In 2007, the residents of the California Hawaiian Mobile Estates decided
that they’d had enough. Their park, once well-maintained and beautiful,
had become a rundown eyesore. Park lighting was held up by rebar and duct
tape. The clubhouse was dilapidated and unusable. The park’s water
and electrical systems were constantly being shut off. The sewer system
backed up into residents’ homes. Although the residents tried to
meet with park management to correct the many issues plaguing their community,
nothing ever changed.
Result of the Case
As a result of the inaction of management, the residents sued Equity Lifestyle
Properties, the owner of the park. Initially, Equity was able to convince
the Court that the case should go to arbitration, rather than to jury
trial. The residents successfully appealed this decision, with the Appellate
Court ordering the case back to the lower court to allow the residents
to try the case to a jury. The jury awarded the residents $111 million
in March 2014. The park owners responded by asking for a new trial, which
was granted by the judge on the issue of damages. Again, the residents
appealed. During the course of the appeal, the case settled.
After years of intense litigation, the residents of the California Hawaiian
Mobile Estates finally settled their lawsuit against the owners of the
park for $9,900,000.00.
Testimony from Jim Allen
“This has been an eight-year struggle for justice,” said
Jim Allen of Allen, Semelsberger & Kaelin LLP. “These residents were intimidated
and threatened by the park. When we started the case, there were 200 residents;
most were scared away. At the end, we only had 61 residents left in the
suit. These residents deserve every cent of their settlement.” Read
more about the settlement on The Mercury News.