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Koffa v. Low Income Housing Institute

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

March 2, 2018



          JAMES L. ROBART United States District Judge.


         Before the court is Plaintiff Bennie Sayee Koffa's amended complaint. (Am. Compl. (Dkt. # 9).) Mr. Koffa is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis (“IFP”). (See id.; Compl. (Dkt. # 5); IFP Order (Dkt. # 4).) Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), district courts have authority to review IFP complaints and must dismiss them if “at any time” it is determined that a complaint is frivolous or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000) (clarifying that § 1915(e) applies to all IFP proceedings, not just those filed by prisoners). The court performed a § 1915(e) review of Mr. Koffa's first complaint in this case and dismissed his action for failure to state a claim. (See 1/9/18 Order (Dkt. # 8).) The court has thoroughly reviewed the amended complaint and determines that it continues to fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted. Accordingly, the court DISMISSES Mr. Koffa's complaint without prejudice.


         Mr. Koffa filed a motion to proceed IFP and a proposed complaint on November 20, 2017. (See IFP Mot. (Dkt. # 1).) The same day, Magistrate Judge Brian A. Tsuchida granted the motion with the recommendation that the complaint be reviewed under § 1915(e) before the issuance of a summons. (IFP Order at 1.) On January 9, 2018, the court dismissed Mr. Koffa's complaint pursuant to § 1915(e) for failure to state a claim. (See 1/9/18 Order.) First, the court determined that Mr. Koffa provided no facts as to how Defendants Low Income Housing Institute (“LIHI”) and Eric Pattin's actions are fairly attributable to the state and thus dismissed Mr. Koffa's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims against them. (Id. at 4-5.) Second, the court found that Mr. Koffa failed to state any factual allegations against remaining Defendants former Mayor Tim Burgess and Governor Jay Inslee and thus dismissed the § 1983 claims against them as well. (Id. at 5.) The court cautioned Mr. Koffa that if he “fail[ed] to file an amended complaint that remedies the aforementioned deficiencies, the court will dismiss his complaint without leave to amend.” (Id. at 6.)

         Mr. Koffa submitted his amended complaint on January 23, 2018, with several attachments and additional factual allegations. (See Am. Compl.) Mr. Koffa drops all allegations against former Mayor Burgess and Governor Inslee; instead, he brings suit against LIHI, Mr. Pattin, and the current mayor of Seattle Jenny Durkan (collectively, “Defendants”). (See Id. at 2.) Mr. Koffa alleges that Camp Second Chance (“the Camp”) is a city-sanctioned homeless encampment administered through contract agreement between the City of Seattle (“the City”) and LIHI. (Id. at 5; id., Ex. 1.) LIHI, in turn, allegedly authorizes the residential Camp Board of Directors (“the Camp Board”) to run camp affairs. (Id. at 5.)

         As in his original complaint, Mr. Koffa's claims arise from various incidents that occurred at the Camp. (See Id. at 19-25, [1] Exs. 3, 5-8 (incident reports and emails documenting various events that occurred at the Camp).) Specifically, Mr. Koffa's amended complaint revolves around how the Camp Board displays favoritism when running the Camp. (See id.) Through these incidents, Mr. Koffa claims that “LIHI [and] the Camp Board of Directors violated [his] civil rights by discrimination, voilent [sic] and vindictive instincts leading to voluntary evacuation of [the] Camp by [Mr. Koffa].” (Id. at 5.)

         For instance, Mr. Koffa alleges that William, [2] a camp resident who is presumably the kitchen coordinator, would depart the camp without leaving food, supplies, or keys to the kitchen, leaving the residents “no access to food/supplies until whenever William returned to camp.” (Id. at 19.) Mr. Koffa asserts that food and supplies were only accessible to William, the Camp Board, and their family, friends, or supporters. (Id. at 20.) On August 22, 2017, William allegedly ordered Mr. Koffa to clean kitchen equipment used “by younger, irresponsible residents, ” and Mr. Koffa refused. (Id., Ex. 3; see Id. at 20.) Mr. Koffa insisted that because he was the “most senior resident” at the Camp who has “demonstrated will, ability, and desire to inspire other residents, ” he should not have to be “a dishwasher/cleaner/janitor for irresponsibility, carelessness, or carefree attitudes.” (Id., Ex. 3 (“To do otherwise is insulting my age, dedication and humility.”).) As a result, Mr. Koffa quit his post in the kitchen. (See id.; id. at 20.)

         Mr. Koffa also raises a long list of instances purportedly revealing favoritism and discrimination in how the Camp Board enforced the Camp rules. For example, Mr. Koffa alleges that a Camp Board member, Richard, [3] was “often drunk” and “usually disrupted residents['] meetings or engaged [in] violence against fellow campers, without disciplinary action.” (Id. at 20.) Although Richard “eventually became disallowed (suspended) from [the] Camp by City of Seattle for drunken violence, ” Mr. Koffa asserts that Richard “was encouraged or permitted by the Board to reside on [the] Camp for many months-in defiance of city orders.” (Id.) Mr. Koffa also asserts that a Camp resident, Eric Davis, was accused of “inappropriate sexual advances and harassments of female residents of the camp” but was shielded by the Camp Board in defiance of city and administrator suspension orders. (Id. at 21.) Similarly, Mr. Koffa alleges that a resident known as “Tip” was suspected of drug abuse and expelled from the Camp, but his family was provided “temporary accommodations” by LIHI and the Camp Board. (Id. at 23.)

         Mr. Koffa alleges that, on August 8, 2017, the residents assigned to security detail had “abandoned their duties, ” but no disciplinary actions were taken, allegedly because these residents were friends of the Camp Board.[4] (See Id. at 21; id., Ex. 5.) Additionally, Mr. Koffa asserts that in October 2017, infectious disease broke out in the Camp, and the Camp Board “failed to take preventive actions.” (Id. at 22.) Mr. Koffa allegedly had to complain to a Customer Service Complaint Investigator for the City, “who took prompt professional actions, thus ensuring [the] safety of residents.” (Id.) Moreover, Mr. Koffa claims that despite a limitation on the number of pets allowed per resident, Camp Board members permitted acquaintances to keep “many dogs or cats with access in TV/community room and kitchen areas . . . obviously posing unsanitary conditions to camp residents.” (Id.)

         Mr. Koffa also claims that members of the Camp Board and residents in the Camp were violent against him in an incident that he claims was never investigated, but omits any details about this occurence.[5] (Id. at 24.) Mr. Koffa therefore decided to leave the Camp and returned only to collect personal items left there. (Id. at 25.) Upon return, Mr. Koffa alleges that his “tent was ransacked, ” with many of his personal items damaged or destroyed. (Id.) Mr. Koffa includes with his amended complaint a list of his damaged property. (See id., Ex. 8.)[6]

         Mr. Koffa challenges the “pattern and practi[c]e of inactions on the basis of discrimination by the City of Seattle and [LIHI] . . . following complaints by residents . . . which emboldens the [Camp Board] to discipline residents with discrimination.” (Id. at 24.) Mr. Koffa warns that “encampments and shelters transform into ‘death camps' with scant[] or no attention or actions taken to remedy inhumane treatments.” (Id. at 26.) Thus, Mr. Koffa requests that the court “sen[d] a clean, resounding message to Administrators of homeless encampments and public housing institutions to ‘do unto others as you would that they do unto you.'” (Id. at 27.) He also seeks the value of his damaged personal property. (Id. at 5.)

         After filing his amended complaint, Mr. Koffa also filed a motion for issuance of a summons. (See Mot. (Dkt. # 14).) This motion summarizes the claims contained within the amended complaint as “Defamation, Discrimination and Malicious Destruction of Personal Property, Violence and Intimidation.” (Id. at 1.) Mr. Koffa notifies the court that the amended complaint has been served on the Defendants and requests that the court issue a summons. (Id.)

         III. ...

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