Appellate court sides with firm in class action dispute

October 20, 2017 – A California state appellate court today dismissed the appeal by defendants Willmark Communities, Inc., a large owner and manager of apartment complexes in Southern California, and its related entities, of a trial court order arising from a 2015 class action alleging Willmark's widespread practice of mishandling tenant security deposits.  Following extensive hearings in the trial court over settlement communications the landlord had with putative class members, San Diego County Superior Court Judge Joel M. Pressman entered an order requiring defendants to obtain court approval before initiating further settlement communications and to send a curative notice to those class members to whom they had previously made settlement offers. Firm partner Randy Erlewine together with associate Brian Conlon led a team of lawyers in researching and drafting plaintiffs' appellate brief, large sections of which were relied upon by the court of appeals in its opinion. The appellate court agreed with the firm's position that the order was not appealable and the appeal should be dismissed on those grounds. Further proceedings in the trial court remain pending. A motion for class certification is expected soon.