Pro Bono Team Saves San Francisco Family From Homelessness


Jason Cabot, supervised by Rick Gallagher, successfully represented a 64-year-old cancer survivor and her son who were at risk of eviction from their rent-controlled unit in the Mission in San Francisco.

When referring the case, the Justice & Diversity Center's housing director told Jason that she thought this was not a winnable case since the clients did not have any strong defenses. Not deterred by this forecast, and working quickly and effectively, Jason served document requests overnight on the landlord's attorney and also noticed the adverse landlord for deposition.

The landlord's attorney offered a very one-sided settlement offer. After he refused to modify his offer, Jason told him that he would see his client (the landlord) the next morning for a day-long deposition. The adverse attorney replied that he would not produce his client for deposition. Jason said that if that was the case, he would move to compel production of the witness for deposition and for sanctions including payment of attorney's fees, costs for the court reporter and a continuance until his client was produced. Jason also pointed out a flaw in the notice that had been served on the tenant indicating an intent to bring the eviction case.

Realizing that Jason meant business, the adverse attorney convinced the landlord that a reasonable settlement was necessary. Jason was able to secure a settlement that will allow the clients to retain possession of their apartment, and the case will be dismissed with prejudice provided the tenants pay their monthly rent on time for the next six months.

Ted Janowsky, the Justice & Diversity Center's staff attorney, noted that this was a "very solid outcome by a skillful advocate. The Orrick representation actually prevented homelessness for the client and her son. This is the best of pro bono representation."

Jason said that being pitted against a much more experienced attorney on the other side of this case gave him the opportunity to further strengthen his litigation experience. "And most importantly, it was very gratifying to achieve such a great outcome for my clients who were without options if they were not going to be able to keep their rent-controlled apartment."