United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION TO AMEND THE
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
April 17, 2017, Gilead Community Services, Inc.
(“Gilead”), Rainbow Housing Corp.
(“Rainbow”), and the Connecticut Fair Housing
Center, Inc. (“Fair Housing” and in conjunction
with Gilead and Rainbow, “Plaintiffs”) sued the
Town of Cromwell (“Cromwell”), as well as Enzo
Faienza, Anthony Salvatore, and Jillian Massey, individually
and in their official capacities as Cromwell's mayor,
town manager, and zoning enforcement officer, respectively.
Compl., ECF No. 1.
allege that Cromwell and the named officials (collectively
“Defendants”) violated the Fair Housing Act, 42
U.S.C. § 3601 et seq. (“FHA”) and
implementing regulations at 24 C.F.R. § Part 100; the
Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et
seq. (“ADA”) and implementing regulations at 28
C.F.R. § Part 35; and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29
U.S.C. § 794 (“Section 504”) and
implementing regulations at 24 C.F.R. § Part 8,
“by denying housing to Gilead's clients, who are
people with disabilities.” Id. ¶ 1.
22, 2018, Plaintiffs moved to amend their Complaint to add
retaliation claims under 42 USC §§ 3617 and
3604(f)(2). Mem. of Law in Supp. of Pls. Mot. for Leave to
File Am. Compl. (Pls. Mem. of Law), ECF No. 57 at 5.
Plaintiffs allege that Defendants denied the property tax
exemption on Gilead's other Cromwell property in
retaliation for the fair housing rights claims pursued in
this Court, and that Defendants' retaliation occurred
after the Complaint was filed and the deadline for amendment
of the pleadings had passed. Id. at 1-3.
oppose the motion as untimely, substantially prejudicial, and
improper due to Plaintiffs' present appeal to the
Connecticut Superior Court. Obj. to Pls. Mot. for Leave to
File Am. Compl. (“Defs. Obj”.), ECF No. 60.
reasons set forth below, the Court now
GRANTS Plaintiffs' motion to amend the
Complaint, ECF No. 57.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
allegedly a tax-exempt organization, seeks to provide housing
and community-based services to individuals with mental
illnesses. Compl. ¶ 22. Rainbow Housing Corporation
allegedly is a separate entity affiliated with and controlled
by Gilead. Id.
1968, Gilead allegedly has provided housing to mentally ill
individuals in Middlesex County, Connecticut. Id.
Around 2015, Gilead allegedly sought to operate a
“community residence for six men with mental health
diagnoses in an existing single family residence at 5 Reiman
Drive in Cromwell” (“Reiman Drive
residence”). Id. ¶ 2.
allege that Defendants not only opposed the operation of the
Reiman Drive residence but also “took a leading role in
fanning the flames of community opposition, providing
community forums for amplifying the opposition's voice,
and knowingly and intentionally invoking the full weight of
municipal authority to prevent Gilead from operating the
house on Reiman Drive.” Id. ¶ 4.
Plaintiffs allege that Defendants: (1) “called a
special Town forum and encouraged Town residents to attend
and oppose Gilead's operation of the house”, (2)
“issued an official Town press release requesting that
Gilead relocate the house”, (3) “petitioned the
Connecticut Department of Public Health (“DPH”)
to deny Gilead the ability to operate the house on Reiman
Drive”, (4) “issued a ‘Cease & Desist
Order,' wrongly alleging that Gilead was operating the
house ‘without first obtaining proper zoning
permits,' in violation of Town zoning regulations”,
and (5) “denied Gilead a property tax exemption for
which it was clearly eligible.” Id. ¶ 5.
Plaintiffs claim that “[a]s a consequence of the
Defendants' discriminatory actions . . . Gilead had to
limit occupancy at the house to just two residents for
several months, and eventually was forced to cease its
operations on August 31, 2015.” Id. ¶ 6.
Plaintiffs claim that Defendants deprived Gilead of the
“opportunity to fulfill its mission”,
id. ¶ 7, and forced the actual and proposed
occupants of the Reiman Drive residence “to remain in
settings more restrictive and institutional than clinically
indicated to be in their best interests”, id.
April 17, 2017, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint. Compl. That
day, the Court issued a Standing Order on Pretrial deadlines
that set the deadline for the amendment of pleadings as June
16, 2017. Order, ECF No. 2.
5, 2017, the parties filed a joint Rule 26(f) planning
report. Form 26(f) Report of Parties' Planning Meeting,
ECF No. 20.
20, 2017, the Court issued a Scheduling Order that set a
discovery deadline of June 22, 2018. Scheduling Order, ECF
29, 2017, Defendants filed an Answer to the Complaint.
Answer, ECF No. 27. Cromwell largely denies Plaintiffs'
allegations. Answer, ECF No. 27. The town asserts four
defenses: (1) that the Complaint fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, (2) that Plaintiffs' claims
against individual Defendants are barred by qualified
immunity, (3) that Plaintiffs have failed to exhaust
administrative remedies, id. at 12, and (4) that
Plaintiffs' claims are not ripe for adjudication under
Williamson Cty. Reg'l Planning Comm'n v. Hamilton
Bank, 473 U.S. 172 (1985), Am. Answer, ECF No. 44-1.
August 24, 2017, the Court granted the parties' consent
motion for an extension of time for Plaintiffs to respond to
Defendants' first set of interrogatories and requests for
production. Order, ECF No. 31. The Court then granted two
requests by Defendants for extensions of time to respond to
Plaintiffs' interrogatories and requests for production,
Orders, ECF Nos. 33, 39.
December 26, 2017, after the deadline for amendment of
pleadings had passed, Order, ECF No. 2, Defendants moved to
amend their Answer to add a fourth affirmative defense. ...