United States District Court, D. Idaho
MR. JEREMY MORRIS and MRS. KRISTY MORRIS, Plaintiffs,
WEST HAYDEN ESTATES FIRST ADDITION HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill Chief Judge United States District Court
Court has before it Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt.
5). The motion is fully briefed and before the Court, and the
Court finds this matter appropriate for decision without oral
argument. For the reasons explained below, the Court will
grant the Motion in part and deny in part.
Jeremy and Kristy Morris filed this housing discrimination
lawsuit against Defendant West Hayden Estates First Addition
Homeowners' Association, Inc. (HOA) alleging that the HOA
discriminated against them on the basis of their religion, in
violation of state and federal law. The Morrises are
Christian, and they host an annual Christmas fundraiser at
their home. Complaint ¶ 10, Dkt. 1. In
December, 2014, they entered into a contract for the purchase
of a home in the West Hayden Estates subdivision which they
believed would be suitable for hosting this annual event.
Id. ¶ 12.
after entering into the contract, but prior to their
purchase, the Morrises reached out to the West Hayden Estates
First Addition Homeowners Association, Inc. (HOA) to notify
them about both their intent to buy a home within the
subdivision, as well as to hold a Christmas fundraiser at the
new home. Id. ¶¶ 12, 13. On or about
January 15, 2015, the HOA sent a letter to inform the
Morrises that they believed that the fundraiser would violate
certain provisions of the Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions
and Easements for West Hayden Estates First Addition (CCRs).
Id. ¶ 17. The HOA also said that they knew that
some members of the community were not Christian, and that
they were concerned that the fundraiser might create an issue
with those residents. Id. at Ex. 2.The HOA then sent
out a letter to the other residents of the community, to
inform them of the Morrises' plans for a Christmas
fundraiser, and held a meeting for the members of the
community to discuss those plans. Id. ¶¶
20, 24. The Morrises sent out a letter in response to the
HOA's letter. Id. ¶ 23.
Morrises purchased their new home on March 20, 2015.
Id. ¶ 25. A few months later, on October 27,
2015, the HOA sent a letter to the Morrises informing them
that proceeding with the Christmas fundraiser would result in
the HOA taking legal action. Id. ¶ 26. The
Morrises proceeded with their purchase, but the HOA did not
ultimately file a lawsuit. Id.
Morrises allege that, from the first fundraiser on, the HOA
waged a war of harassment against them by encouraging members
of the HOA to engage in harassing behaviors, such as
threatening the Morrises on the street, threatening them on
Facebook, and interfering with the Christmas fundraiser.
Id. ¶¶ 29, 31, 34, 35. According to the
Morrises, this caused them a great deal of emotional
distress. Id. ¶ 47, Prayer for Relief
Morrises claim that, even before they purchased their home,
the HOA admitted that they were discriminating against the
Morrises because of their religion. Id. ¶ 18.
The Morrises also claim that the HOA admitted that
complaining about the fundraiser was pretextual, and that the
HOA intentionally discriminated against the Morrises on the
basis of their religion. Id. ¶¶ 18, 19,
21, 32, 33.
Morrises filed this action on January 13, 2017, under the
Idaho Human Rights Act and the federal Fair Housing Act
(FHA). Complaint, Dkt. 1. The HOA's Motion to
Dismiss was filed shortly thereafter.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, ” in order to “give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While a complaint
attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss “does not
need detailed factual allegations, ” it must set forth
“more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Id. at 555. To survive a motion to
dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. A claim
has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged. Id. at 556. 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. Id. Where a complaint pleads facts
that are “merely consistent with” a
defendant's liability, it “stops short of the line
between possibility and plausibility of ‘entitlement to
relief.'” Id. at 557.
Supreme Court identified two “working principles”
that underlie Twombly in Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). First, the court need not accept as
true, legal conclusions that are couched as factual
allegations. Id. Rule 8 does not “unlock the
doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more
than conclusions.” Id. at 678- 79. Second, to
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must state a
plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679.
“Determining whether a complaint states a plausible