Tenant declines case evaluation award; ends up owing $8K in sanctions after alleged wrongful eviction
Lamar Lemmons was locked out of his residence/office by the new owner of the home, Crystal Ireland. He complained, and the owner gave him a key to use to remove his belongings. When his things weren't gone in 7 days, however, the landlord again entered the apartment, changed the locks, and removed and disposed of the tenant's property. Lemmons sued for wrongful eviction.
The case was referred to Case Evaluation, where a panel of lawyers recommended a $3500.00 payment to Lemmons. The Landlord accepted this recommended settlement, but Lemmons rejected it. A judge subsequently ruled that the landlord's "self-help" remedy was not illegal and dismisssed Lemmons' claim. Lemmons was then taxed $8,000 in costs for rejecting the proposed settlement and not improving on that outcome by ten percent.
Lemmons appealed this outcome, but the Court of Appeals declined to change it. It ruled that the "interests of justice" exception provided Lemmons no protection.