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LAE attorney Shelby Nacino is pictured above with Han Lin Liu, one of the eight plaintiffs in a multi-year case we settled this year with co-counsel from Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus and law firm Ropes & Gray. For the monolingual Chinese-speaking plaintiffs it began in 2016 when new management took over their single resident occupancy (SRO) buildings in Chinatown, only communicating with the tenants in English.

It escalated to excessive fines for practices they’d always had, like leaving shoes in the hallway or hanging laundry outdoors. Eventually the management attempted to get the tenants to sign new 40-page-long English-only leases. The tenants felt threatened and harassed and so they banded together to fight back.

After two trials and multiple court closures, we were able to secure a settlement that included monetary damages and management agreeing to translate important notices, end excessive fines and attend anti-discrimination training. Most importantly to our clients, the landmark settlement asserted their right to live peacefully in the neighborhood they call home.

Read more about the unprecedented settlement in the press release and media coverage in Mission Local, KQED, KTSF, and Sing Tao.