Meauxv.Hous. Auth. of Danville

Commonwealth of Kentucky Court of AppealsApr 4, 2014
NO. 2013-CA-000251-MR (Ky. Ct. App. Apr. 4, 2014)

NO. 2013-CA-000251-MR

04-04-2014

RICHARD MEAUX APPELLANT v. HOUSING AUTHORITY OF DANVILLE; RACHEL WHITE, DIRECTOR; SUSAN C. SMOCK, HOUSING MANAGER APPELLEES

BRIEF FOR APPELLANT: Aubrey Williams Louisville, Kentucky BRIEF FOR APPELLEES: R. Gary Winters Ian R. Smith Cincinnati, Ohio


NOT TO BE PUBLISHED


APPEAL FROM BOYLE CIRCUIT COURT

HONORABLE DARREN W. PECKLER, JUDGE

ACTION NO. 11-CI-00191


OPINION

AFFIRMING

BEFORE: CAPERTON, COMBS, AND THOMPSON, JUDGES. COMBS, JUDGE: Richard Meaux appeals the order of the Boyle Circuit Court granting summary judgment to the Housing Authority of Danville in an action alleging retaliation for his previously filed lawsuit based on racial discrimination. After our review, we affirm.

Meaux retired from the Housing Authority in 2006. After his retirement, he successfully sued his former employer for racial discrimination and received a settlement in February 2010. On March 2, 2010, Meaux submitted an application for an apartment to the Housing Authority. It responded to his letter on April 22, 2010, advising as follows:

[We] have reviewed your file and found that you will need to provide the following information:

• PVA, taxes, and mortgage balance for High St. property
• Court order for settlement with Housing Authority of Danville

Please provide the above information on or before Friday, April 30, 2010.
If we have not heard from you by the above date your application will be withdrawn without further notice.

Meaux did not provide the requested information, and his application was withdrawn.

On April 1, 2011, Meaux filed a complaint in which he alleged that the Housing Authority had rejected his application in retaliation for his discrimination lawsuit. On August 21, 2012, the Housing Authority filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted on January 7, 2013. This appeal follows.

Summary judgment is a device utilized by the courts to expedite litigation. Ross v. Powell, 206 S.W.3d 327, 330 (Ky. 2006). It is a "delicate matter" because it "takes the case away from the trier of fact before the evidence is actually heard." Steelvest, Inc. v. Scansteel Service Center, Inc., 807 S.W.2d 476, 482 (Ky. 1991). The movant must prove that no genuine issue of material fact exists and "should not succeed unless his right to judgment is shown with such clarity that there is no room left for controversy." Id.

The trial court must view the evidence in favor of the non-moving party. City of Florence v. Chipman, 38 S.W.3d 387, 390 (Ky. 2001). In order to overcome a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must present "at least some affirmative evidence showing the existence of a genuine issue of material fact." Id. See also Kentucky Rule[s] of Civil Procedure (CR) 56.03. On appeal, our standard of review is "whether the trial court correctly found that there were no genuine issues as to any material fact and that the moving party was entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Scifres v. Kraft, 916 S.W.2d 779, 781 (Ky. App. 1996). Because summary judgments do not involve fact finding, our review is conducted de novo. Pinkston v. Audubon Area Community Services, Inc., 210 S.W.2d 188, 189 (Ky. App. 2006).

The trial court found that Meaux did not have a cause of action. On appeal, Meaux argues that Kentucky Revised Statute[s] (KRS) 344.280(1) establishes the basis for his cause of action. It provides as follows:

It shall be an unlawful practice for a person, or for two (2) or more persons to conspire:
(1) To retaliate or discriminate in any manner against a person because he has opposed a practice declared unlawful by this chapter, or because he has made a charge, filed a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in any investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this chapter[.]

Meaux has not offered any evidence whatsoever that his application was denied because he had participated in an action against the Housing Authority.

However, the Housing Authority provided undisputed evidence that the rejection of his application was due to the lack of information about Meaux's assets. Federal law requires the Housing Authority to evaluate that information before granting subsidized housing. If it had not rejected the application, it would have been in violation of federal laws. Because Meaux failed to provide any contradictory evidence, there is no genuine issue of material fact. Thus, the court did not err in granting the Housing Authority's motion for summary judgment.

We affirm the order of Boyle Circuit Court.

ALL CONCUR. BRIEF FOR APPELLANT: Aubrey Williams
Louisville, Kentucky
BRIEF FOR APPELLEES: R. Gary Winters
Ian R. Smith
Cincinnati, Ohio