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Tahir v. Delany

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

August 8, 2017

OMARI TAHIR, Plaintiff,
v.
MARGARET DELANY, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          JOHN C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 92). Having thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS the motion for the reasons explained herein.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In 1992 or 1993, Defendant Midtown Center, LLC borrowed $3.2 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to acquire properties in Seattle. (Dkt. No. 93-1 at 6.) These funds were obtained from the city of Seattle, but were part of a grant from the federal government. (Id.) The CDBG funds were paid back to the City around 2000. (Dkt. No. 93-1 at 7.)

         In 2002, Defendant Midtown bought property in Seattle's Central District, which included a house on Spring Street (Spring Street House). (Dkt. No. 94-1 at 1; Dkt. No. 94 at 2.) Defendant Midtown purchased Spring Street House intending to demolish it to create additional parking for another one of its tenants. (Dkt. No. 93-1 at 3.) However, Spring Street House was not demolished because the tenant did not need the parking. (Id.)

         Around 2008, Plaintiff moved into Spring Street House. (Dkt No. 93-1 at 10.) Plaintiff paid no rent. (Dkt No. 93-1 at 3-4, 10-11.) Instead, he helped keep the surrounding property clean and safe. (Id.)

         In 2015, Defendant Midtown's partners voted to oust the then managing partner, Thomas Bangasser, and replaced him with Defendant Margaret Delaney. (Dkt. No. 94 at 2.) Defendant Midtown then began the process of selling Spring Street House and the surrounding properties. (Dkt. No. 92 at 6.) On or around March 15, 2017, following several court proceedings and disagreements between the parties, Plaintiff was evicted from Spring Street House. (Dkt. No. 92 at 5; Dkt. No. 94 at 3.) Defendants then sold Spring Street House and the surrounding properties. (Dkt. No. 92 at 6.)

         Prior to his eviction and the sale of the property, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit in this Court alleging a number of different claims. (Dkt. No. 4.) Some of Plaintiff's claims have been addressed in various orders by this Court, leaving only the Title VI, assault, and defamation claims. (See Dkt. Nos. 18, 33, 46, 54, 70, 90.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendants discriminated against him by denying him basic benefits that they afforded white tenants, thereby violating Title VI, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d, et seq. (Dkt. No. 4.) Plaintiff also alleges Defendant Delaney assaulted and defamed him. (Id.) On June 14, 2017, Defendants moved for summary judgment on these claims. (Dkt. No. 92.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         “The court shall grant 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). In making such a determination, the Court must view the facts and justifiable inferences to be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). Once a motion for summary judgment is properly made and supported, the opposing party “must come forward with ‘specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). Material facts are those that may affect the outcome of the case, and a dispute about a material fact is genuine if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248-49. Conclusory, non-specific statements in affidavits are not sufficient, and “missing facts” will not be “presumed.” Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 888-89 (1990). Ultimately, summary judgment is appropriate against a party who “fails 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 Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986).

         B. Title VI Claim

         Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides that “[n]o person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000d. For a plaintiff to prevail on a Title VI claim, one threshold requirement is that the defendant is currently receiving federal funds. Fobbs v. Holy Cross Health Sys. Corp., 29 F.3d 1439, 1447 (9th Cir. 1994) (overruled on other grounds). Additionally, “to prevail on a Title VI claim . . . a plaintiff must prove (1) that he is an ‘intended beneficiary of the federally-funded program the defendants . . . ‘participated in, ' . . . and (2) that the defendant intentionally discriminated against him in violation of the statute.” Clarke v. Upton, 703 F.Supp.2d 1037, 1050 (E.D. Cal. 2010).

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