Fair Housing Act Claim Dismissed; “Delayed/Untimely Repairs” Were Not Racially Motivated

In Melton v. Malcolm Shabazz, L.P. et al., 2021 WL 535661 (SDNY Feb. 12, 2021), the court, inter alia, dismissed plaintiff’s discrimination claim asserted under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601, et seq.

In sum, plaintiff alleged that repairs to her apartment were delayed due to her race and/or national origin, and that defendants blamed her for the damage to her apartment while apparently ignoring/protecting African American and/or Muslim tenants in apartments above hers (who plaintiff believed had unauthorized washing machines).

As to her “delayed repairs” claim, the court explained:

Here, the Court finds that Plaintiff has not adduced evidence from which a reasonable jury could find that Defendants discriminated against her because of her membership in a statutorily protected class. Plaintiff asserts, generally, that other tenants had their cabinets replaced while she did not. (Am. Compl. at 7.) However, Plaintiff has not identified any other tenant who received repairs in a timelier fashion. In her Rule 56(d) Response, Plaintiff provides pictures of cabinets on the sidewalk outside her building, which she contends showed that “cabinet replacement work was going on in the building.” (Pl.’s Rule 56(d) Resp. at 2.) But, as Defendants point out, the fact that other cabinets were placed on the sidewalk in front of Plaintiff’s building does not establish that Defendants placed them there or why they were placed there. (Reply Mem. at 3.) Further, even if Plaintiff could establish that Defendants made repairs to other apartments, she would need to present evidence as to when those repairs were requested in order to show that non-Asian tenants were not subject to similar delays. Because Plaintiff has not pointed to any evidence that Defendants were motivated by discrimination in delaying repairs to her apartment, the Court finds that Plaintiff has not established a prima facie case of discrimination based on delayed repairs.

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