United States District Court, D. Maryland
Lipton Hollander United States District Judge.
plaintiffs Alvin White and Rachel White, who are married,
have sued Arbor Corporation, Diane Grant, William DeMarco,
and “B. Stewart, ” alleging, inter alia,
housing discrimination based on race, and a variety of
State-law claims related to an apartment plaintiffs rented
for a number of months. ECF 1 (Complaint); ECF 7 (Amended
Complaint). Plaintiffs assert that in 2016 and 2017,
defendants, who managed the apartments at the Villa of White
Hall in Elkton, Maryland, mistreated plaintiffs and provided
services to them that were inferior to those offered to White
tenants. ECF 1 at 10-14. In March 2017, plaintiffs moved to
another residence. Id. at 7.
have alleged jurisdiction on the basis of a federal question,
under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, asserting violations of their
constitutional rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth
amendments. ECF 1 at 4; ECF 7 at 8. They seek compensatory
and punitive damages (ECF 1 at 7), asserting, inter
alia, that they were placed in an apartment that was not
habitable. Id.; see also ECF 7 at 12.
have moved to dismiss the Complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P. 8,
“for lack of jurisdiction and deficient pleading,
” and under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), for failure to state
a claim. ECF 10. The motion is supported by a memorandum of
law. ECF 10-1 (collectively, “Motion”).
Plaintiffs oppose the Motion (ECF 14,
“Opposition”), and have submitted several
exhibits chronicling their interactions with defendants. ECF
14-1. Notably, defendants did not reply.
hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion. See
Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that follow, I shall
dismiss the constitutional claims, and I shall decline to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the State-law claims.
Factual and Procedural Background
time the Complaint was filed, plaintiffs were 87 and 76 years
old. ECF 1 at 13.Plaintiffs state that on Friday, June 10,
2016, they moved into an apartment in “the Villas of
White Hall, ” a low income housing development for
seniors. ECF 7 at 2, 6. The property, at 507 Skipjack Ct.,
Elkton, Maryland, was managed by defendants. Id. at
6. According to plaintiffs, they were scheduled to move in on
June 11, 2016, but were told by defendant Grant,
“‘No moving in on Saturdays.'”
Id. When they arrived, “the apartment . . .
was in deplorable condition.” ECF 1 at 6. According to
plaintiffs, the rug was soaking wet and smelled of
“lavender fragrance” and “cat urine.”
Id. There was mold in the bathtub and on the
bathroom floor, and the vents, shelves, and toilet were
“covered with brown substance.” Id.
Plaintiffs also allege the presence of rug mites or dirt
mites, and assert that they caught the exterminator and Grant
“plant[ing] a bed bug” on the furniture.
Id. Despite numerous attempts to have the apartment
cleaned and the rug replaced, plaintiffs allege that the rug
remained in the apartment until February 7, 2017, and the tub
and floor continued to have traces of mold. Id. at
to plaintiffs, as a result of the unsanitary condition of the
apartment, plaintiffs suffered from pneumonia (ECF 1 at 12)
and a “congestive heart attack due to breathing
problems.” ECF 7 at 6. Ms. White also complained of
other heart problems, asserting that “when exposed to
strong odors it would make [her] heart beat faster.”
ECF 1 at 12. Mr. White allegedly had trouble walking on the
carpet, “due to [its] bulkiness.” Id.
also contend that they were discriminated against on the
basis of their race. According to the Complaint, “3
Whites [were] given immaculate apartments. [Plaintiffs] as
Blacks [were] given the opposite.” ECF 1 at 11.
Plaintiffs also allege that the rules of the property were
different for Black and White tenants, and that White tenants
were allowed to move in on Saturdays and smoke on the
property, while Black tenants had to leave the grounds to
smoke. Id.; see also ECF 7 at 10-11.
aver that they contacted Veterans Affairs, the “Health
Department, ” the Department of Housing and Urban
Development, and “Section 8, ” seeking
assistance. ECF 1 at 13. However, plaintiffs state that
because they were “not on any government program, [the
agencies] could not help [plaintiffs].” Id.
appears that plaintiffs did come in contact with an attorney
through the “Office on Aging, ” and they filed
“for Escrow” in State court regarding the carpet,
which was “Denied.” See Id. But, in
February 2017, defendants agreed to replace the carpet.
moved out of the apartment on March 11, 2017. Id. at
14. This suit followed.
handwritten Complaint was filed on June 14, 2017. It alleges
the basic facts of plaintiffs' claims against William
DeMarco, the “Compliance Manager” for the
property; Diane Grant, the Property Manager; and an unnamed
Regional Supervisor. ECF 1 at 2-3, 10. The same day,
plaintiffs filed a motion to appoint counsel (ECF 3), which
was denied. ECF 4.
11, 2017, plaintiffs filed an “addendum” to their
Complaint (ECF 5), which the Court construed as a request to
add a defendant. ECF 6 at 2. The Court granted plaintiffs 21
days to amend their Complaint. Id. Plaintiffs filed
an Amended Complaint, adding “Arbor Corporation”
and “Mr. B. Stewart” (the formerly unnamed
Regional Supervisor) as defendants. ECF 7 at 1, 4. The
Amended Complaint includes allegations that overlap with the
initial Complaint, but it is organized in a different way and
omits certain ...