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Haycraft v. Fidelity Management Corp.

United States District Court, D. Kansas

July 9, 2014



MONTI L. BELOT, District Judge.

This case comes before the court on defendant's motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 59). The motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for decision. (Docs. 60, 75, 77). Defendant's motion is granted for the reasons herein.

I. Pro Se Status

Before analyzing defendant's motion for summary judgment, the court notes plaintiff is not represented by counsel. It has long been the rule that pro se pleadings, including complaints and pleadings connected with summary judgment, must be liberally construed. See Hall v. Bellmon , 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 & n.3 (10th Cir. 1991); Hill v. Corrections Corp. of America , 14 F.Supp.2d 1235, 1237 (D. Kan. 1998). This rule requires the court to look beyond a failure to cite proper legal authority, confusion of legal theories, and poor syntax or sentence construction. Hall , 935 F.2d at 1110. Liberal construction does not, however, require this court to assume the role of advocate for the pro se litigant. See id. Plaintiff is expected to construct her own arguments or theories and adhere to the same rules of procedure that govern any other litigant in this district. See id.; Hill , 14 F.Supp.2d at 1237.

On April 3, 2014, this court conducted a hearing and plaintiff appeared in person. The court explained the significance of defendant's motion for summary judgment and provided plaintiff with a copy of this court's rules. The court admonished plaintiff about her responsibility to comply with the procedural rules pertaining to motions. (Doc. 72).

Finally, notwithstanding plaintiff's past conduct and her somewhat bizarre conduct and statements at the April 3 hearing, the court is satisfied that plaintiff has been fully heard in connection with this matter. In this regard, the court notes that plaintiff was represented by counsel at her deposition and that her response to defendant's summary judgment motion is sufficiently compliant with the rules to permit summary disposition.

II. Summary Judgment Standards

The rules applicable to the resolution of this case, now at the summary judgment stage, are well-known and are only briefly outlined here. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) directs the entry of summary judgment in favor of a party who "show[s] that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). An issue is "genuine" if sufficient evidence exists so that a rational trier of fact could resolve the issue either way and an issue is "material" if under the substantive law it is essential to the proper disposition of the claim. Adamson v. Multi Community Diversified Svcs., Inc. , 514 F.3d 1136, 1145 (10th Cir. 2008).

Once the moving party has properly supported its motion for summary judgment, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party, who "may not rest on mere allegation or denials of [her] pleading, but must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986). Plaintiff failed to respond to facts numbered 39 through 77, therefore they are deemed uncontroverted. Additionally, plaintiff responded to several facts by stating "the allegations of this paragraph are denied." Plaintiff, however, did not set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine dispute as to the existence of those statements of fact. Defendant properly supported its statements of facts with citations to evidence in the record. Therefore, plaintiff cannot properly deny a fact without citing to evidence in the record. Plaintiff's general denials are not sufficient to controvert defendant's properly supported facts and they will be deemed uncontroverted. Diaz v. Paul J. Kennedy Law Firm , 289 F.3d 671, 674 (10th Cir. 2002)("While plaintiff[s] pro se pleadings are to be construed liberally and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, plaintiff must nonetheless set forth sufficient facts to support [her] claims.")

III. Facts

Defendant owns Ponderosa Apartments in Wichita, Kansas. Plaintiff signed a lease with defendant in March 2010. The lease was renewed in March 2011 and March 2012. The lease required plaintiff to have "due regard for the comfort, convenience, and pleasure of the other residents of the community." (Doc. 60, exh. B at 2). Plaintiff's apartment was on the ground floor and defendant provided plaintiff with a handicapped parking spot in front of the apartment.

In June 2012, plaintiff's behavior changed. Plaintiff drove around the complex and honked her horn at residents. Plaintiff set off the panic button on her van when residents walked by. Plaintiff wrote down residents' license plate numbers and took pictures of residents' cars. Plaintiff took pictures of residents and their children. Plaintiff yelled at residents and called them names. The residents began filing complaints with Nicole Plummer, the property manager, about plaintiff's conduct.

On June 12, Plummer served plaintiff with a Notice to Quit and Vacate for violating the lease agreement. The notice stated that plaintiff violated section 8.15 which required plaintiff to have due regard for the comfort of other residents, not commit any nuisance and not use abusive language towards residents and staff. The notice gave plaintiff fourteen days to correct her behavior or she was required to vacate the apartment in thirty days. Plaintiff, however, continued to engage in the same behavior. Plaintiff continued taking pictures of residents and children, accused Plummer of inappropriate sexual behavior and made a gun shooting gesture at Plummer.

On June 21, plaintiff met with representatives from Hatfield Mobility regarding a power wheelchair. Plaintiff then approached Plummer and asked about a threshold ramp for her front door. That same day, Plummer wrote plaintiff a letter and asked plaintiff to submit a request for the modification along with the specifications for the ramp. Plaintiff did not submit any further request and refused to speak with Plummer when she called plaintiff about the ramp. ...

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