Poles v. Brooklyn Community Housing and Services

Civil Rights

New York Law Journal

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Judge Brian Cogan

Brooklyn Community Housing and Services (BCHS) provides assisted living for adults with psychiatric histories. Poles is a psychiatrically disabled black man. His pro se racial bias suit under 42 USC §§1981 and 1985 arose from BCHS's eviction efforts. His amended complaint—largely identical to his initial complaint—asserted that Halligan, the attorney representing BCHS in its unsuccessful eviction proceeding, referred to Poles with a racial slur at a pretrial conference. In addition to refusing to attribute Halligan's racial slur to new employer Adam Leitman Bailey PC, the court dismissed Poles's §1981 and 1985 claims with prejudice for failure to satisfy Ashcroft v. Iqbal. Poles did not allege facts showing that BCHS's director Nemetsky played a role in the decision not to renew his lease. Also, there was no indication that Halligan continued to represent BCHS in any capacity after its unsuccessful eviction attempt. Thus, because he alleged no facts tending to show that any defendants conspired in the decision not to renew his lease, Poles failed to state a claim under §1985(3). Additionally, Poles' complaint gave no indication that Halligan's racial slur bore any connection to BCHS's later decision not to renew Poles' lease.

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