CHICAGO (CN) – It’s too late to challenge an eviction that booted a child from public housing after his mother pleaded guilty to cocaine possession, the 7th Circuit ruled.
In March 2011, the Housing Authority of South Bend, Ind., ordered Autumn Oliver to vacate the low-income private housing where she lived with her 7-year-old son, A.B. Oliver had just been arrested for cocaine possession and resisting law enforcement officers – charges to which she eventually pleaded guilty.
The housing authority said that the arrest was a violation of the terms of Oliver’s lease agreement and went to state court to enforce the eviction.
After Oliver tried unsuccessfully to get an injunction, and with two weeks until the state court eviction hearing, A.B. sought a federal injunction through his grandmother, Linda Kehoe.
A.B. claimed that his mother’s drug addiction constituted a disability protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Eviction would violate the Fair Housing Act, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit sought $20,000 in damages and an order blocking the eviction.
On June 24, while the federal case was pending, the state court held its hearing and ordered the immediate eviction of A.B. and Oliver.
U.S. District Judge Philip Simon denied A.B.’s injunction demand on July 8 after finding that the Anti-Injunction Act prevents federal courts from enjoining state court proceedings.
The 7th Circuit also declined to reach the merits of the claim, finding that the controversy is moot now that A.B. and his mother have already been evicted.
“Since the Indiana state court has already entered a June 24, 2011 final order evicting A.B., this court lacks jurisdiction for review; there no longer remains a live controversy,” Judge William Bauer wrote for a three-member panel. “Thus, we cannot grant the relief that A.B. seeks and the appeal is dismissed for mootness.”