Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Morris v. West Hayden Estates First Addition Homeowners Association, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Idaho

January 3, 2018

JEREMY R. MORRIS, KRISTY MORRIS Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants,
v.
WEST HAYDEN ESTATES FIRST ADDITION HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., an Idaho Corporation, Defendant/Counter-Claimant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. LYNN WINMILL CHIEF JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Counterclaim (Dkt. 28). For the reasons stated below, the Court will deny the motion.

         BACKGROUND

         On 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 ¶ 32-33.[1]

         The 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.

         The HOA 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.

         The HOA 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.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal 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.

         The 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.” Id.

         “[A]s 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.

         ANALYSIS

         Here, 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.