Santa Monica apartment tenant awarded damages for invasion of privacy by landlord. $825K. Los Angeles County.
After an elderly tenant is taken away on a Section 5150 hold, landlord distributes information to other tenants that invades his privacy.
- Case Name: Doe Tenant v. Roe Landlords
- Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / SC122234
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, March 02, 2016
- Date Action was Filed: Friday, March 14, 2014
- Type of Action: Invasion of Privacy, Landlord-Tenant Issues
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Gerald Rosenberg
- Plaintiffs: Doe, male, age 80
- Defendants: Roe, private landlords
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $825,000 for invasion of privacy. Defendants prevailed on elder abuse.
- Non-Economic Damages:
$200,000.00 in non-economic damages, joint and several, against both defendants. ($100,000 past and $100,000 future.)
- Punitive Damages:
$625,000.00 total punitive damages against two related defendants.
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 6 days.
- Jury Deliberation Time: 2 days.
- Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Plaintiff will seek recovery of approximately $350,000.00 in attorneys’ fees by post-trial motion. Defendants will be seeking attorney’s fees under the applicable statutes authorizing such recovery.
- Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Campbell & Farahani, LLP by Nima Farahani and Frances Campbell, Sherman Oaks.
- Attorney for the Defendant:
Law Firm of Harold Greenberg by Harold Greenberg, Los Angeles.
Facts and Background
- Facts and Background:
Plaintiff, an 80-year-old man, was defendants’ long-time tenant. Plaintiff lived in a two-bedroom, rent-stabilized apartment unit in defendants’ 10-unit apartment building in Santa Monica.
In October 2013, following an incident in which plaintiff was taken away from his home on a Section 5150 hold, defendants notified all of their tenants regarding the situation.
- Plaintiff's Contentions:
Plaintiff contended that the notice given by defendants contained highly personal information, and that the notice was designed to make the other tenants fear plaintiff and encourage the tenants to participate in a letter-writing campaign that defendants could use to evict plaintiff from his apartment, which could then be rented at market rate.
Further, that after the notice was posted, plaintiff was humiliated and shunned by his neighbors.
- Defendant's Contentions:
That the alleged elder abuse, discrimination, and other claims have no factual bases. Defendants claimed that the private facts disclosed by them to tenants were actually made available to defendants by the police and fire departments.That the alleged notice was not a public notice, but a letter to tenants responding to their inquiry about an incident involving the police and fire departments; that the letter was given only to the tenants at plaintiff’s building.
Further, that plaintiff suffered no harm; that the alleged shunning did not occur because the other tenants never socially interacted with plaintiff before the incident.