United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING RE: MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC NO. 73) AND MOTION
FOR LEAVE TO FILE THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT (DOC. NO.
C. Hall United States District Judge.
Janet Lowe, Ling-Chuan Chu, Maryllyn Donna Fairfield, Helen
Jane Fried, and Amin M. Keshwani (collectively
“plaintiffs”) filed this lawsuit against the
Planning and Zoning Commission of the Town of Mansfield
(“PZC”) in the Superior Court for the Judicial
District of Hartford on July 7, 2015. Notice of Removal (Doc.
No. 1) at 1. On December 21, 2015, the plaintiffs moved to
amend the Complaint, and on February 25, 2016, the proposed
Amended Complaint became operative. Id. The
defendants then removed the action to federal court on March
plaintiffs moved for leave to amend the Amended Complaint on
August 4, 2016. Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File
Second Amended Complaint and Brief in Support (Doc. No. 41).
After reviewing the defendants' objections to that
Motion, the court gave the plaintiffs leave to file the
Second Amended Complaint. Minute Entry (Doc. No. 48). This
Second Amended Complaint was filed on September 16, 2016.
Second Am. Compl. (“SAC”) (Doc. No. 53). The SAC
added the Town of Mansfield, Paul Shapiro, Matthew Hart,
Linda Painter, JoAnn Goodwin, and Adam Lambert as defendants.
Id. at 3-4.
before the court is the defendants' JoAnn Godwin, Matthew
Hart, Linda Painter, PZC, Paul Shapiro, and the Town of
Mansfield's (collectively the “Mansfield
Defendants”) Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. No. 73). Seemingly in
response to the Motion to Dismiss, the plaintiffs filed a
Motion for Leave to File 3rd [sic] Amended Complaint
(“Motion to Amend”). (Doc No. 84). The
plaintiffs' Motion to Amend, however, was submitted with
only the first three pages of a supporting brief, and so the
court was without guidance as to whether the plaintiffs
intended the proposed Third Amended Complaint to moot the
pending Motion to Dismiss or was instead raising new claims.
See id. (ending without a signature and after the
sentence “New discovery was just provided through a
Motion to Comepl [sic] on September 9, 2016.”). On
January 17, 2017, the court ordered the plaintiff to show
cause why the unopposed Motion to Dismiss should not be
granted, or in the alternative, why the proposed Amended
Complaint would moot the Motion to Dismiss. Order to Show
Cause (Doc. No. 90).
plaintiffs responded on January 30, 2017, that a grant of
their Motion to Amend would moot any ambiguity in the SAC
because the Third Amended Complaint contained the following
clarifications: (1) a statement that the PZC's denial of
certain considerations showed a reckless disregard for the
rights of the plaintiffs as individuals with disabilities;
(2) alleging that the failure to disclose a certified record
demonstrated a civil conspiracy; (3) clarifying the role of
the Mansfield defendants in that conspiracy; and (4) stating
without context that “the historical and continued
animus against the protected class is expanded.”
Response to Order to Show Cause (Doc. No. 92) at 4.
Plaintiffs simultaneously filed an Opposition to the
defendants' Motion to Dismiss, to which the defendants
following reasons, the defendants' Motion to Dismiss is
GRANTED, and the plaintiffs' Motion to Amend is GRANTED
IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
considering a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all of
the allegations contained within the Complaint as true and
make all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving
party. In re NYSE Specialists Sec. Litig., 503 F.3d
89, 95 (2d Cir. 2007). The court may consider the facts
“as asserted within the four corners of the complaint,
the documents attached to the complaint as exhibits, and any
documents incorporated in the complaint by reference.”
Indiaweekly.com, LLC v. Nehaflix.com, Inc., 596
F.Supp.2d 497, 501 (D. Conn. 2009) (quoting McCarthy v.
Dun & Bradstreet Corp., 482 F.3d 184, 191 (2d Cir.
plaintiffs consist of a group of individuals who live within
the neighborhood of 17 Olsen Drive, Mansfield, CT (“the
Property”). SAC at ¶¶ 14-17. Plaintiffs Lowe,
Fried, and Fairfield are all over the age of 65. Id.
at ¶¶ 2, 5, 6. Plaintiff Fried has a disability
which significantly impacts a major life activity under the
Americans with Disability Act. Id. at ¶ 5.
Plaintiff Fairfield lives with her two disabled, elderly
parents for six months out of the year. Id. at
point, notice was provided of a hearing on the special permit
application made by Adam Lambert, and that notice did not
include an intended commercial use. Id. at ¶
19. The special permit application was granted on June 15,
2015, allowing Lambert to construct a two-bedroom efficiency
unit on the Property. Id. at ¶ 20. The SAC
alleges that in so granting that application, the PZC acted
arbitrary and capriciously by: (1) failing to provide
adequate notice of the zone change; (2) failing to follow its
own conservation guidelines; (3) failing to follow the
regulations which require commercial use of an efficiency
unit would be based on financial need and on a plot over 40,
000 square feet, by providing notice of erroneous documents;
and (4) by allowing a multi-family unit on the Property,
which is not permitted within the RAR-90 Zone District.
Id. at ¶ 22. Additionally, the SAC alleges that
the PZC limited discussion by a PZC member regarding the
financial burden requirement of the Mansfield Zoning
Regulations. Id. at ¶ 24.
alleges that the PZC would not consider the harmful impact of
granting the special permit for a two-bedroom efficiency on
the elderly with disabilities in the Olsen Drive
neighborhood, namely that the granting of such a permit might
increase the student population in the area and thereby limit
the ability of the elderly with disabilities to safely walk
in the area. Id. at ¶ 25. Specifically,
Plaintiff Fried requested that the PZC consider the harmful
effects to the elderly disabled in the neighborhood, but, the
SAC alleges, the PZC denied this request and “actions
of less discriminatory impacts [sic], such as referring the
raised concerns to their Town [sic] Attorney were not
taken.” Id. at ¶ 27.
next alleges that the PZC's practice not to consider
concerns about a special permit application has or will have
“the [sic] discriminatory impact on the disabled
elderly in Town [sic] by limiting their ability to obtain and
retain the use of appropriate housing; this practice has or
will also segregate the disabled elderly and deprive
residents in Town [sic] of the opportunity to live in a
disabled elderly integrated community.” Id. at
¶ 28. The SAC alleges that the elderly residents of the
Olsen Drive neighborhood have apprehensions regarding walking
on the street when there are student age drivers residing or
visiting, “when rental, efficiency units, and
multi-housing units are allowed to increase in this
neighborhood that is situated in a university neighborhood
and within close commuting distance to a second university
and PZC negligence [sic].” Id. at ¶ 29.
the SAC alleges that the Town of Mansfield, through its
agents, certified that the complete Certified Return of
Record had been provided, despite the plaintiffs'
allegation that ...