Live-In Aide Can’t Sue on Resident’s Behalf
Facts: A Section 8 resident lived with a live-in aide. Only the resident was on the lease. When the heating and air conditioning unit was damaged, the owner blamed the resident, threatening to evict her. In March 2016, the resident was served with a notice to vacate the property. Despite taking the resident to court, the owner didn’t evict her. But again in May 2016, the owner served the resident with an eviction notice, stating that her $81 portion of the rent wasn’t paid.
An eviction case was filed in July 2016. The live-in aide attended the eviction hearing. The judge entered a default judgment against the resident and evicted the resident and live-in aide. The live-in aide appealed the eviction, and during that period alleged that he was threatened if he didn’t leave the unit.
The live-in aide complained that the owner failed to make repairs required to meet the local PHA’s standards, requiring the resident and live-in aide to incur expenses and to make the repairs in order to pass inspection. Additionally, the live-in aide asserted that the PHA violated the resident’s rights by failing to inform her of her rights as a resident, failing to assist her with filling out complaint forms to the proper federal agencies, and generally failing to advocate for her.
Ruling: A Texas district court dismissed the live-in aide’s lawsuit.
Reasoning: Although this lawsuit was nominally filed by both the live-in aide and the resident, only the live-in aide signed the complaint. According to the court, the aide didn’t have personal standing to bring any claims relating to the lease or loss of the Section 8 voucher on his own behalf, and can’t represent the resident’s interests. Similarly, the live-in aide can’t bring claims on behalf of the resident alleging fraud, disability discrimination, or violations of her due process rights. The court recommended that all claims the live-in aide made on behalf of the resident be dismissed.
- Cadena v. Hicks, October 2016