United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Aberdeen Division
B. BIGGERS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the court is Defendant George A. Miller's motion
to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Upon due
consideration of the motion, response and complaint, the
court is ready to rule.
and Procedural Background
Amos Thames has been a paraplegic and wheelchair bound since
2014. Consequently, Thames requires “around the
clock” care and is totally dependent on the assistance
of others. In the summer of 2015, Thames began searching for
a place to live which would meet his needs, both physically
and financially. During this search, Thames discovered a
residential facility located in Louisville, Mississippi,
owned by Defendant Focus Manor.
alleges that Miller, Focus Manor's Executive Director,
actively participated in the recruitment of Thames as a
resident for the facility. Miller allegedly made certain
representations to Thames regarding its relationship with the
Department of Housing and Urban Development
(“HUD”), touting the facility as HUD-approved and
limited solely to residents with disabilities. Miller
additionally assured Thames that his needs, i.e. for a daily
caregiver, would be accommodated and that an on-site property
manager-Defendant Joyce Roberson-would be available to assist
Thames should an emergency arise.
allegedly relied on Miller's representations when he
entered into a HUD lease agreement with Focus Manor on August
28, 2015, to live at the Louisville facility. Thames resided
at the facility without incident until February 16, 2016. On
this date, Thames was at his apartment alone, fell from his
wheelchair, and needed emergency assistance. Thames contacted
Roberson but she allegedly refused either to help him herself
or to call “911” for assistance.
this incident, Thames's sister called Miller to complain
about Roberson, but Miller allegedly defended her inaction.
Thames's sister followed up with a written complaint
concerning the incident and sent a copy to Miller. Miller,
however, failed to respond or otherwise take any remedial
action. In April of 2016, Defendants, including Miller,
allegedly held a “safety meeting” at the facility
where they harassed Thames about the incident and the
complaints he had filed.
3, 2016, Thames received written notification that he was in
violation of the lease agreement because he had an
“unauthorized occupant” residing in his
apartment. The letter advised Thames that the
“unauthorized occupant” must vacate the premises
or he would be evicted. Thames alleges that the
“unauthorized occupant” referenced in the letter
was his daily caregiver. According to Thames, Defendants knew
that he would have a daily caregiver staying with him at the
facility and never indicated that it was a problem until this
letter was sent.
this letter, Defendants met with Thames on June 10, 2016,
regarding his re-evaluation for the HUD lease. During this
meeting, Defendants did not mention the letter nor did they
raise the unauthorized occupant issue. Instead, Defendants
re-certified Thames's HUD lease agreement for another
year from August 2016 through July 2017.
after, on August 2, 2016, Roberson contacted local law
enforcement and made a report regarding potential drug
activity at Thames's apartment. Law enforcement
subsequently obtained a warrant and searched Thames'
residence, but no drugs were found and Thames was not
arrested. Thames alleges that Defendants conspired together
to make this false report so as to harass and embarrass him.
days later, on August 5, 2016, Defendants filed an eviction
action against Thames in the Winston County Justice Court.
Defendants, however, failed to provide Thames with the
requisite written notice to terminate the lease prior to
filing the action. Then, on August 22, 2016, Thames received
a hand-delivered letter from Defendants demanding that he
vacate the premises by September 23, 2016, and charging
Thames with three separate lease violations. Thames contends
this letter marked the first time Defendants had made him
aware of such charges.
this letter, the justice court entered an order dismissing
the eviction action on September 28, 2016. Consequently,
Thames continued to reside at the Focus Manor facility and,
during this time, he alleges that Defendants continued to
harass him in an incredibly hostile manner. Thames alleges
that Defendants did so with the intent to make him vacate the
premises on his own.
January 25, 2017, Defendants sent Thames a
“Notification of Termination of Lease Thirty (30) Day
Notice” in which they advised that termination of his
lease would be effective on March 1, 2017. Defendants then
accused Thames of two new lease violations, both of which
allegedly occurred in the spring of 2016. At this point,
Thames had “had enough” of Defendants'
attempts to harass and embarrass him. Thus, Thames decided he
would no longer oppose Defendants' efforts to evict him
and would vacate the premises.
subsequently filed the instant suit against Defendants on
June 1, 2017, asserting numerous causes of action including
discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Amendments
Act (“FHHA”), 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.,
discrimination in violation of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
(“Rehabilitation Act”), 29 U.S.C. § 701 et
seq., breach of contract, misrepresentation, abuse of
process, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional
distress, and various other ...