Briefs filed in Shamokin Housing Authority voucher suit
WILLIAMSPORT - Both sides involved in a federal lawsuit over housing vouchers filed briefs Friday looking for summary judgment.
Attorneys for Brenda Everett, of Shamokin, and the Shamokin Housing Authority (SHA) filed paperwork in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and U.S. Magistrate Thomas M. Blewitt asking for relief.
Everett's attorney, Joseph R. DeCristopher from North Penn Legal Services, Sunbury, is asking the court for partial summary judgement for her on a due process claim for relief on the issue of liability and for the court to schedule a timeline for trial on the issues of injunctive and monetary relief.
The authority's attorney, John C. Hansberry, of Harrisburg, is asking the judge to rule in favor of the authority and to hold an informal hearing before a new officer, in accordance with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations.
SHA also asked the court to retain jurisdiction to adjudicate Shamokin's request for fees against Everett and North Penn Legal Services.
Everett filed the lawsuit against the authority and its executive director, Ronald Miller, in June after SHA withheld subsidies for the apartment in which she lived with her two disabled daughters. She was a participant in the voucher program through the Harrisburg Housing Authority (HHA), but said she moved away from Harrisburg because of criminal activity near her home.
The Harrisburg authority helped Everett transfer the voucher to Shamokin, which issued a voucher to her Aug. 24, 2012. That same day, Everett made a request for SHA to inspect her apartment. She said that did not occur.
Two weeks later, SHA sent a letter to Everett saying the agency was revoking the subsidy based on a report from the U.S. Postal Service that her adult son, Khaalid Muhammad, was living with her. Simultaneously, SHA issued a notice to Everett's adult daughter, saying her subsidy was also ending for the same reason.
Everett said in the complaint that for months prior and at that time, Muhammad was renting from the same landlord, Junior Fairweather, but at a different Shamokin apartment.
Everett had a grievance meeting with Miller Oct. 9, 2012, and SHA sent a letter confirming that the information provided by the post office on Khaalid Muhammad's residence was erroneous. However, the subsidy was not reinstated, according to court documents.
In November, Blewitt dismissed most of the claims in the lawsuit, leaving only one - that her due process rights under the 14th Amendment were violated.
In a memorandum explaining the decision, Blewitt said the court found Everett failed to show any irreparable harm Since she has been in Shamokin. She was able to pay her landlord unsubsidized rent for her residence for more than a year, he said.
Blewitt also wrote that Everett failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits of her claims, and that the court has adequate remedies at law if she succeeds in her case, receiving money damages for her unsubsidized rental payments she has been making since she moved to Shamokin in October 2012.
Miller was removed from the case because he was sued only in his official capacity, not as an individual. Blewitt said the claims against Miller and SHA are redundant and removed Miller from the suit.