In this case, Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, represented 80 elderly and disabled plaintiffs who lived in a low-income housing project in downtown Oakland. The project was built with many construction defects, and the Oakland Housing Authority decided to perform a $2,000,000 remodel without attempting to move the residents to other suitable housing. Once the remodel began, the tenants were exposed to excessive noise, dust, falling objects and backed up sewage which created a serious nuisance. In addition, they alleged that the complex became unsafe due to boarded up exit doors, a disabled security system and open spaces to the outside where once there were doors.
The plaintiffs were unable to find an attorney to represent them because of the relatively small amount of their individual damages and because damage to each plaintiff was different, so it was not suitable for a class action.
Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, took on the 80 elderly and disabled plaintiffs in individual actions. Because Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, has more staffing than most plaintiff personal injury firms, it was able to accommodate the large number of plaintiffs and successfully litigate the case.
During the litigation, the defendants alleged that it was reasonable to not move the tenants out because there was nowhere else to move them. Further, the defense alleged that the plaintiffs did not suffer any provable injuries.
Through the review of tens of thousands of pages of construction and Oakland Housing Authority documents, the law firm was able to find evidence to indicate that there were recommendations that the tenants should be moved out and that, even if they were not moved out, construction could have proceeded in a way to protect the safety of the tenants and avoid the nuisance. Further, the law firm retained construction experts who were prepared to testify that the project was ill-conceived and poorly monitored.
The litigation of this case and the settlement were prominently featured in the Oakland Tribune.
RESULT: Settlement on behalf of plaintiffs for $1,100,000