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Smithrud v. City of St. Paul

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 26, 2014

LeRoy Smithrud, Plaintiff - Appellant
v.
City of St. Paul; John and Jane Does 1-10, Defendants - Appellees; LeRoy Smithrud, Plaintiff - Appellant
v.
City of Minneapolis; John and Jane Does 1-10, Defendants - Appellees

Submitted December 17, 2013.

Petition for certiorari filed at, 07/29/2014

Page 392

Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - Minneapolis.

For LeRoy Smithrud, Plaintiff - Appellant (12-3713): Mitchell R. Hadler, May C. Yang, Law Office of Mitchell R. Hadler, Minneapolis, MN.

For City of St. Paul, John and Jane Does, 1-10, Defendants - Appellees (12-3713): Lawrence J. Hayes Jr., City Attorney's Office, Saint Paul, MN.

For LeRoy Smithrud, Plaintiff - Appellant (12-3736): May C. Yang, Law Office of Mitchell R. Hadler, Minneapolis, MN.

For City of Minneapolis, Defendant - Appellee (12-3736): Sara Jeanne Lathrop, Sarah C.S. McLaren, Kristin R. Sarff, Minneapolis City Attorney, Minneapolis, MN.

For John and Jane Does 1-10, (12-3736): Sarah C.S. McLaren, Kristin R. Sarff, Minneapolis City Attorney, Minneapolis, MN.

Before BYE, BRIGHT, and SMITH, Circuit Judges. BYE, Circuit Judge, concurring in part and concurring in the result.

OPINION

Page 393

BRIGHT, Circuit Judge.

LeRoy Smithrud (Smithrud) brought actions against the City of Minneapolis, the City of St. Paul, and John and Jane Does 1-10 (collectively " the cities" ) alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act (FHA), federal civil rights laws, and state law stemming from the cities' demolition of his properties after declaring them nuisances. The district court[1] dismissed the claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. In a consolidated appeal, we affirmed the dismissal of the state law claims, but reversed and remanded to the district court to consider whether Smithrud stated a claim under federal law. See Smithrud v. City of Minneapolis, 456 Fed.Appx. 634, 635 (8th Cir. 2012). On remand, the district court concluded that Smithrud failed to state a claim under federal law and that the statute of limitations barred his FHA claims. The district court subsequently denied his motion to alter or amend. Smithrud appeals. We affirm.

I. Background

Relevant to this appeal, Smithrud owned two rental properties in St. Paul, Minnesota, located at 847 Agate and 1863 Montana, and an apartment building in Minneapolis, Minnesota, located at 2400 Dupont Avenue North. Both cities declared the properties

Page 394

nuisances and sought demolition. The cities made the respective decisions to demolish the properties on August 26, 2008, for the Minneapolis apartment and August 20, 2008, and September 10, 2008, for the St. Paul properties.

Seeking to prevent the demolition, Smithrud initially pursued legal action in Minnesota state courts but the district courts dismissed the complaints for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed both dismissals. See Smithrud v. City of Minneapolis, No. A08-2157 (Minn. Ct. App. Sept. 15, 2009) (order); Smithrud v. City of St. Paul, No. A08-2003, 2009 WL 2927389 (Minn. Ct. App. Sept. 15, 2009).

On November 3, 2010, Smithrud filed nearly identical complaints against the cities in federal court alleging violations under the FHA, federal civil rights laws, and state law.[2] In its answer, St. Paul denied the allegations and raised the FHA's two-year statute of limitations as an affirmative defense. Minneapolis did not answer the complaint, and instead moved for dismissal pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), or alternatively, for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. ...


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