United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
FRANCIS O. AWOSEFAJU, Plaintiff,
ELIZABETH MARTINEZ and MANDELA PRESERVATION, LLC., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
DISMISS THE AMENDED COMPLAINT
DENNIS SAYLOR IV UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a landlord-tenant dispute. According to the pro se
complaint, plaintiff Francis Awosefaju lives in a rental unit
in the Mandela Homes development. Mandela Homes is owned by
defendant Mandela Preservation, LLC. Plaintiff contends that
he was discriminated against on the basis of his national
origin in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
have moved to dismiss the amended complaint. For the
following reasons, the motion will be granted.
otherwise noted, the following facts are stated in the
amended complaint and have been construed liberally in favor
of the pro se plaintiff.
Francis Awosefaju is a tenant at Mandela Homes in Roxbury,
Massachusetts. Mandela Homes is owned by defendant Mandela
Preservation, LLC. Defendant Elizabeth Martinez is the
amended complaint alleges that around March 2015, Martinez
began “wrong internal renovations without giving the
residents good accomodations, treated [them] like 
animals because they are black people, Africans, spanish
people e[tc].” It alleges that Martinez started moving
residents' belongings, and damaging their property. It
states that Awosefaju had “water damages, wrong stove,
[and] wrong refrigeration.” It alleges that
Martinez's supervisor Tonya Irish “came to [the]
MCAD office for settlement of $2, 500[.]00” concerning
those claims. The amended complaint alleges that Awosefaju
was paid only $500 of that settlement, but has not been paid
the balance of $2, 000.
addition to the claims concerning the water damage and
settlement, the amended complaint alleges that Martinez gave
preferential treatment to Spanish people who were applying
for housing at Mandela Homes.
30, 2015, Awosefaju filed a charge with the Massachusetts
Commission Against Discrimination (the “MCAD”),
asserting a claim for national origin discrimination under
the Fair Housing Act against Beacon Management. (Def. Mot. to
Dismiss, Ex. B). Consistent with the claims in this action,
the MCAD charge alleged that Awosefaju's property had
been damaged by a flood in March 2015. (Id.). On
November 18, 2015, Awosefaju signed a settlement agreement,
in which he agreed to “waive all rights to bring or
pursue any . . . civil action of any kind covered by the Fair
Housing Act . . . against [Beacon Management] with respect to
any allegations referred to in this agreement.”
(Id. Ex. C ¶ 6). In exchange, Beacon Management
agreed to consider Awosefaju's submission of
documentation supporting the alleged property damage and to
respond within two weeks “with a decision regarding
reimbursement allowance, if any.” (Id. at 7).
It further provided that Beacon Management “does not
agree by its agreement to this process to any specific
reimbursement, but rather to a good faith review of such
November 8, 2016, Awosefaju filed the complaint in this
action. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for failure
to state a claim. On April 24, 2017, the Court issued a
memorandum and order denying the motion without prejudice and
directing Awosefaju to file an amended complaint that
complied with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on or
before May 24, 2017. On May 25, 2017, Awosefaju filed a
letter making additional allegations against defendants. The
Court deemed that late-filed letter to be an amended
complaint alleging one count for discrimination on the basis
of national origin in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42
U.S.C. § 3604(b).
have now moved to dismiss the amended complaint under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.
Standard of Review
motion to dismiss, the Court “must assume the truth of
all well-plead[ed] facts and give the plaintiff the benefit
of all reasonable inferences therefrom.” Ruiz v.
Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp., 496 F.3d 1, 5 (1st
Cir. 2007) (citing Rogan v. Menino, 175 F.3d 75, 77
(1st Cir. 1999)). To survive a motion to dismiss, the
complaint must state a claim that is “plausible on its
face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). That is, “[f]actual allegations must
be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level . . . on the assumption that all the allegations in the
complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).”
Id. at 555 (citations omitted). “The
plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability
requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Dismissal is appropriate
if the complaint fails to set forth “factual
allegations, either direct or inferential, respecting each
material element necessary to sustain recovery under some
actionable legal theory.” Gagliardi v.
Sullivan, 513 F.3d 301, 305 (1st Cir. 2008) (quoting
Centro Médico del Turabo, Inc. v. Feliciano de
Melecio, 406 F.3d 1, 6 (1st Cir. 2005)).