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Thompson v. Boulder County Housing Authority

United States District Court, D. Colorado

April 13, 2016

ANDREA R. THOMPSON, Plaintiff,
v.
BOULDER COUNTY HOUSING AUTHORITY, FRANK ALEXANDER, WILLA WILLIFORD, AMANDA GUTHRIE, CHERYL SEARS, KRISTINA GONZALEZ, Defendants.

ORDER TO DISMISS IN PART AND TO DRAW CASE

LEWIS T. BABCOCK, SENIOR JUDGE

On February 12, 2016, Plaintiff, Andrea R. Thompson, a resident of Longmont, Colorado, filed pro se a Complaint (ECF No. 1) and an Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepayment of Fees or Costs (Long Form) (ECF No. 2). She has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 5). Plaintiff also filed three Motions for Temporary Restraining Orders and/or Preliminary Injunctions (ECF Nos. 3, 7 and 11), which were all denied by the Court (ECF Nos. 6, 8 and 12). Ms. Thompson also filed a “Motion for Amended Complaint” on February 26, 2016. (ECF No. 9).

As part of the Court’s review pursuant to D.C.COLO.LCivR 8.1(a), Magistrate Judge Gallagher reviewed the Complaint and “Motion for Amended Complaint” and determined that they were deficient. On March 4, 2016, Magistrate Judge Gallagher ordered Ms. Thompson to file an Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 10). Specifically, Ms. Thompson was directed that her Amended Complaint should clearly identify the Defendants and the § 1983 claims asserted against them and she should name as Defendants only those persons that personally participated in the constitutional violations. Ms. Thompson was warned that if she failed to amend her complaint within the time allowed, the action may be dismissed without further notice.

Ms. Thompson has failed to file an Amended Complaint as directed within the time allowed. Therefore, the Court will proceed to review her original Complaint.

The Court must construe the Complaint liberally because Ms. Thompson is not represented by an attorney. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). However, the Court should not act as an advocate for a pro se litigant. See Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110. For the reasons discussed below, this action will be dismissed, in part, and the remainder drawn to a presiding judge.

I. The Complaint

Ms. Thompson’s claims are based on the fact that the Boulder County Housing Authority (“BCHA”) and its employees threatened to, and ultimately did, terminate her Section 8 housing voucher. A description of the Section 8 housing voucher program follows:

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program provides rental assistance to low-income families to enable them to participate in the private rental market. This program is administered by [the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD")]. 42 U.S.C. § 1437f(o); 24 C.F.R. pt. 982. Although funded by the federal government, it is generally administered by state or local government entities known as public housing agencies (PHAs). 24 C.F.R. § 982.1(a). A PHA must comply with HUD regulations and other HUD requirements for the program. 24 C.F.R. § 982.52(a). Federal regulations require PHAs to adopt written administrative plans that establish local policies for administration of the program in accordance with HUD requirements. 24 C.F.R. § 982.54.
[The BCHA] is the local PHA that administers the Section 8 program for [Boulder County, Colorado].
Eligibility for the Section 8 housing voucher is determined by income. 24 C.F.R. § 982.201. Qualified participants pay a percentage of their income toward rent and utilities and receive subsidies for the balance of the rental payment. 42 U.S.C. § 1437f. . . . The subsidized portion of the rent is paid by the PHA to the rental property owner (the "person...with the legal right to lease...a unit to a participant" under the program, 24 C.F.R. § 982.4) pursuant to [a Housing Assistance Payment ("HAP")] contract. Once a PHA determines that a participant is eligible and that there is available space in the program, the PHA issues the participant a voucher and the participant can search for housing. 24 C.F.R. §§ 982.202, 982.302.
If a property owner agrees to lease a unit to a tenant under the program, he must enter into an HAP contract with the PHA. The HAP contract is prescribed by HUD and specifies the maximum monthly rent an owner may charge. 42 U.S.C. § 1437f(c)(1). Before the PHA enters into an HAP contract, the PHA must determine that the cost of the unit is reasonable and meets HUD's prescribed housing quality standards (HQS). 42 U.S.C. § 1437f(o)(8); 24 C.F.R. § 982.305(a); 24 C.F.R. § 982.401. The HAP contract provides that it "shall be interpreted and implemented in accordance with HUD requirements, including the HUD program regulations at 24 Code of Federal Regulations Part 982." HUD-52641, Part B (3/2000), ¶ 16(b). The Section 8 participant enters into a separate lease with the owner that must meet certain requirements pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1437f(o)(7). For example, the lease must include the required tenancy addendum. 24 C.F.R. § 982.305(a). The housing must also be inspected annually to ensure that it continues to meet the HQS. 42 U.S.C. § 1437f(o)(8)(B)-(D). Tenants must also re-certify family income and composition annually to continue in the program. 24 C.F.R. § 982.516.

Khan v. Bland, 630 F.3d 519, 523-24 (7th Cir. 2010).

Although not a model of clarity, construing the allegations liberally, Plaintiff alleges that employees of BCHA wanted her to sign a Repayment Agreement, which was apparently calculated by Defendant Cheryl Sears. Plaintiff argues that the Repayment Agreement contained a miscalculation of her rent. When she contacted Defendant Amanda Guthrie on December 11, 2015, to discuss the Repayment Agreement, Ms. Guthrie allegedly told Plaintiff: “It is in your best interest to sign the Repayment Agreement to show good standing or, I will do everything to violate your housing voucher and investigate Michael Lee Trendel residing there.” (ECF No. 1 at 3). After this conversation with Ms. Guthrie, Plaintiff filed a complaint with HUD.

Then, sometime before December 28, 2015, Amanda Guthrie or another BCHA employee directed Kristina Gonzales, an investigator for BCHA to conduct an investigation to prove Michael Lee Trendel was residing at Plaintiff’s home. As a result of the investigation, Plaintiff received a letter, signed by Cheryl Sears, stating that her Section 8 voucher was being terminated as of February 29, 2016. Apparently, from information filed in one of Plaintiff’s motions for temporary restraining order, her Section 8 voucher was ultimately terminated. In her Motion for Amended Complaint, which was denied as moot on March 4, 2016 (ECF No. 10 at 8), Plaintiff provided the following additional facts and potential claims: she has a medical disability and the Defendants violated the ADA; Defendants’ counsel is continuing with a ...


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