Torts Landlord and Tenant

Habitability

Plaintiffs v. Doe Landlord

SETTLEMENT: The case settled for $1.675 million after three mediations.

FACTS: The Plaintiffs, 60 adults and 30 minor children, were tenants in a low income apartment building on Florence Avenue in Los Angeles. They alleged that for four consecutive years the defendants and its management company allowed the building to fall into disrepair resulting in sewage spills, destroyed and dirty sheetrock, mold and mildew, cockroaches and vermin, common area problems and a multitude of maintenance issues. The Los Angeles Housing Department cited the property annually but the landlord failed to abate due primarily to shoddy repair work. The Housing Department consequently issued a “Substandard Order”.

PLAINTIFFS’ CONTENTIONS: The tenants alleged rodent and insect bites, allergies, rashes and other physical symptoms as well as emotional distress arising from the conditions and harassment by management. The tenants sought damages for physical injury, emotional distress, and restitution of rent, property damage and statutory penalties pursuant to C.C.P. Section 1941.1.

DEFENDANT’S CONTENTIONS: The Defendants claimed that the tenants exaggerated the extent and duration of the conditions, failed to make complaints about the conditions, caused the health and safety conditions with their poor housekeeping and messy eating habits and that the alleged physical symptoms were note supported by medical records.

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