Ward 8 resident Gloria Alston received disability benefits and food stamps when she came to Legal Aid for help. She also had a voucher that covered a portion of her rent, but the DC Housing Authority had recently terminated its contract with her landlord because the apartment repeatedly failed inspection.
There had been multiple sewage floods in the apartment, mold and mildew growing in the carpet, and a bedbug infestation. Due to the landlord’s negligence and failure to fix these problems, Ms. Alston was paying the price.
“The bedbugs would crawl all over me, and the mice would crawl in the room, and there was a big hole in my wall in my bedroom where the mice would come out,” Ms. Alston said.
When Ms. Alston came to Legal Aid’s Southeast office at the Big Chair in Anacostia she was connected to Kirkland & Ellis litigation associates Pat Brown and Paul Suitter. Through a unique partnership with Legal Aid, Kirkland & Ellis not only financially supports our Anacostia office but also has its attorneys conduct initial intake interviews with prospective Legal Aid clients and provide extended pro bono representation.
Once Pat did some investigation into the conditions in Ms. Alston’s apartment, they decided to file a civil action for negligence against Ms. Alston’s landlord – a potentially time-consuming and resource-intensive action. In the end, the team’s zealous advocacy resulted in a favorable settlement for Ms. Alston, enabling her to move into a new apartment free of bedbugs and mold.