Castillo v. Korman

“A landlord’s first and foremost responsibility is to their tenants…. They’ve got to have heat. They’ve got to have water. They’ve got to have electricity.”

Garo Mardirossian

Date: November 5, 2003

The family of Quentez Castillo had to resort to warming their apartment using the burners on their gas stove, because their landlord had disregarded their obligation to ensure tenants’ homes were properly heated.

Unfortunately, whilst trying to warm his hands one cold December night, the sleeve of Quantez’s pyjamas caught on the open flame. He suffered third degree burns to his arm, shoulder and back. He was only 6 years old at the time.

Speaking with KNBC, Garo explained that “the law requires that every unit that is being rented out in the city of Los Angeles must have a working heater. This landlord did not perform any inspections, or any maintenance of the heating system in this apartment.”

The jury ordered the owners of the apartment building to pay $5.8 million in damages to Quantez for the negligence that caused his traumatic injuries.

Juror Mike Goodrich of San Gabriel said Korman had disregarded his legal responsibility to provide heat for his low-income tenants “He knew what the law was,” Goodrich said. “He just didn’t want to obey it. It was just a shame that something like that happened.”

– Source: LA Times

Both KNBC and the LA Times declared that this ruling sent “a strong message to landlords.”


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