Cases & Deals

Tenants secure preliminary injunction in pro bono housing litigation

Clients 10th Place Tenants

In July 2008, Jones Day Washington won a significant preliminary injunction motion on behalf of five plaintiffs and their families who resided in an apartment building in the District of Columbia that was teeming with housing-code violations. Although the plaintiffs had asked the owner of the building to bring it into compliance with applicable housing regulations, they were forced to endure appalling conditions that rendered their homes unsafe and unsanitary. The plaintiffs had been without adequate heat for years, with some relying on their ovens and stovetops to survive the winter; mold and foul odors permeated the building; its common areas were filled with trash, raw sewage, and other debris; and rodents infested the building and its grounds. One plaintiff's bedroom ceiling collapsed, and other plaintiffs' apartments had rotting walls, holes in the floor, and broken windows. With Jones Day's assistance, the plaintiffs filed suit against the owner, alleging breach of the implied warranty of habitability, breach of contract, and negligence. The plaintiffs subsequently filed a motion for preliminary injunction, seeking abatement of some of the worst housing-code violations. On July 15, 2008, Judge Gerald I. Fisher granted the preliminary injunction, requiring the owner of the building to remedy many of the building's violations. Under the terms of the injunction, if the defendant fails to take the necessary steps, he may be found in contempt of court and required to pay a fine of $100 per day per violation.

Jones Day's role in this litigation is part of a larger effort, in partnership with the D.C. Bar, to protect tenants and promote affordable housing in the District of Columbia. The Firm currently represents tenants in five buildings in Washington.