Claudine is a single, working mom who is raising her young daughter and teenage son in the West Rogers Park apartment that she has called home since 2007. Claudine has always been a good tenant; she pays her rent on time and takes care of her home. Unfortunately, she is one of the thousands of tenants in Chicago who, each year, find themselves living at the mercy of dangerously irresponsible landlords.
Last fall, Claudine noticed a leak in her ceiling. In October, she wrote a letter to her landlord asking him to fix it. He failed to respond and the leak began to grow bigger. In November and again in December, she made two more written demands for repairs. The landlord continued to ignore her requests.
On January 10th, Claudine woke up in the night to a huge noise coming from inside her apartment. The ceiling had caved in over her son's bed and debris had fallen directly on top of him. The collapse broke her son's computer and damaged the bed. It also caused Claudine's son to suffer a concussion and, several months later, he was still experiencing post-concussive symptoms such as headaches. Even after the collapse, the landlord refused to address the conditions in the apartment. Not only would he not fix the leak, but he wouldn't even patch up the hole in the roof or remove the debris. The bedroom became unusable, forcing the family to double up in the other bedroom.
Livid that her son had been injured by the landlord's refusal to make basic repairs and that part of her apartment was unusable, Claudine withheld her rent in February. Her landlord promptly served her with an eviction notice and filed a court case against her. While Claudine was certainly eager to leave the apartment, she needed time to find a suitable new apartment and was worried about the impact of an eviction on her record. She came to LCBH seeking help.
Working as part of LCBH’s pro bono team, two attorneys from Jones Day immediately volunteered to take the case and represent Claudine. Due to their diligent work and persistent negotiation, they were ultimately able to negotiate a great outcome for Claudine. The family will have an additional two months to move out and the eviction case will be dismissed and sealed. The pro bono attorneys won a settlement from the landlord to pay Claudine $2,000 in relocation assistance to help her cover the security deposit and moving expenses. Even better, the settlement did not waive Claudine’s right to move forward with a possible personal injury claim against the landlord!
Thanks to the hard work of her pro bono attorneys, Claudine and her children will be able to finish up the school year in their current apartment and then start over in a new home this summer. This fantastic outcome wouldn't have been possible without the assistance of our pro bono partners from Jones Day. Thank you to these two dedicated pro bono attorneys and to all of our other wonderful volunteers!