Weekly Law Resume - October 14, 2010: Unruh Act - Tenant Unable to Establish Unruh Claim Against Apartment Owner and Manager


Ramirez v. Wong Court of Appeal, Second District (October 6, 2010)

The attraction for Unruh Civil Rights claims by plaintiffs is the ability to recover attorneys' fees, along with the potential for an award of penalties (up to three times the actual damages) or punitive damages. This case considered whether a plaintiff could state an Unruh or other civil rights claim for her landlord's breaking in to the unit while she was not there.

Lourdes Ramirez was a single mother, who lived with her minor daughter Jennifer in an apartment building owned by Weller Wong, who employed Daniel Valdez as a resident manager. Ramirez maintained a video surveillance unit in her apartment, and in June of 2007, she reviewed the surveillance tape and observed that earlier that day Valdez had let himself into her apartment, entered her bedroom, opened her dresser and removed and taken some of her underwear. He was apparently later convicted of burglary with regard to the incident.

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