Cases & Deals

Pro bono client wins in D.C. Superior Court Housing Conditions Court

Client(s) Ruiz, Reina

Jones Day represented a Spanish-speaking plaintiff/tenant, Reina Ruiz, in D.C. Superior Court (the Housing Conditions Calendar) in an action to enforce the District of Columbia's housing code regulations. Prior to our representation, Ms. Ruiz was living in an apartment that had plumbing problems and was, among other things, infested with bedbugs and other pests. Ms. Ruiz wanted the landlord to (1) allow her to move to another vacant apartment in the building in accordance with her original housing assistance contract between the landlord and the D.C. Housing Authority; and (2) fix the housing code violations in that vacant apartment so she could live there safely and comfortably. After defeating a motion to dismiss and negotiating with both the Housing Authority and the landlord's counsel, we were able to get Ms. Ruiz moved into the apartment that she originally bargained for and to secure an April 15 Order from the Court requiring the landlord to fix all of the outstanding housing code violations in the new unit. While the Housing Conditions case was pending, the landlord also filed two separate Complaints for Possession in the Landlord and Tenant Court. One of the complaints sought alleged unpaid back rent. After filing a motion to dismiss and significant back and forth with opposing counsel, the landlord dismissed both cases in the Landlord and Tenant Court. Ms. Ruiz agreed not to pursue a damages case in Small Claims Court against the landlord relating to the housing code violations, and the landlord agreed that Ms. Ruiz did not need to pay any back rent allegedly owed.