LOS ANGELES– Kabateck LLP attorneys representing hundreds of low-income mobile home residents in Long Beach, CA secured a nearly $57 million settlement, which is the largest settlement ever involving a mobile home park.
350 residents of Friendly Village Mobile Home Park who live in squalor will receive monetary compensation from the owners of the park, who failed to address serious maintenance problems, ignored complaints and hiked up the rent.
“Instead of repairing the park, instead of leveling the homes, the management’s only accomplishment in its four years of owning this park was to increase the rent by 50 percent,” said lead plaintiff attorney Brian Kabateck.
A bankruptcy judge approved a $42.5 million settlement for 151 families who filed lawsuits against the defendants, Michael Scott and Lee Kort. Those plaintiffs obtained $6.9 million paid from prior settlements.
As part of the settlement agreement, the mobile home park will be sold and a substantial portion of the proceeds of that sale, at least $7 million, will be divided between many of the residents, even those who are not part of the litigation.
This landmark agreement resolves litigation that found the owners negligent of unfair business practices, retaliatory eviction and financial elder abuse.
Nearly one year ago on November 27, 2018, a Los Angeles jury awarded $34 million in punitive damages to 30 residents of the Friendly Village Mobile Home Park, which was once a trash dump site for the city of Long Beach. That verdict was in addition to a $5.5 million judgment the jury leveled a week earlier against the owners of Friendly Village.
The land beneath the mobile home units is constantly shifting, causing sewage backups, electrical problems and structural damage to the residents’ property. The residents sued the property owners for failing to fix their dilapidated community.
“Now I can move on with my family and don’t have to live in this crisis anymore,” said Leonard Camarena, the president of the Homeowner’s Association.
The settlement money will help the residents relocate to safer and better-maintained housing.
“This case is about affordable housing in Los Angeles,” said Kabateck.
The plaintiffs’ legal team included Brian S. Kabateck and Shant Karnikian with the Los Angeles law firm Kabateck LLP, and Gary Fields with the Long Beach firm FieldsLaw.