oregon Revised Statute § 659A.145,
mirrors the FHA and the two statutes are interpreted
identically. See Marquard v. New Penn Financial,
LLC, 2017 WL 4227685, at *12 (D. Or. Sept. 22, 2017)
(citing Fishing Rock Owners' Ass'n v.
Roberts, 6 F.Supp.3d 1132, 1138 n.1 (D. Or. 2014)). The
Court's resolution of ...