Manning and Kass Attorney Erin N. Collins Steps In At The Eleventh Hour
San Francisco Associate Erin N. Collins recently reached a settlement agreement for her client, a property owner in notoriously tenant-friendly San Francisco. The client purchased a residential property in serious disrepair with a twenty year tenant residing there who had not paid rent for a year. After the tenant plaintiff repeatedly refused the client entry into the property to conduct inspections and repairs mandated by the city due to complaints made by the tenant, the client filed an unlawful detainer action. Immediately after settling the unlawful detainer action, the tenant plaintiff sued the client for habitability and wrongful eviction, alleging serious upper respiratory illness as a result of exposure to toxic mold, among other complaints. The prior owner was also brought into the suit because the evidence showed that damage and uninhabitable conditions to the home existed long before the client purchased the property.
The client hired Ms. Collins almost two years into the proceedings after all discovery was complete, mediation had failed, and trial was imminent. Ms. Collins quickly found prior counsel had missed a major legal issue, which she realized would open the plaintiff up to a potential six figure attorney’s fee judgment against her if she was not successful on one of her claims. Ms. Collins was able to leverage that issue at mediation and box plaintiff into accepting a significantly smaller settlement – the same amount the plaintiff had been offered and rejected a year earlier.