ST. LOUIS – The owner of a St. Louis apartment building and a landlord were granted part of their motion to dismiss a pro se lawsuit filed by a former tenant over allegations she was targeted due to her race when the landlord allowed the police to search her residence, did not renew her lease and alleged she had stolen property.
According to the Sept. 20 U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri Eastern Division filing, defendants Red Brick Management LLC and Angie Hickey filed a motion to dismiss claims by plaintiff Kim Downs, who is African-American.
Downs claimed a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights in that the defendants allowed police to search her apartment. She also claimed one count of Fair Housing Act violations when the defendants filed a police report over her alleged stealing of property and one count for not renewing her lease.
"After careful consideration, the court grants the motion, in part, and dismisses plaintiff's cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Red Brick and Hickey and plaintiff's first cause of action under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) ... for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)," Judge Ronnie White wrote. "The court denies the motion, in part, as to plaintiff's second cause of action under the FHA and orders plaintiff to file an amended complaint within 15 days of this memorandum and order."
The defendants argued that they had a right not to renew the plaintiff's lease under the terms of state law.
"At this stage of the litigation, the court finds that plaintiff has alleged sufficient facts to establish a plausible claim that defendants declined to renew her lease based, in part, on her race," White wrote. "Unlike plaintiff's second cause of action related to the filing of a police report, this third cause of action falls squarely within the proscribed conduct outlined in the FHA."