Last week the Pulaski County Circuit Court issued judgment in Alexander Apartments v. City of Little Rock that included $52,000 in compensation for the tenants of Alexander Apartments stemming from the City's illegal attempt to close the complex during Christmas week in 2015.
Some residents had been living there decades when the City sent inspectors to oust residents from their homes with no financial or other tangible assistance. During a time like the holiday season, being displaced and even facing the very real possibility of becoming homeless are even more stressful than other times of the year, if such a comparison is appropriate. Many tenants had to find new homes and miss work, causing many sleepless nights.
Four plaintiffs filed lawsuits against the City in this fair housing case. Legal Aid of Arkansas has an entire workgroup of attorneys dedicated to representing Arkansans who are being denied fair housing in this state, which has some of the worst landlord-tenant laws in the country. Renters have next to no rights despite numerous and repeated bi-partisan efforts to enact legislation to protect tenants.
"This case was about elementary due process and basic human dignity," says Lee Richardson, Executive Director of Legal Aid of Arkansas. "It was a great example of teamwork between the primary providers of free civil legal aid in the state. We were able to pull together our collective knowledge and resources to the ultimate benefit of each of our respective clients."
Legal Aid of Arkansas, through its Medical-Legal Partnership, represented tenant Ingram Murphy. Legal Aid is grateful to its partner organizations, Center for Arkansas Legal Services and the University of Arkansas Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law's Consumer Protection Clinic, for providing excellent representation to three additional tenants.
Read the full judgment here.
Legal Aid is a nonprofit, public interest law firm that provides free legal services to low-income Arkansans with civil legal problems across 31 counties. To apply for assistance or for more information, call (800) 952-9243 or visit arlegalaid.org.