United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Lincoln D. Almond, United States Magistrate Judge
before the Court are Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment filed
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 by Defendant National
Investments, Ltd. and Subsidized Properties, II, LP
(“Defendants”) (ECF Doc. No. 21) and Plaintiff
Joanne Babbitt. (ECF Doc. No. 26). This matter has been
referred to me for preliminary review, findings and
recommended disposition. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B); LR Cv
72(a). After reviewing the Memoranda submitted and relevant
case law, I recommend that Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment (ECF Doc. No. 21) be GRANTED and Plaintiff's
Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF Doc. No. 26) be
Complaint in this matter arises from Plaintiff's claim
that Defendants violated the Federal Fair Housing Act and
that Plaintiff suffered damages as a result thereof. The
events giving rise to Plaintiff's claim are centered upon
her interactions with a property manager at Evergreen Drive
Apartments, a Section 8 Housing Complex located in East
Providence, Rhode Island. At all times material to this
action, Subsidized Properties, II, LP does business as
Evergreen Drive Apartments. (ECF Doc. No. 23 at ¶ 25).
At all times material to this action, Defendant, National
Investments, Ltd., has been the Management Agent for
Evergreen Drive Apartments. Id. ¶ 26. It is
undisputed that Plaintiff was never a tenant or resident of
Evergreen Drive Apartments. She alleges that her daughter and
granddaughter are “ex-tenants” and that her
“young cousin” is a tenant at least as of the
filing date of Plaintiff's Complaint. (ECF Doc. No. 1 at
¶¶ 3, 7, 8).
Rule Cv 56 requires a party moving for summary judgment to
file a “Statement of Undisputed Facts that concisely
sets forth all facts that the movant contends are
undisputed....” See LR Cv 56(a)(1). Any fact
alleged in the movant's Statement of Undisputed Facts is
deemed admitted unless expressly denied or otherwise
controverted by a party objecting to the Motion. LR Cv
56(a)(3). In addition, the objecting party shall file a
Statement of Disputed and/or Undisputed Facts setting forth
disputed facts and/or additional undisputed facts that the
objecting party contends preclude summary judgment.
Id. at (a)(3)-(4). These Local Rules carry the force
of law and are binding upon the litigants and upon the court
itself. Barber v. Verizon New England, Inc., No.
Civ.A. 05-390-ML, 2006 WL 3524465 (D.R.I. Dec. 6, 2006)
(quoting Air Line Pilots Ass'n v. Precision Valley
Aviation, Inc., 26 F.3d 220, 224 (1st
Cir.1994) (citations and footnote omitted)). Pursuant to LR
Cv 56(a)(3), Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Facts
(ECF Doc. No. 23) is deemed admitted because Plaintiff did
not file any Objection to the Motion or any counter-statement
of disputed facts as permitted under Local Rule Cv 56(a)(3).
The following facts are gleaned from Defendants'
November 26, 2013, the City of East Providence Police
Department dispatched Officer Steven Tiernan to the Evergreen
Drive Apartments Office (the “Office”), and he
spoke with the Evergreen Site Manager, Cara Tedrow. (ECF Doc.
No. 23 at ¶ 27). On November 29, 2013, Officer Tiernan
advised Plaintiff that she was to refrain from entering the
Office. Id. ¶ 28. On or about May 30, 2014,
Defendants applied for a Temporary Restraining Order
prohibiting Plaintiff from harassing Defendants'
then-Management Agent, Cara Tedrow. Id. ¶ 29. A
portion of the Temporary Restraining Order Application was an
Affidavit of Ms. Tedrow. Id. ¶ 30. Ms.
Tedrow's affidavit provided, inter alia, that
“[t]his Affidavit is made in support of
[Evergreen's] Motion and action for a judgment, in favor
of [ ] [Evergreen], for a temporary, preliminary and
permanent injunction against [Ms. Babbitt] enjoining her
presence at the Premises, her harassment of myself and other
employees of National Investments, Ltd.” Id.
these interactions, the parties have sought relief in various
forums, and they have lodged various grievances against one
another. On or about November 24, 2014, Plaintiff filed a
Charge of Discrimination against Defendants with the State of
Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights (the
“Commission”). Id. ¶ 1. Plaintiff
alleged that Defendants violated the Rhode Island Fair
Housing Practices Act. Id. ¶ 2. On December 1,
2014, the Commission administratively closed the matter with
a finding of “[n]o jurisdiction.” Id.
about June 11, 2015, Plaintiff filed an additional Charge of
Discrimination against Defendants with the Commission. The
Commission assigned that Charge a number, RICHR #H15 HRA
697-03/03 (the “Second Matter”). Id.
¶ 4. In the Second Matter, Plaintiff alleged that
Defendants violated the Rhode Island Fair Housing Practices
Act and “Section 804a or f of Title VIII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1968 (as amended), ” or 42 U.S.C. §
3604(a) or (f). Id. ¶ 5. On or about June 29,
2015, Defendants moved the Commission to dismiss the Second
Matter. Id. ¶ 7. On October 20, 2015, the
Commission made a determination of “no probable
cause” with respect to the Second Matter. Id.
15, 2015, Plaintiff commenced an action against Defendants in
the State of Rhode Island Superior Court, Babbitt v.
Nat'l Inv., Ltd, PC-2015-2542 (R.I. Super. Ct.) (the
“State Court Action”). Id. ¶ 6. On
July 28, 2015, Defendants filed and served a Motion in the
State Court Action for Judgment on the Pleadings. The
Superior Court denied the Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings on October 13, 2015. There have been no subsequent
proceedings in connection with the State Court Action.
Id. ¶ 9.
13, 2016, Plaintiff filed the present Complaint. Id.
¶ 13. The Complaint was served upon Defendants on or
about August 29, 2016. Id. ¶ 14. On September
6, 2016, Defendants filed and served their Answer and
Affirmative Defenses to the Complaint. Id. ¶
15. The parties have engaged in discovery.
shall be entitled to summary judgment “if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). When deciding a
motion for summary judgment, the Court must review the
evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party
and draw all reasonable inferences in the nonmoving
party's favor. Cadle Co. v. Hayes, 116 F.3d 957,
959 (1st Cir. 1997).
judgment involves shifting burdens between the moving and the
nonmoving parties. Initially, the burden requires the moving
party to aver “an absence of evidence to support the
nonmoving party's case.” Garside v. Osco Drug,
Inc., 895 F.2d 46, 48 (1st Cir. 1990)
(quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325
(1986)). Once the moving party meets this burden, the burden
falls upon the nonmoving party, who must oppose the motion by
presenting facts that show a genuine “trialworthy issue
remains.” Cadle, 116 F.3d at 960 (citing
Nat'l Amusements, Inc. v. Town of Dedham, 43 F.3d
731, 735 (1st Cir. 1995); Maldonado-Denis v.
Castillo-Rodriguez, 23 F.3d 576, ...