Defendant landlord appealed an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which issued a preliminary injunction and a supplemental preliminary injunction that, among other things, restricted defendant from evicting, harassing, or threatening to evict plaintiff tenants without first making a showing of good cause to the superior court.

 

corporate business lawyers of Plaintiff tenants brought a class action lawsuit alleging that the premises were uninhabitable and that defendant landlord had instituted unlawful detainer actions in retaliation for plaintiffs' exercise of their statutory rights to demand the premises be maintained. The superior court issued a preliminary injunction and a supplemental preliminary injunction that, among other things, restrained defendant from evicting, harassing, or threatening to evict any plaintiff without first making a showing of good cause to the superior court. On appeal, the court affirmed and held that defendant's unlawful detainer actions on the basis of overcrowding was an unlawful business practice because defendant had accepted the rentals knowing that overcrowding would occur. Defendant's motive for bringing the actions was retaliatory and retaliatory evictions were a business practice properly enjoined under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17203. Requiring defendant to show that an eviction was motivated by a legitimate reason was an insignificant hardship when compared to the irreparable harm plaintiffs would suffer if they were required to defend a multiplicity of lawsuits or were evicted.

 

Preliminary injunction and order and supplemental preliminary injunction and order were affirmed. Requiring defendant landlord to show good cause to superior court before evicting plaintiff tenants was reasonable because defendant's unlawful detainer actions on the basis of overcrowding were retaliatory business practices.

 

Petitioner prisoner was convicted of second-degree murder and first-degree murder with special circumstances and sentenced to death. His convictions and sentence were affirmed on automatic appeal. Approximately 20 years after the two killings, the prisoner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, claiming that his trial counsel failed to adequately investigate evidence that someone other than he had committed both murders.

 

The court issued an order to show cause based on the prisoner's allegation that he would have obtained a better  at trial had counsel investigated and presented witnesses who could corroborate a lone witness's testimony and support a theory of third party culpability. The court held that because counsel failed to investigate the available avenues most likely to yield corroboration of the lone witness and failed to provide any viable tactical justification for that omission, his performance was deficient. Counsel's decision to proceed with the witness's testimony alone was a consequence of his unreasonably limited investigation. However, the prisoner had not shown prejudice because, as best as could be determined 20 years after the fact, the fruits of a constitutionally adequate investigation would not have been sufficient to raise a reasonable probability of a more favorable . Even if listening to the habeas corpus witnesses might in the abstract make one ponder a small possibility that a third party might have killed the victims, listening to the prosecution case would have established in a reasonable juror's mind the near certainty that the prisoner did kill them.

 

The court discharged its order to show cause as to the prisoner's petition.

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Comment by Kingsley Chigo Michael on March 28, 2021 at 5:02pm

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