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BWB&O Secures a Victory in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Congratulations to Newport Beach Partner, Rachel Mihai and Associate Sarah Vega on an outstanding result! In the case of William Roman, et al. v. MSL Capital, LLC, et al., Bremer Whyte Brown & O’Meara, LLP (BWB&O) was retained by Everest National Insurance Company, to represent defendants MSL Capital and Li Ritchey. Defendants are owners of an apartment complex in Riverside County, where Plaintiffs had lived. Defendants terminated Plaintiffs’ leases and Plaintiffs claimed familial discrimination in the form of violations of the Federal Fair Housing Act, the Fair Employment and Housing Act, and the Unruh Civil Rights Act.

On November 5, 2018, the District Court granted partial summary judgement for Plaintiffs. In April 2019, the parties proceeded to a jury trial, where the defense was led by BWB&O attorneys Partner Rachel Mihai and Associate Sarah Vega. The Defendants had an uphill battle in light of the earlier summary judgement. However, after a 4 day jury trial, the jury found in favor of Defendants swiftly and unanimously. The Plaintiffs appealed to the 9th Circuit. After briefing done with co-counsel, the US Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, affirmed the District Court decision on September 8, 2020. This decision is a total win for the Defendants!

The Court of Appeals noted the jury’s verdict was reasonable in light of their conclusion that the plaintiffs suffered no actual damages. The record from the jury trial also reasonably supported the findings that the plaintiffs’ victories related to “largely insignificant” legal issues based on “technical, per se violations,” and there was no advancement of any public goal due to Defendant’s remedial actions.