San Francisco litigation associate Harry Moren successfully prevented the unlawful eviction of an elderly, disabled client who speaks only Spanish.

The client had lived in her San Francisco apartment for more than 20 years and took on subtenants to ensure she paid the monthly rent. However, while she was out of the country caring for her epileptic son, the landlord began eviction proceedings. Although the client attempted to handle the legal situation, she was hindered by her disability and her inability to speak or understand the English language. The landlord obtained a default judgment against the client and scheduled an eviction date with the sheriff.

Harry engaged the client through a limited scope project of the Volunteer Legal Services Program (VLSP) of the San Francisco Bar designed to help low-income clients vacate default judgments in housing cases.

The day before the client’s scheduled eviction, Harry moved for and won a one-week stay of eviction in the California Superior Court, County of San Francisco. The following week, Harry won an order vacating the default judgment and recalling the writ of execution of eviction, despite written and oral opposition from the landlord’s counsel at the hearing. Now that the client and her subtenants are no longer threatened by immediate eviction, VLSP’s homeless advocacy project will represent the client in the underlying unlawful detainer action.

The assistance of legal secretaries Janet Kirk and Scott Wortman was indispensable to Harry’s success in court.

If you have interest in taking on a similar case in the San Francisco Bay area, please contact pro bono counsel Rene Kathawala.


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