Tenants Rally at Courthouse as Closely Watched Eviction Case Heads to Trial in Merced

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       Contact: Simone Cranston-Rhodes

March 16, 2015                                               559.426.5538

Merced tenants will hold a courthouse rally at Noon today to show support for Bruce Shand, a disabled tenant who faces eviction from the Tioga Apartments where he has lived for over a decade. BRL Commercial Real Estate, the management company, claimed through its attorney that "the Tioga is in the process of major change" and would "from time to time" be exercising its right to evict without cause under state law. The rally will take place at the Merced Superior Court, 627 W. 21st Street, Merced. Shand's case is set for trial today.

The landlord is relying on a state law that allows eviction without cause in communities like Merced that do not have local "Just Cause for Eviction" laws. Merced had a Just Cause law that provided basic eviction protections for tenants at no cost to the city, but the law was repealed by Mayor Thurston and Councilmembers Murphy, Pedrozo and Dosetti. As a result, arbitrary eviction is legal in Merced, leaving tenants vulnerable to sudden displacement and homelessness.

Curtis Daugherty, Esq. of the Visalia-based Law Office of Curtis Daugherty, P.C., is representing Shand at trial. Daugherty will argue that the landlord did not comply with basic eviction laws and that the eviction case should be thrown out of court as a result.

Shand is a long-term tenant at Merced's biggest building. He has overcome personal obstacles to become a tenant leader. Shand stood up to bogus rent notices that were distributed to tenants throughout the building after a prior manager was reportedly pocketing rent money. Those eviction notices were rescinded. The Tioga also came under scrutiny in 2013 for roaches and other substandard conditions. After advocacy from tenants, the owners replaced the former management company.

"Tenants Together stands by Bruce, and we will continue to support Bruce as he courageously fights for his home," said Simone Cranston-Rhodes, Regional Organizer for Tenants Together, California's statewide organization for renters' rights.

The rally will begin at Noon on Monday, March 16, 2015, in front of the Courthouse located at 627 W. 21st Street, Merced, CA. Trial is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. on the same day.

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