United States District Court, D. Delaware
Roberta Crawford, Wilmington, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.
Colleen K. Norris, Esquire, and Mary A. Jacobson, Esquire,
New Castle County Law Department, New Castle, Delaware.
Counsel for Defendants New Castle County Housing Authority
Section 8, Robert Rizzo, Patricia Dennis, and Terry Stuiber.
M. Willoughby, Esquire, and Laure Elizabeth Moak Russell,
Esquire, Young, Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor LLP,
Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Kathryn McGinnes.
ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Roberta Crawford filed this action on February 14, 2018,
alleging violations of her civil rights. (D.I. 2). Plaintiff
appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed
in forma pauperis. (D.I. 4). Before the Court are
Defendants' motions to dismiss. (D.I. 23, 24). Plaintiff
opposes. Briefing is complete.
was a housing voucher recipient through the U.S. Department
Housing and Urban Development's Section 8 Tenant-Based
Assistance Housing Choice Voucher Program administered by New
Castle County Housing Authority. Plaintiffs "voucher was
terminated due to missed inspection and annual
recertification." (D.I. 2 at 4). Plaintiff alleges that
she requested rescheduling via email and the voucher
"was still terminated." (D.I. 2 at 4; D.I. 5 at
received a letter, described as a notice to her landlord to
terminate, dated October 18, 2017, from Defendant housing
assistant Patricia Dennis advising Plaintiffs landlord and
Plaintiff that her Section 8 Voucher was subject to
termination from the New Castle County Housing Authority
effective December 31, 2017. (D.I. 5 at 1). In the letter,
Plaintiff was advised that she could request an informal
hearing. (Id.). A notice, also dated October 18,
2017, was sent directly to Plaintiff regarding her
termination from the voucher program. Both letters were sent
to the same address, but Plaintiff alleges that she did not
receive the letter addressed solely to her through the mail.
She alleges that it was given to her at the informal hearing.
requested a hearing, and, on November 8, 2017, Plaintiff
attended the informal hearing, and was represented by
counsel. (D.I. 2 at 5; D.I. 2-1 at 1). Hearing officer
Kathryn McGinnes conducted the hearing. (Id.). Also
present were Dennis and Defendant supervisor Terry Stuiber.
(Id.). Plaintiffs attorney argued "improper
notice, improper wording, and the fact that [Plaintiff] had
not received notice of the hearing." (D.I. 2 at 5).
Plaintiff was given time to provide proof of verification of
appointments but was still denied. (Id.). Plaintiff
alleges that she attempted to explain that her children had
been assaulted and this took up her time and impacted her
mental state. (Id.). She later contacted Defendant
Robert Rizzo "who did nothing." (Id.).
was notified of the decision by letter dated December 6, 2017
signed by McGinnes. (D.I. 2-1 at 1). The letter states that
the New Castle County Department of Community Services had
notified Plaintiff that it was going to terminate Plaintiffs
housing assistance for violation of the "Family
Obligations" due to Plaintiffs failure to attend two
rescheduled recertification appointments and two annual
inspection appointments. (Id.). The December 6, 2017
letter referenced Plaintiffs testimony at the hearing that
she had some understanding of the reason for the proposed
termination of her housing assistance. (Id.).
Plaintiff testified that she could not attend the
recertification appointments because she had important
appointments for her daughter and a court date and, as to the
annual inspections, on one date, she "had to
leave," and on the other date, she did not get proper
informal hearing, Plaintiff argued that the termination
notice was deficient. Plaintiff was therefore given an
additional ten days for the submission of documentation as to
why she was unable to attend the scheduled appointment and
inspections. (Id. at 2). Plaintiff submitted
documentation that was considered by McGinnes whose opinion
was that there was "sufficient documentation and
evidence to support and/or indicate beyond a reasonable doubt
that [Plaintiff] failed to attend [two] recertification
appointments and failed to permit access for [two] annual
inspections." (Id.). McGinnes opined that based
upon the documentation, testimony and evidence presented at
the hearing/review, the New Castle Department of Community
Services was within its rights to terminate Plaintiff's
participation in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher
Program. (Id. at 3). McGinnes advised Plaintiff that
the Housing Authority was not bound by her decision and that
further questions should be directed to New Castle Department
of Community Services. (Id.).
alleges that Stuiber, Dennis, and McGinnes violated her
rights and refused accommodation in terminating the voucher.
(D.I. 2 at 6). She seeks reinstatement of the housing voucher
and reasonable accommodation due to a mental disability as
well as compensatory damages. (Id. at 7).
move for dismissal pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. Plaintiff opposes on the grounds that
she did not receive a fair hearing prior to termination of
her housing voucher.