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United States ex rel. Smith v. S.C. Investment Las Vegas, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

February 27, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ex rel. JANIE M. SMITH, Relatrix, and JANIE M. SMITH, Plaintiffs,
v.
SC INVESTMENT LAS VEGAS, INC., a Nevada Corporation, d/b/a Sky Court Harbors, PACIFICA S.D. MANAGEMENT, LP, a California Limited Partnership, and NIWA NOBUO, Defendants.

          RON SUNG, ESQ. Nevada State Bar No. 13047 DAVID OLSHAN, ESQ. Nevada State Bar No. 4126 Nevada Legal Services, Inc. Attorneys for Janie Smith.

          STIPULATION AND ORDER TO AMEND COMPLAINT

          RICHARD F. BOULWARE, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff JANIE SMITH and Defendants S.C. INVESTMENT LAS VEGAS, INC., d/b/a/ SKY COURT HARBORS, PACIFICA S.D. MANAGEMENT, LP., and NIWA NOBUO, by and through their respective counsels of record, hereby stipulate and agree that Plaintiff may, pursuant to Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, file an amended complaint in the form of the Amended Complaint attached hereto as Exhibit A.

         Upon filing of the Court's order granting permission to amend, Plaintiff JANIE SMITH shall file and serve the Amended Complaint within five (5) days thereof.

         The Parties are stipulating in the interest of judicial economy, and this Stipulation shall not be construed to prejudice any claims or defenses asserted by the Parties in this action. The Parties are not waiving or conceding any rights to otherwise make arguments against the allegations contained in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint.

         ORDER

         Based on the written stipulation of the parties and good cause appearing in support thereof, Plaintiff may file an amended complaint in the form of the Amended Complaint attached hereto as Exhibit A within five (5) days of the filing of this Order.

         IT IS SO ORDERED.

         Exhibit A

         AMENDED COMPLAINT

         INTRODUCTION

         This action is brought under the False Claims Act ("FCA"), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 and 3730(b)(1). Plaintiff Janie M. Smith ("Smith") rents a unit at 9025 W Desert Inn Rd #121 Las Vegas, Nevada, from Defendants S.C. Investments Las Vegas, Inc., doing business as Sky Court Harbors. Smith is a participant of the federally-regulated rent subsidy program known as the Section 8 Tenant-Based Housing Choice Voucher Program ("Section 8"), administered by the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority ("SNRHA"). Defendants and SNRHA entered into a Housing Assistance Payment Contract ("HAP Contract"), which prohibited Defendants from charging Smith side payments in the form of additional rent or other fees.

         Defendants violated the FCA by demanding illegal side payments in the form of a $100 month-to-month fees and late fees from Smith while under the HAP Contract with SNRHA. The United States seeks all remedies available under the FCA. Smith seeks a statutory share of any awarded damages paid to the United States under the FCA, declaratory relief, court costs and reasonable attorney fees.

         PARTIES

         1. Plaintiff Janie Smith was a tenant at the premises located at 9025 W Desert Inn Rd #121 Las Vegas, Nevada ("the premises") from June 30, 2014 to December 7, 2015.

         2. Plaintiff Janie Smith files this action on behalf of the United States of America to enforce her rights.

         3. Defendant S.C. Investment Las Vegas, Inc., a Nevada corporation, held itself out as the owner of the premises.

         4. Defendant Pacifica S.D. Management, LP, a California Limited Partnership, managed the premises.

         5. Defendant Niwa Nobuo was the owner of the premises, according to the Clark County Assessor.

         JURISDICTION

         6. This Court has jurisdiction over the federal claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1345 and 1367, 31 U.S.C. § 3732. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 57 and 28 U.S.C. § 2201(a) authorize declaratory relief.

         VENUE

         7. Defendants committed the unlawful acts in Clark County in the State of Nevada. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391, 31 U.S.C. § 3732 and 28 U.S.C. § 2201(a).

         STATEMENT OF FACTS

         Month-to-Month Fees

         8. The federal government instituted Section 8 to assist low income families with obtaining decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable rental housing; it is authorized by Section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. §1437f, and governed by regulations contained in 24 C.F.R. Part 982.

         9. Under Section 8, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) enters into annual contribution contracts with public housing agencies, including SNRHA.

         10. Pursuant to the annual contribution contract, SNRHA enters into a contract with the landlord of an existing dwelling to make monthly housing assistance payments on behalf of eligible tenants, subject to HUD approval. This contract ...


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