Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Reeves v. Brookside Apartment Properties, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky

March 5, 2019

Jaylynn Grace REEVES, and Bryan Douglas REEVES PLAINTIFFS
v.
BROOKSIDE APARTMENT PROPERTIES, LLC DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Charles R. Simpson III, Senior Judge United States District Court

         I. Introduction

         This case is before the Court on two interrelated motions: Defendant Brookside Apartment Properties, LLC's motion for judgment on the pleadings (DN 7) and Plaintiffs Jaylynn and Bryan Reeves motion to dismiss Brookside's counterclaims (DN 12). Both motions are ripe. Finding that one of Brookside's claims is moot and that it is entitled to judgment on the pleadings for the rest of its claims, the Court will grant that motion in part and deny that motion in part. Further finding that Brookside has stated a claim on which relief can be granted as to its remaining claims, the Court will deny the Reeveses' motion to dismiss. However, considering that only the property damage claim remains, the Court will dismiss that claim sua sponte and decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction.

         II. Legal Standard

         “After the pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay trial-a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). In undertaking these inquiries, the Court “may consider the Complaint and any exhibits attached thereto, public records, items appearing in the record of the case and exhibits attached to defendant's motion to dismiss so long as they are referred to in the Complaint and are central to the claims contained therein.” Bassett v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426, 430 (6th Cir. 2008).

         To the extent a Rule 12(c) motion challenges a party's pleading, the inquiry is equivalent to that used under Rule 12(b)(6). Lindsay v. Yates, 498 F.3d 434, 438 (6th Cir. 2007). Therefore, to survive a Rule 12(c) motion to dismiss, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. The complaint need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ” yet must provide “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. “Conclusory allegations or legal conclusions masquerading as factual allegations will not suffice.” Eidson v. Tenn. Dept. of Child Servs., 510 F.3d 631, 634 (6th Cir. 2007). In undertaking this inquiry, “a district court must (1) view the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and (2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as true.” Tackett, 561 F.3d at 488. “The defendant has the burden of showing that the plaintiff has failed to state a claim for relief[.]” Wesley v. Campbell, 779 F.3d 421, 428 (6th Cir. 2015).

         To the extent a Rule 12(c) motion argues that entry of judgment is proper in favor of a party, the inquiry is equivalent to that used for summary judgment under Rule 56. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Winget, 510 F.3d 577, 582 (6th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). Judgment is proper in such a scenario when “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). “[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties [is insufficient]; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact exists when “there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party.” Id. In undertaking this analysis, the Court must view the evidence in a light most favorable to the non-moving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007). The party moving for judgment on the pleadings bears the burden of establishing the nonexistence of any issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). They can meet this burden by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record” or “showing that the materials cited do not establish the . . . presence of a genuine dispute.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). This burden can also be met by demonstrating that the nonmoving party “fail[ed] to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322.

         III. Factual and Procedural Background[1]

         Jaylynn and Bryan Reeves began renting an apartment at the Oaks St. Andrews in Louisville, Kentucky in November 2014. DN 5 at 6. The Oaks is owned and operated by Brookside Apartment Properties, LLC, a commercial real estate firm located in Nashville, Tennessee. Id. The Reeveses' lease was a year-to-year lease with the most recent iteration signed on October 21, 2016. Id. While living at the apartment, the Reeveses engaged in aggressive and obscene behavior targeted at Brookside staff and other tenants. Id. On some occasions, they used racial slurs on the Oaks at St. Andrews' public Facebook page. Id. Then, in August 2017, Brookside's regional manager witnessed the Reeveses engaging in aggressive and confrontational behavior toward Brookside's office staff. Id. As a result, she instructed staff to execute a non-renewal of Plaintiffs' Lease. Id. A letter to that effect was issued to the Reeveses on October 11, 2017. Id. at 7. The lease provides that tenants whose yearly leases are not renewed convert to a month-to-month tenancy under the same terms and conditions of the yearly lease. Id. In such a scenario, the lease imposes an automatic, additional fee of $100 per month. Id.

         Once the Reeveses' lease converted to a month-to-month tenancy, they refused to pay the additional $100 fee. Id. Brookside then began charging the Reeveses late fees. DN 5 at 7. The Reeveses claim that these amounts were not lawfully due because the additional amount was charged in retaliation for filing a claim of discrimination with the Louisville Metro Human Rights Commission (LMHRC) and reporting housing code violations to the Louisville Metro Government. DN 6 at 1. A housing inspector investigated the alleged housing code violations and uncovered four violations. DN 1-1 at 4, 11. While the LMHRC investigation was pending, the Reeveses filed a complaint in the Jefferson County Circuit Court, alleging Brookside failed to accommodate Jaylynn's disability and retaliated against them by raising their rent and failing to renew their lease. DN 1-1. Specifically, the Reeveses alleged that they requested to park Bryan's work truck at the complex so that Jaylynn would not have to wake up and take him to his truck, disrupting her medication schedule. DN 1-1 at 4.

         In January 2018, the Reeveses offered partial payment for their rent obligations, which Brookside declined to accept before providing notice that the Reeveses had defaulted on their lease. DN 5 at 7. Around the same time, the case filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court was removed to this Court. DN 1-1. Once here, Brookside filed an answer including a counterclaim. DN 5. Brookside brought four claims for eviction, unpaid rent, interference with peaceful enjoyment, and property damage. Id. at 8-9. The Reeveses filed an answer admitting several facts. DN 6. See also n.1, supra.

         While this action was pending, Brookside initiated forcible detainer proceedings in the Jefferson County District Court. On March 28, 2018, the parties reached an agreement which required the Reeveses to vacate within 20 days, required Brookside to provide a neutral recommendation on inquiry, and required Brookside to “pursue damages, including rent owed and late fees, in a separate action.” DN 12 at 5. The Reeveses then moved to dismiss Brookside's counterclaim in this action. DN 12 at 1.

         IV. Discussion

         As an initial matter, the Court must address whether it retains jurisdiction, as the Reeveses have attempted to “withdraw” their discrimination claims and deprive the Court of jurisdiction. Finding that jurisdiction remains, the Court then turns to address the Reeveses' claims based on failure-to-accommodate, retaliation, and punitive damages. Ultimately, the Court concludes that Brookside's motion for judgment on the pleadings should be granted as to those claims. Finally, the Court considers Brookside's claims for eviction, unpaid rent, interference with peaceful enjoyment, and property damage. Finding that Brookside is entitled to judgment on the unpaid rent and peaceful interference claims, the Court will grant Brookside's motion for judgment on the pleadings and deny the Reeveses' motion to dismiss on those claims. As to the eviction claim, the Court finds it has become moot in light of the Jefferson County District Court's forcible detainer order. As a result, the Court will deny Brookside's motion for judgment on the pleadings to that extent. Finally, the Court concludes that the property damage claim states a plausible claim on which relief may be granted and therefore denies the Reeveses' motion to dismiss on that claim. However, the Court concludes that it would be in the best interest of judicial economy for it to dismiss the property damage claim and decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction.

         A. Jurisdiction

         In their response to Brookside's motion for judgment on the pleadings, the Reeveses purport to “withdraw any an [sic] all claims associated with the claimed discrimination based upon the disability of Plaintiffs.” DN 8 at 1.[2] As a result, they reason, ‚Äúthis Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because, the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.