Rampant and ongoing discrimination against tenants in several apartment buildings in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles prompted a major federal lawsuit, Martinez v. Optimus Properties LLC, challenging the practices of several real estate investment firms. On October 22, 2018, a settlement in the case was announced. You can click here for a Los Angeles Times article that includes details of the settlement.
Background of case:
On November 17, 2016, a group of local tenants and community advocates filed a lawsuit in federal court against a local real estate investment firm, Optimus Properties LLC, and related entities, charging widespread housing discrimination that violates the Fair Housing Act (FHA), as well as state and local housing laws. The suit, brought by fifteen tenants living in five Koreatown buildings either currently or formerly owned by the defendants, and two non-profit service agencies, charges that the defendants target Spanish-speaking Latino tenants, tenants with mental disabilities, and tenant families with children, blanketing them with unmerited eviction notices, leaving their units in disrepair, and verbally attacking their disabilities and national origin in a concerted effort to remove them from the buildings. The lead defendant, Optimus Properties LLC, is a Los Angeles based real estate investment company with dozens of multifamily and commercial properties in its portfolio, including multiple properties in Koreatown. The plaintiffs are represented by Public Advocates, Public Counsel, the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Brancart & Brancart.
The district court denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint on March 14, 2017. Martinez v. Optimus Properties, LLC, 2017 WL 1040743 (C.D. Cal. March 14, 2017).
We thank Joshua Busch, Communications Director at Public Counsel for the photographs.