United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Laxman S. Sundae, Plaintiff,
Townhouse Association Inc., Paramark Corp., Jamie Keenan/ Brossart/Howe, David Gerlach, Steven Howard, Inez Earl, and Virginia Stern, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. Magnuson United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss. For the following reasons, the Motion is granted.
Laxman S. Sundae, proceeding pro se, owns units in two
buildings in the Skyview Townhouses in Owatonna. The
allegations in the Complaint are difficult to discern, but
Sundae appears to be trying to represent a group of townhouse
owners who claim that the Townhouse Association did not
repair certain buildings in the townhouse development because
of racial bias. The Association has also attempted to
foreclose on Sundae's properties as well. (Compl.
¶¶ 52-53.) He has sued the Association, Paramark
Corporation, whose affiliation with the events described in
the Complaint is unclear, and several individual Defendants
who appear to be officers of the Association.
are no counts in the Complaint and the only law mentioned is
the Fair Housing Act. The Complaint seeks permission for
Sundae to file a motion to suspend the pending foreclosure
proceedings, order two of the individual Defendants to pay
him money for mental anguish, racially motivated harassment,
and defamation, order Defendants “to engage in
compulsory arbitration appointment practicing in the field of
common interest to community law to fix the amount of
restitution to make plaintiff whole, ” and order
Defendant Paramark to give Plaintiff an accounting of money
received from the sale of his units and to pay unspecified
damages for Paramark's failure to repair those units.
(Compl. at p. 9.) Paramark has not entered an appearance, and
several of the individual Defendants contend that they have
not been properly served with the Complaint.
has filed at least seven previous state-court actions against
the Association and various other defendants, including the
individual Defendants here. In at least one of those actions,
Sundae was ordered to pay defendants' costs because he
had no legal basis to bring the case. Order, Sundae v.
Keenan, No. 74-CV-15-845 (Minn. Dist. Ct. Aug. 25,
2015). All of the cases allege similar facts to those alleged
here-Sundae claims that the individual Defendants are not
properly officers of the Association, that the Association
did not do what it was supposed to do, that he made repairs
when the Association would not and the Association has
refused to reimburse him for those repairs, and so on. He
most recently attempted to file a lawsuit in May 2017 but the
Steele County court refused to accept the filing, requiring
Sundae to pay a $20, 000 bond to file anything further
because he has been adjudged a frivolous litigant. Order,
Sundae v. Skyview Townhouses Ass'n, No.
74-CO-17-62, 74-CO-17-63 (Minn. Dist. Ct. May 16, 2017).
seek dismissal of the Complaint, arguing that the statute of
limitations bars Sundae's federal statutory claims and
that res judicata bars him from litigating any of the other
issues the Complaint could arguably raise. Sundae filed no
response to the Motion, but appeared at the hearing to argue
his cause. He asked the Court to continue the matter for 60
to 90 days to allow him to secure representation. But as the
Court stated at the hearing, Sundae has had months, if not
years, to find counsel to represent him in these grievances
with the Association and has not done so. Any further
continuance is not warranted. Sundae also asks the Court to
order Defendants to arbitrate the dispute. But the Court has
no power to order parties to arbitration in the absence of a
contract or some other document evidencing the parties'
intent to arbitrate.
extent that Sundae raises claims under the Fair Housing Act
(“FHA”), those claims are untimely. The events in
the Complaint allegedly occurred in 2012, but the statute of
limitations for FHA claims is 2 years. 42 U.S.C. §
3613(a)(1)(A). At the hearing, Sundae provided the Court with
an “Affidavit in Support of Appointment of an
Arbitrator.” In this Affidavit, he complains of
allegedly harassing and threatening conduct that occurred in
2015. A litigant may not amend his complaint by affidavit,
however, and thus this Affidavit cannot suffice to render his
statutory claims timely. See Morgan Distrib. Co. v.
Unidynamic Corp., 868 F.2d 992, 995 (8th Cir. 1989)
(“[I]t is axiomatic that a complaint may not be amended
by the briefs in opposition to a motion to dismiss.”)
importantly, however, Sundae has repeatedly litigated his
claims and the facts underlying his claims in state court.
(See Defs.' Supp. Mem. (Docket No. 6) at 2-3
(describing cases).) Having received an unfavorable
determination from the Steele County courts, he attempts to
secure a different result here. But Sundae had a full and
fair, and repeated, opportunity to litigate his claims in
state court, and therefore principles of res judicata
prohibit Sundae from pursuing his failed state-court claims
in federal court. Ashanti v. City of Golden Valley,
666 F.3d 1148, 1151 (8th Cir. 2012).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion to
Dismiss (docket No. 4) is GRANTED and the
Complaint (Docket No. 1) is DISMISSED with
JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.