A Legal Win in a Case of Elder Abuse during the Pandemic

By Kaelan Nguyen Orozco, Staff Attorney, Seniors Unit

My client Bill (name changed) called Community Legal Aid SoCal seeking assistance against Stacy (name changed), a 44-year old tenant who had recently started renting the lower level of the 2-story house he shares with his wife.  Bill and his wife are both 77 years old and suffer multiple health conditions.

As soon as she moved in Stacy was extremely loud, banging the doors and throwing items against the wall day and night, causing the couple distress and sleepless nights. Stacy was behind on rent after the first month. When Bill asked about it, she responded with verbal aggression saying “I hope you lose your house,” “I’ll pay when I want to,” “I’ll leave when I want to,” and “I hope you die.”

Alarmed at the situation, Bill decided to ask her to leave and served her with a 3-day notice.  Stacy reacted by not moving out and continuing her noisy display.

The couple were afraid of her and were at a loss about how to get her to leave their home.  They were also worn out and tired due to the continued lack of sleep and anxiety.

Because of the COVID-19 crisis’ stay on evictions and the court’s indefinite closure, they could not start an eviction case.  However, with our assistance, the couple pursued another legal remedy to relieve themselves of Stacy’s presence and abuse.

We assisted Bill with completing and submitting a court petition for an elder abuse temporary restraining order against Stacy.  In the petition we described the noise, verbal abuse, financial abuse, and the toil that the situation had on the couple’s emotional and physical health.  We requested no contact, move-out and stay away orders.

The court granted the temporary restraining order, including the move-out order.  The very next morning, the Sheriff’s Department served Stacy with the order and waited for her to move out.  Bill and his wife were relieved and grateful to feel once again safe in their own home.