Lawyers from Southern California firms Kabateck LLP and FieldsLaw won $34 million in late November 2018 on behalf of 30 residents of a Long Beach mobile home park. Led by trial attorney Brian Kabateck of Kabateck LLP, a Los Angeles jury awarded the punitive damages to the plaintiffs, who had been residing on what was once a trash dump site for the city of Long Beach. The jurors found the defendants liable for negligence, unfair business practices, retaliatory eviction and financial elder abuse.
“After five and a half years, our clients are finally receiving some justice for living in a mobile home park that these owners didn’t fix or repair,” Kabateck said. “They didn’t do anything for these people even though they were under order of the state to do the right thing and they wouldn’t do it.”
The park is built on land that is constantly shifting, causing sewage backups, electrical problems and structural damage to the mobile homes on the property. The residents sued the property owners for failing to fix their dilapidated community and want to be relocated to safer and better-maintained housing.
The verdict dovetails with the $5.5 million judgment the jury leveled against the owners of Friendly Village earlier in November.
The trial began in mid-September and involved the mobile home park managed and operated by companies owned by Michael Scott and Lee Kort. During the trial plaintiffs testified about how instead of fixing the ongoing problems, the park owners ignored their complaints and continued to hike up the rent. The plaintiffs contended the park owners raked in $7.5 million from the residents of Friendly Village over the past four years, but spent nothing to make necessary repairs and maintenance. This, while the mobile home park owners claimed it was going to try to repair the park eventually, yet declared bankruptcy during trial. More cases are scheduled for trial in 2019.
The plaintiffs’ legal team included Kabateck lawyers Shant Karnikian and Natalie Pang and Gary Fields with FieldsLaw.
Kabateck was listed in the 2018 edition of Los Angeles’ Leaders In The Law for a top verdict.