CASE: Martin J Singer, et al, v. Anderson North Limited Partnership, et
al., Orange County Superior Court Case No. 05CC11890; Judge Randell L.
Wilkinson; Dept. C19
An Orange County jury awarded the residents of the Western Skies Mobilehome
Park over 2.2 million dollars against the Park owners for failing to maintain
the mobilehome park. In addition, an injunction was issues requiring upgrades
to the Park’s utilities and the construction of a new pool.
In 1999 the original developers transferred the Park to their children.
These new owners immediately started to raise the rent and reduced services.
In 2002, the owners closed the pool. By 2003, the clubhouse was in total
disrepair: the roof leaked, there was no heat or hot water, and the bathroom
facilities no longer worked. Instead of repairing the problems, the new
owners bulldozed the clubhouse.
The residents also presented evidence as to the failing infrastructure.
The gas system was so riddled with holes the gas company refused to energize
the system, forcing the owners to replace the entire system. The electric
system was undersized causing brownouts throughout the Park. The lighting
no longer function in much of the Park.
In 2005, the owners attempted to force all the residents to sign a long
term lease which would have raised their rent from $650 to $1,000 in three
years and required the residents to pay an additional $40 per month to
reimburse the owners for the cost to rebuild the gas lines. The residents
were told if they refused to sign this lease, they would get an immediate
$100 per month rent increase. Instead of signing this lease, the residents
contacted the Golden State Manufactured-Home Owners League. The residents
organized, refused to sign this lease, and contacted the law firm of Endeman,
Lincoln, Turek & Heater LLP of San Diego, California. The law firm
took their case and sued the Park owners.
Jim Allen of Endeman, Lincoln, Turek & Heater LLP said, “The residents
of the Western Skies Mobilehome Park have helped every mobilehome resident
in the state. The park owners around this State were watching this trial.
The Park owners believed they could remove an old facility like the pool
or clubhouse and not be held accountable. The jury told them otherwise
by awarding the residents the damages they suffered and $1.7 million in
The Park owners agreed to pay an undisclosed amount of money and stipulated
to a court-ordered injunction before the Court heard a motion for an award
of attorneys’ fees and costs. “Residents need to be aware
of the power they possess,” said Allen. he added,”our Mobilehome
Residency laws are the best in the country. However, the residents have
to have the courage to enforce these laws.” The residents of the
Western Skies Mobilehome Park had this courage and as a result, they will
have a complete upgrade to this Park, their damages paid, and a $40 pass
through removed from their rent. However, the greatest result is the message
this jury has sent to all park owners in this State: Either properly maintain
your parks or you will be held accountable.