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Blansette v. Scottsdale Housing Agency

United States District Court, D. Arizona

April 18, 2019

Bradley R. Blansette, Plaintiff,
v.
Scottsdale Housing Agency, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Dominic W. Lanza United States District Judge

         Pending before the Court are (1) Defendant City of Scottsdale's (the “City”) motion for summary judgment (Doc. 36) and (2) Plaintiff Bradley R. Blansette's (“Blansette”) revised motion for sanctions (Doc. 46).[1] For the following reasons, and although the Court has endeavored to liberally construe Blansette's filings and arguments in light of his status as a pro se litigant, the Court grants the City's motion and denies Blansette's motion.

         BACKGROUND

         Unless otherwise indicated, the following facts are undisputed.

         A. The City's Housing Choice Voucher Program

         The City's Housing Choice Voucher Program (the “Program”) is managed in conjunction with federal assistance through Section 8. (Doc. 36-1 ¶ 2.) It is governed by an Administrative Plan (the “Administrative Plan”), adopted pursuant to 24 C.F.R. § 982 and approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”). (Id.)

         In the last several years, the program has had more applicants than available vouchers. (Id. ¶ 3.) The City maintains a waiting list for new applicants in accordance with HUD regulations and the Administrative Plan. (Id.)

         Disability is not a prerequisite to eligibility to participate in the Program. (Id.)

         Because of the anticipated length of the waiting list, the City typically uses a two-step application process, under which an applicant will be required to provide sufficient information for the City to determine initial eligibility and the applicant's placement on the waiting list. (Id. ¶ 6.)

         The Administrative Plan provides for three categories of preferences related to an applicant's position on the waiting list: 1) Live/Work in Scottsdale, 2) Elderly/Disabled, and 3) Homeless. (Id.) The applicant receives additional points for each preference that he or she establishes. (Id. ¶ 7.) A Program Specialist determines whether the applicant submitted sufficient evidence of disability but does not determine whether the applicant is “disabled.” (Id. ¶ 9.)

         B. Blansette's Application

         In August 2015, Blansette applied to the City to be placed on the waiting list for the Program. (Id. ¶ 8; Doc. 36-2.) Blansette did not indicate in his application that he would require accommodations for a disability to use the Program. (Doc. 36-1 ¶ 8; Doc. 36-2 at 8.)

         During the processing of the initial application, Blansette provided a note from Paradise Valley Family Medicine that stated: “This patient has chronic pain present for years now. He is unable to work due to his pain and is seeing multiple specialists for this. He is also on pain medication to treat his pain.” (Doc. 36-1 ¶ 9; Doc. 36-2 at 5.) A Program Specialist evaluated this note and determined it was insufficient to establish that Blansette was disabled for purposes of preference points on the waiting list. (Doc. 36-1 ¶ 9.)

         Blansette also submitted to the City of Scottsdale Housing Agency (“SHA”) a letter from the Social Security Administration, Office of Disability Adjudication and Review “granting [his] request for more time before [it] act[ed] on [his] case” and informing him that he could “ send [it] more evidence or a statement about the facts and the law in []his case.” (Doc. 36-1 ¶ 10; Doc. 36-4.)

         On September 14, 2015, the City notified Blansette that the documentation he had submitted was insufficient to establish a disability preference and invited him to submit a statement from a physician stating he was disabled. (Id. ¶ 11; Doc. 36-5.)

         A note in Blansette's file indicates that he called the City on September 17, 2015 to explain that his doctor would not give him a disability letter, so he was looking for another doctor. (Doc. 36-1 ¶ 12; Doc. 36-5.) Blansette objects to this evidence on what appear to be authentication and hearsay grounds. (Doc. 47 at 4.)

         The City did not receive any further documentation establishing that Blansette was disabled. (Doc. 36-1 ¶ 13.) Ultimately, Blansette's application received the preference points for Scottsdale residency but not for disability. (Id. ¶¶ 10, 13.) That did not, however, affect Blansette's eligibility for the Program. (Id. ¶ 13)

         On October 7, 2016, Blansette was notified that he had reached the top of the waiting list. (Id. ¶ 14.) On October 25, 2016, he met with personnel from the SHA for the step-two eligibility interview. (Id.)

         After Blansette's eligibility was confirmed, he was invited to attend a mandatory briefing process on November 17, 2016. (Id. ¶ 15.) During that process, he was provided a briefing packet. (Id.) ...


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