United States District Court, D. Idaho
JEREMY R. MORRIS, KRISTY MORRIS Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants,
WEST HAYDEN ESTATES FIRST ADDITION HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., an Idaho Corporation, Defendant/Counter-Claimant.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
LYNN WINMILL CHIEF JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants' Motion
to Dismiss Counterclaim (Dkt. 28). For the reasons stated
below, the Court will deny the motion.
January 13, 2017 Plaintiffs Jeremy and Kristy Morris filed a
Complaint against the West Hayden Estates First Addition
Homeowners' Association, Inc. (“HOA”),
alleging religious discrimination in violation of the Fair
Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(b), 3604 (c), and
3617 (“FHA”). Compl. ¶1, Dkt. 1.
Plaintiffs also brought the same claims under the Idaho Human
Rights Act. Id. Plaintiffs Jeremy and Kristy Morris
are Christian, and each year they host a Christmas fundraiser
at their home. Id. at ¶ 10. Plaintiffs allege
that the Defendant used disagreements over the Christmas
fundraiser, including allegations that the fundraiser
violated the Declaration, as a pretext for ongoing
intentional discrimination against Plaintiffs based on their
Christian religion. See Id. at ¶
Defendant moved to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Def's Mot. To
Dismiss, Dkt. 5. On August 24, 2017, the Court granted
Defendant's Motion as to Plaintiffs' claims under the
Idaho Human Rights Act and dismissed those claims without
prejudice. Mem. Dec. and Order, Dkt. 18. The Court
denied Defendant's motion as to Plaintiffs' claims
under the FHA. Id.
filed an Answer to Plaintiffs' Complaint on September 13,
2017, and simultaneously filed a Counterclaim alleging that
Plaintiffs were in violation of multiple provisions of the
Declaration Establishing Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions
and Easements for West Hayden Estates First Addition
(“the Declaration”). See Answer and
Countercl. at 11, Dkt. 19. Plaintiffs filed their Motion
to Dismiss the Counterclaim (Dkt. 28) on October 2, 2017.
alleges that Plaintiffs purchased their home subject to the
Declaration. See Answer and Countercl. at 12, Dkt.
19. The HOA further alleges that Plaintiffs violated the
Declaration by (1) decorating the exterior of their home and
lot without prior written consent by the HOA Board; (2) using
their property for nonresidential purposes by holding their
Christmas fundraiser on the property for “commercial
purpose and effect;” (3) creating a nuisance due to
excessive noise and traffic generated by the Plaintiffs'
Christmas fundraiser; (4) displaying signs related to the
Christmas program without written approval of the HOA Board;
(5) maintaining their property in an “unsightly”
condition by their failure to remove and store holiday lights
and other items associated with the Christmas fundraiser
throughout the year, and by storing and operating various
equipment on their property during the days the fundraiser is
taking place; (6) creating an unsafe and hazardous condition
due to crowds and traffic generated by the Christmas
fundraiser and by keeping a camel on the property during the
fundraiser; and (8) installing 200, 000 Christmas lights on
their home and in their yard during the operation of the
fundraiser, such that the lighting is “excessively
bright” and not “restrained in design”.
See Id. at 12-17. The Counterclaim cites specific
provisions of the Declaration, which the HOA alleges
Plaintiffs have breached, and seeks an injunction requiring
Plaintiffs to immediately come into compliance and
prohibiting future violations of the Declaration associated
with the Christmas fundraiser. Id. at 17.
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.
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
claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that
requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Id. To state a
plausible claim for relief, a party must show “more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. at 678. While there is no
“probability requirement, ” the facts alleged
must allow “the court to draw the reasonable inference
that the defendant is liable for the conduct alleged.”
a general rule, [courts] may not consider any material beyond
the pleadings in ruling on a 12(b)(6) motion.”
Johnson v. Federal Home Loan Mortg. Corp., 793 F.3d
1005, 1008 (9th Cir. 2015). An exception may be made for
“extrinsic evidence not attached to the complaint if
the document's authenticity is not contested and the . .
. complaint necessarily relies on it.” Id.
the HOA has asserted a claim for injunctive relief to enforce
the Declaration. Under Idaho law, courts “generally
appl[y] the same rules of construction as any contract”
when interpreting restrictive covenants. D & M
Country Estates Homeowners Ass'n v. Romriell, 59
P.3d 965, 969 (Idaho 2002). Parties seeking to enforce a
contract bear the “burden of proving the existence of
the contract and fact of its breach.” Melaleuca,
Inc. v. Foeller, 318 P.3d 910, 914 (Idaho 2014); see
also Jacklin Land Co. v. Blue Dog RV, Inc., 254 P.3d
1238, 1245 (Idaho 2011) (finding that the mere breach of a
restrictive covenant provides sufficient grounds for
injunctive relief). Thus, to survive the motion to dismiss,
the Counterclaim must allege sufficient facts to plausibly
support the HOA's ...