United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
F. MELGREN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Government initiated this action on December 18, 2017,
alleging that Defendant Thong Cao (“Cao”)
subjected female tenants at rental properties he managed, and
in some cases co-owned, to severe and pervasive sexual
harassment in violations of the Fair Housing Act
(“FHA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. The
Government claims that Defendants Van T. Le and Tong Nguyen
(“Defendants”), as the owners of some of the
rental properties managed by Cao when the alleged harassment
occurred, are liable for Cao's discriminatory actions.
Defendants filed the instant Motion to Dismiss and Request
for Hearing in which they contend that they did not own the
properties in question at the time of Cao's alleged
harassment. For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion
to Dismiss (Doc. 14) is hereby denied.
Factual and Procedural Background
December 18, 2017, the Government filed a Complaint alleging
that Cao, Mai Cao, and Defendants violated the FHA. The
Complaint alleges that Cao sexually harassed a number of
female tenants at rental properties he managed, and that such
harassment constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex in
violation of the FHA. In its initial Complaint, the
Government alleged that Defendants owned three of the rental
properties managed by Cao during the time period he was
harassing tenants at those properties. Additionally, the
Government alleged that Defendants were liable for the
discriminatory practices of Cao, their agent. The Complaint
alleged that Cao's harassment dated approximately from
2010 to 2014.
March 29, 2018, the Government filed an Amended Complaint,
which added allegations of harassment by Cao at an additional
property owned by Defendants-1621-1625 E. Crowley Street, and
alleged a pattern of harassment by Cao at properties owned by
Defendants dating back to approximately 2001.
April 16, 2018, Defendants filed the present three-page
motion. In their motion, Defendants refer only to the three
properties referenced in the Amended Complaint-1614 E. Tulsa
Street; 1620 E. Tulsa Street; and 1615 E. Crowley Street-and
state that they “have no connection to the
above-mentioned properties” and “no knowledge,
control or connection to any unlawful acts that are alleged
[to] have taken place in those properties.” They argue
that they sold the properties to Cao and Mai Cao in November
2006 and attach several exhibits that purportedly support
Government, in opposition, contests that local land records
indicate that Defendants owned these properties until 2016.
Moreover, the Government points out that Defendants'
motion was filed before any discovery has occurred in this
case, and the Government believes that it will obtain
additional evidence in discovery that will refute
Defendants' claims. Defendants did not file a reply.
motion is captioned: “Motion to Dismiss and Request for
Hearing.” But, rather than moving under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12, Defendants have moved “pursuant to rule 56(b) to
Dismiss this lawsuit . . . .” In the motion, Defendants
provide eight, individually-numbered reasons that this case
should be dismissed. It is not clear whether Defendants
intend for these eight assertions to be considered their
statement of uncontroverted facts. Under the heading
“Prayer for Relief, ” Defendants note:
Defendants Tong Nguyen and Van Le, have submitted all of the
available evidence in support of their contentions and
assertions. Government has not provided any contemporaneous
evidence by way of documents, testimony or direct evidence to
implicate the Defendants, other than to repeatedly recite
mere allegations of agent relationships to the Co-Defendants.
support of their prayer to this Court, Defendants'
counsel helpfully quoted Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), (c)(1), and
(c)(4) verbatim. However, Defendants did not provide any
supporting legal authority, nor did Defendants perform any
reasons for denying Defendants' motion are numerous. The
motion was poorly written, it is wholly unsupported, and
clearly premature. Essentially, Defendants' motion is a
list of eight facts Defendants believe to be uncontroverted
followed by excerpts from Rule 56. Defendants have not shown
that there are no genuine disputes as to any material facts.
Nor have Defendants shown that they are entitled to judgment
as a matter of law. The Amended Complaint alleges a pattern
of harassment by Cao at properties owned by Defendants dating
back to approximately 2001. Defendants do not dispute that
they owned the properties before November 2006. And the
Government has created an issue of fact concerning whether
Defendants owned the properties at issue until 2016.
Additionally, Defendants have not submitted any admissible
evidence that would suggest that Cao was not acting as their
agent. Accordingly, Defendants are not entitled to summary
judgment and will not be dismissed from this case at this
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss and Request for Hearing (Doc. 14) is