A typo-laden notice for a potential class-action lawsuit won high-profile landlord Ed St. George a procedural reprieve in Judge Pauline Maxwell’s courtroom this week. The potential lawsuit by aggrieved former tenant Harry Tran, who rented an Isla Vista apartment from St. George in 2015, claims, among other things, that the landlord was late in returning Tran’s security deposit.
Judge Maxwell ruled that the notice, which was to be sent out to other St. George tenants by Tran’s attorney, was defective because it contained multiple typos and failed to warn recipients that they could be on the hook for legal fees should the class-action suit fail.
In 2017, Judge Maxwell agreed the litigation could proceed as a class-action complaint open to all St. George tenants from March 25, 2011, to August 2017. Tran’s attorney argued that St. George should bear the costs of notifying potential members of that class either by direct mail or email. Judge Maxwell rejected those arguments, noting that he already had possession of 26,000 pages of tenant files.
St. George expressed incredulity that the class was ever certified, explaining he charged the tenant $400 for having removed the drawers and shelves from the brand-new refrigerator that St. George said he furnished. The parts were removed, St. George said, to make storage space for a keg. Those parts, St. George added, were subsequently lost and the security deposit withheld accordingly. St. George said Tran’s attorney is pursuing similar actions against four other large management companies in town. “I will not acquiesce,” he stated.
Tran and his attorney will show up in Maxwell’s court on June 12 with revisions to the proposed notices.