4:32 a.m., May 22
Residents of Mission Valley Village Mobile Home Park are breathing a sigh of relief after San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes approved a class-action settlement offered by Archstone-Smith Development Group.
For nearly four years, ever since Archstone purchased the park in 2007, the residents have complained about increased rent and Archstone's refusal to honor relocation benefits. I wrote a story about the park, its residents, and the lawsuit in October 2010.
The settlement, according Peter Zamoyski, who represented the residents, is valued between $7 million to $13 million, depending on the time-line for development.
"This extraordinary settlement agreement came about only after a long series of tough David-against-Goliath battles," said Zamoyski. "At the end of the day, these senior citizens are standing tall and proud after going toe-to-toe against a Fortune 500 company that seemed to have all the power and financial muscle that one can imagine.
“This court-approved settlement guarantees residents’ legal rights and financial benefits, all of which give the elderly residents of the park a renewed sense of economic stability and certainty," added Zamoyski. "It provides peace-of-mind for them and their families knowing that -- regardless of the timing of the Park closure or their own personal situations -- they have guaranteed, well-known options that can’t ever be taken away.”
In the settlement, Archstone agrees to pay relocation benefits established at the time of park closure in 2007 -- approximately $4 million for the remaining 70 residents, depending on the size of their home. Archstone must also provide relocation consultants to help the residents and help coordinate with movers.
The developer also agrees to reimburse residents for the increased rent payments they were charged.
“We couldn’t be happier with the overall outcome for these very deserving folks,” said Zamoyski.