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Law School Case Brief

Cotton v. Alexian Bros. Bonaventure House - Nos. 02 C 7969, 02 C 8437, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11721 (N.D. Ill. July 7, 2003)


A participant's assistance under 24 C.F.R. § 574.310(e) may be terminated if he or she violates program requirements or conditions of occupancy. A "formal process" recognizing the participant's right to due process of law is required for any termination for violation of requirements.


Alexian Brothers Bonaventure House (“Bonaventure House”) was a supportive residence that provided a transitional living program for people with HIV/AIDS. It received federal funding through the Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS Act ("HOPWA"). Plaintiffs Gregory Cotton and Emory Bolden were persons living with AIDS. They resided at Bonaventure House and participated in its transitional living program. During November, 2002, Bonaventure terminated Cotton and Bolden’s residency at its facility. At that time, Cotton and Bolden sued separately, each seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Bonaventure. Each alleged that his residency had been terminated without notice and a hearing as required by HOPWA and sought to be reinstated in defendant's transitional living program. Cotton and Bolden also sought damages for the alleged HOPWA violation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and alleged violations of the Illinois Forcible Entry and Detainer Act (IFEDA) and the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (CRLTO), as well as declaratory and injunctive relief. On November 5, 2002, the court granted Cotton's request for a temporary restraining order against Bonaventure House, ordering it to restore Cotton to full use and occupancy of his residence pending a hearing on his petition for a preliminary injunction. On November 20, 2002, the court granted Bolden's request for a TRO, likewise ordering Bonaventure House to restore him to full use and occupancy of his residence. On December 9, 2002, the two cases were consolidated, and the restraining orders against Bonaventure House were extended through the date of the court's ruling on Cotton and Bolden’s motion for summary judgment.


Were Cotton’s and Bolden's rights to fair notice violated when their residency was terminated by Bonaventure House?




On the parties' motions for summary judgment, the court held that the residents' right to fair notice was violated--the letter one resident received at the time he was asked to leave the supportive residence did not state the reasons for his termination and the other resident received no letter before he was required to leave. Both residents claimed that they were entitled to pre-termination hearings. However, whether an emergency existed excusing the supportive residence from holding such a hearing was disputed and therefore could not be determined on summary judgment. The court declined to exercise jurisdiction over the residents' claims under the IFEDA and the CRLTO and dismissed those claims without prejudice. As to the residents' intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, the court held that the question of the outrageousness of the supportive residence's conduct was for a jury.

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