A Woo By Any Other Name

The home of my defender, the THC, at 126 Hyde
The home of my defender, the THC, at 126 Hyde

The Motion to Quash was filed yesterday and we await the Judge’s decision at next Tuesday’s hearing. The wheels of justice finally begin to turn.

When I was making the rounds a year ago seeking counsel, agencies would always ask who my landlord’s attorney was. When I said “Denise Leadbetter” there was almost a uniform “ugh.”  I heard things like “not one of my favorite people” or “not easy to deal with.”

But I also heard that she would only do the preliminaries. When it came to the heavy lifting, litigating the matter, she would turn it over to her husband, Andrew M. Zachs. Which is what’s happened in my case,  freeing Ms. Leadbetter up to work on the quadrupling rent case featured in today’s Chron.

Back in those early stages I did notice a certain lack of attention to detail on Ms. Leadbetter’s part. In the original Owner Move In eviction and then again in the Ellis Notice two months later she failed to acknowledge that I was a senior. She and the landlord knew this from the Realtor Disclosure Form. But this may have been more of a legal tactic than an oversight. The burden was on me to state my protected status rather than on her to acknowledge she already knew.

In early 2014 when I was thinking of dealing with her directly we played phone tag for a couple of weeks. She finally sent me a letter asking that I call her as soon as possible. She ended it with “Tanks very much.”

Then there was also the original OMI Eviction Notice in December 2013 where she stated the building was owned by Vince Young and the “Young Family Trust D/D/T February 5, 200.” By my calculation that would place it in the Han Dynasty.

The only time we ever spoke was when we met at the Rent Board Hearing. She was nice enough that day although the sharp elbows did come out a couple of times.

At one point she said that I needed to return the money Vince Young gave me for the OMI eviction that he later withdrew. I told her that an attorney at the Tenants Union told me it was moot and that I was not required to return it.

She shot back, “you couldn’t have spoken to an attorney at the Tenants Union. Only paralegals work as counselors there.”

I said I knew the firm he used to work for and that I would get her his bar number if she liked.

She was insistent, “you could not have spoken to an attorney there.”

At the end of the hearing she said she’d like to work with me in finding a resolution. I said that I’d been using the Tenderloin Housing Clinic and that any negotiations should be done through them. She asked who I was working with. I said Jeffrey Woo.

She pounced, “you couldn’t have spoken to Jeffrey Woo. He’s in private practice at Cooper White.”

“The attorney who did my intake was Jeffrey Woo.”

“You couldn’t have…” Well, you get the picture. I just let it drop. Sometimes it’s better not to engage.

In retrospect I’m willing to cut her some slack. In her days at Santa Clara Law School she probably skipped the course on The Law of Common Surnames.

***

The Eviction Story

Contact: ellistoellis@gmail.com

2 thoughts on “A Woo By Any Other Name

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