United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
SHARON T. THOMAS, Plaintiff,
THE SALVATION ARMY SOUTHERN TERRITORY, et al., Defendants.
D. V\/hitncy Chief United States District Judge
MATTER comes now before the Court on Defendants The Salvation
Army Southern Territory, F. Bradford Bailey, The Salvation
Army, and Deronda Metz's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 21);
Defendants Bobby Lancaster and Barbara Green's Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. No. 33), and Plaintiff's Motion for Default
Judgment as to Defendants Victory Christian Center,
Incorporated (“Victory Christian”), Church in the
City Ministries (“Church in the City”), Cathy
LNU, Lancaster, and Green (Doc. No. 28). Upon review by the
Court and for the reasons stated below, Defendants Salvation
Army Southern Territory, Bailey, Salvation Army, and
Metz's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 21) is GRANTED,
Defendants Lancaster and Green's Motion to Dismiss is
GRANTED IN PART (Doc. No. 33), and Plaintiff's Motion for
Default Judgment (Doc. No. 28) is DENIED.
to the Complaint (Doc. No. 1),  Plaintiff, who appears pro se, is
a resident of Charlotte, North Carolina. Id. at
¶ 2. Plaintiff was referred to Monarch Mental Health
Care (“Monarch”), a non-profit organization, to
receive treatment. Id. at ¶ 3; see also
Thomas v. The Salvation Army S. Territory, 841 F.3d 632,
635 (4th Cir. 2016). After becoming homeless early in 2012,
Plaintiff arrived at the Salvation Army Center of Hope in
Charlotte on July 12, 2012, where she completed paperwork and
signed an agreement whereby she agreed to follow all
policies, rules, and procedures (Doc. No. 1, ¶ 14). Due
to overcrowding at the Salvation Army, Plaintiff was
transferred to Church in the City, run by Victory Christian.
Id. at ¶ 17. During an intake interview at
Church in the City, Plaintiff disclosed her mental and
physical disabilities, services from Monarch, and
medications. Id. at ¶ 21. Plaintiff contends
while Church in the City was strict, it was clean and quiet;
they also accommodated Plaintiff's physical ailments when
assigning chores and sleeping arrangements. Id. at
¶ 21-22. Plaintiff further contends she followed Church
in the City's requirements and “did not receive any
write up, reprimands, or corrective action” from the
entity. Id. at ¶ 22.
her stay at Church in the City, Plaintiff visited the
Salvation Army Center of Hope on July 19, 2012, for an
official intake assessment, where she again disclosed her
treatment from Monarch and authorized Monarch to release
information to the Salvation Army. Id. at ¶ 23.
During the week of July 31, 2012, Plaintiff returned to the
Salvation Army to meet with a doctor. Id. at ¶
24. Plaintiff's purpose for this visit was to obtain a
refill prescription for her anti-depressant; the doctor
referred Plaintiff to Carolinas Medical Center Behavioral
Health (“CMC”) to receive medication and
prescriptions, although the treating psychiatrist recorded no
concerns. Id. at ¶ 24. The same week, Plaintiff
met with her assigned case manager and reviewed her housing
and mental health needs. Id. at ¶ 25.
alleged difficulties with the shelters began August 12, 2012,
when she was informed she would be evicted from Church in the
City. Id. at ¶ 30. Once she had been evicted,
Plaintiff was then informed the reason for her eviction was
that she missed curfew. Id. at ¶ 30. Plaintiff
subsequently attempted to return to the Salvation Army Center
of Hope but was instructed she could not return because she
had been evicted from Church in the City. Id. at
following day, Plaintiff returned to Monarch, who advised
Plaintiff to contact Salvation Army to see if she could
return. Id. at ¶ 34. Upon calling Salvation
Army, Plaintiff spoke to her prior case manager and was again
told the reason for her eviction was missing curfew, an
accusation Plaintiff denied and continues to deny.
Id. at ¶ 34. While on the phone call, Plaintiff
responded by accusing the manager of acting in concert with
Church in the City and further accused her of unethical
conduct. Id. at ¶ 34. Later that day, Plaintiff
called Metz, a director at Salvation Army, about her
eviction. Id. at ¶ 34. Metz did not give
Plaintiff a specific reason for her eviction, but instead
told Plaintiff she was not a good fit for the shelter.
Id. at ¶ 34.
next day, Plaintiff went to Monarch to attempt to find
housing but was unsuccessful. Id. at ¶ 36. She
then went to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
(“CMPD”), whereupon two CMPD officers transported
her to the Salvation Army Center of Hope where she was denied
entry. Id. at ¶ 36. The staff member who spoke
to Plaintiff told her she was instructed by the director (the
Complaint is unclear whether the director was Metz in this
context) not to allow Plaintiff to stay there. Id.
at ¶ 36. When asked why, the staff member indicated
“she believed it was due to mental health reasons and
stated that if Plaintiff submitted to a
psychiatric/psychological evaluation she would be admitted
back to the program.” Id. at ¶ 36. The
CMPD officers then transported Plaintiff to CMC and informed
the Emergency Room staff Plaintiff needed to be evaluated to
continue her residency at the Salvation Army Center of Hope.
Id. at ¶ 37. Plaintiff underwent evaluation
from a psychiatrist, who allegedly determined Plaintiff had
no mental health problems and advised her to “continue
taking [her] medication.” Id. at ¶ 37.
After receiving her discharge materials, Plaintiff sought to
return to the Salvation Army Center of Hope, but was refused
admission, allegedly without being given a reason or
explanation. Id. at ¶ 38.
September 1, 2012, Plaintiff received a letter from Lancaster
indicating the decision to evict Plaintiff was based on some
of her actions that were disrespectful and hostile to staff
members attempting to assist her. Id. at ¶ 40.
Plaintiff denies this allegation, suggesting she never
received any communication regarding her actions.
Id. at ¶ 40. The letter from Lancaster further
stated the Salvation Army Center for Hope would be willing to
accept Plaintiff back if she agreed to a mental health
evaluation and stabilization services. Id. at ¶
40. Plaintiff then proceeded to file her original suit in
July 2014. Thomas, 841 F.3d at 636.
previous case, the district court dismissed with prejudice
all of Plaintiff's original claims for failure to state a
claim under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Id.;
see also Thomas v. The Salvation Army S. Territory,
3:14-cv-403-RJC-DCK, 2014 WL 12639858 (W.D. N.C. Oct. 8,
2014). The Fourth Circuit subsequently affirmed the district
court's ruling, remarking that dismissal of the complaint
was warranted “given its multiple deficiencies, namely
the omission of the nature of any illness much less the
presence of such illness as a causative agent of the
Salvation Army's decision.” Thomas, 841
F.3d at 642. The Fourth Circuit, did, however modify the
district court's ruling to dismiss the claims
“without prejudice, ” noting Plaintiff did not
have an opportunity to respond or amend her complaint prior
to its dismissal. Id. at 642. Plaintiff then filed
the instant case before the Court. The claims survived
initial review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), this Court
granted equitable tolling to Plaintiff (Doc. No. 8), and the
case has progressed to the current point.
case at bar, Plaintiff alleges Defendants violated her rights
under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601
et seq., the North Carolina Fair Housing Act, N.C.
Gen. Stat. § 41A-1 et seq., the Rehabilitation
Act, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq., and unlawfully
conspired to interfere with Plaintiff's civil rights
under 42 U.S.C. § 1985 (Doc. No. 1, p. 17-21).
Defendants Bailey, Metz, Salvation Army, and Salvation Army
Southern Territory filed their motion to dismiss on June 5,
2018 (Doc. No. 21). On June 19, 2018, the Court granted
Plaintiff's motion for an extension of time, advising
Plaintiff of the burden she carried in responding and
cautioning the Defendants, and that failure to respond may
result in dismissal of the complaint with prejudice (Doc. No.
27). On July 5, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion for default
judgment as to defendants Victory Christian, Church in The
City, Cathy, Lancaster, and Green (Doc. No. 28). The Court
notes that no entry of default was recorded by the clerk
prior to this Motion. Defendants Green and Lancaster filed a
response (Doc. No. 32) and accompanying motion to dismiss
(Doc. No. 33) one week later asserting Plaintiff failed to
properly serve them. On July 24, 2018, Plaintiff received an
additional extension of time by the Court and was again
advised that in accordance with Roseboro v.
Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), she has a right
to respond to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and that
failure to do so may result in dismissal of the complaint
with prejudice. Roseboro, 528 F.2d at 310.
Defendants' motions are based on the 12(b)(6) standard of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure while applying a pro
se/liberal interpretation of the pleadings. The purpose of a
motion to dismiss is to test the legal sufficiency of the
complaint, not to resolve conflicts of fact or to decide the
merits of the action. Edwards v. City of Goldsboro,
178 F.3d 231, 243-44 (4th Cir. 1999). The court may grant a
motion to dismiss only if “it appears beyond a
reasonable doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts
in support of his claim which would entitle him to
relief.” Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46
(1957). In considering a motion to dismiss, the court must
“assume the truth of all facts alleged in the complaint
and the existence of any fact that can be proved, consistent
with the complaint's allegations.” Eastern
Shore Mkts., Inc. v. J.D. Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 213
F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000). Nevertheless, “while
[the court] must take the facts in the light most favorable
to the plaintiff, [the court] need not accept the legal
conclusions drawn from ...