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July 2013: Quinn Emanuel Helps Pro Bono Tenants Obtain Valuable Settlement in Tenant’s Rights Case

July 2013

The firm partnered with the Inner City Law Center (ICLC) to take on the pro bono representation of over 40 residents in seven families that had been living in a dilapidated apartment building in downtown Los Angeles. The tenants sued the owner of the building, San Pedro Mart, LLC, on a variety of claims arising out of the allegedly sub-standard condition of the residential units. The tenants contended that as soon as the owners acquired the building in 2006, conditions had significantly deteriorated, with repairs coming to a halt, rent increasing dramatically, and the living conditions at the apartments becoming uninhabitable and unsafe. The tenants alleged bedbug and cockroach infestations; faulty plumbing; inoperable heating units; mold; and broken windows and door locks, among other things. Many of the tenant families had young children who were often unable to get enough sleep to make it through the school day unaffected by the conditions. To make matters worse, despite repeated notices and orders to comply issued by the Los Angeles Housing Department, as well as frequent repair requests made by our clients, the units have been left in a constant state of disrepair.

By 2012, the tenants, represented initially by the ICLC, fought back, and called upon Quinn Emanuel to litigate the case. After defeating an early motion to dismiss filed by the building owner, Quinn Emanuel and ICLC quickly produced voluminous discovery on behalf of its clients and took the depositions of the building manager, repairman, and an Los Angeles Housing Department inspector, all of which revealed substantial deficiencies in the maintenance of the building. Shortly after completing those initial depositions, the case settled for an agreement to pay $750,000, which is a potentially life-altering amount to the plaintiffs—a multiple of the yearly income for each of the families. Additionally, the pendency of the litigation itself served to insure that many of the outstanding repairs and maintenance were completed.