A jury awarded more than $5.5 million to 31 residents of a Southern California mobile home park rife with problems, including sinkholes, sewage backups and rats.
Jurors also found the owners of Friendly Village liable for elder abuse, lawyers for the plaintiffs said Monday. The amount of punitive damages in that phase of the civil trial will be argued in court next week.
The residents, many of them elderly, sued the owners for failing to fix units at the property that was once a trash dump for the city of Long Beach, lead attorney Brian Kabateck said.
“This company allowed the residents to live in squalor with raw sewage backing up into their homes while they raised rents and collected millions upon millions of dollars in profits,” Kabateck said in a statement.
The land is constantly shifting, causing electrical problems and structural damage to units, the lawsuit said.
A woman who answered the phone at Friendly Village on Monday said she couldn’t comment on the suit.
During the nearly two-month trial, plaintiffs testified about how, instead of fixing the ongoing problems, the park owners ignored their complaints and continued to increase rents.
The owners, Friendly Village MHP Associates, declared bankruptcy during the court proceedings, according to plaintiffs’ attorneys.
Source: The Associated Press