Citizens For A Better Norwood

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lawsuit alleges Norwood evicted 2 men illegally

Legal Aide Society attorney Jessica Powell has filed a lawsuit against Norwood on behalf of two men who claim City officials violated their Constitutional rights 10/6/10 by evicting them from their 1-bedroom Maple Ave. apartment with less than 12 hours notice. The suit is filed against Building Commissioner Gerry Stoker, Police Sgt. David Lewis and 5 unnamed City employees who allegedly helped facilitate the eviction.

According to the building’s landlord Bonnie Littrell, Norwood officials told her they were they were tired of reports of Jones and Waller - and other tenants - getting drunk, fighting and causing so many problems that the building had more than 100 police calls in an eight-month period. "I think they were picking on (Jones and Waller) because they were a problem," Littrell said of the eviction orders. "I don't think it was properly handled by the city."

The suit states, Norwood "adhere(s) to a policy, custom and practice of issuing arbitrary and baseless vacate orders to tenants that it deems are in violation of its building codes or (who) they feel are otherwise unsuitable," and cites three eviction notices filed in a week against Farris and Jones. It seeks to have declared illegal Norwood's eviction and threats of prosecution of the pair, to permanently bar Norwood from illegally evicting them and for unspecified money damages. "Pure and simple, this is a case about the city abusing (its) authority," Ms. Powell said.

Missing from the Enquirer’s account is the City’s side of the story, which we suspect is because City officials do not comment on pending litigation.

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