The "J." family came to NLSP for help with an eviction case.  NLSP discovered that the family had never been served with the required 30-day notice to quit - indeed, the landlord's process server attested to serving residents in a different quadrant of the City at the same time he supposedly had served the J. family. 

The court dismissed the J. family's eviction case, finding that the patently defective service rendered the complaint for possession "utterly meritless from the outset".  Judge Neal Kravitz also awarded attorney's fees and costs to NLSP, cautioning other landlords and attorneys: "To the extent the conduct exhibited here [by both landlord and attorney]  may not be is all the more important that the intended message of deterrence emanating from the court's award of reasonable attorney's fees and costs be heard loud and clear by those who would consider litigating other landlord-tenant cases in [this] bad faith manner."

Judge Kravitz went on to note the critical importance of having counsel:  "Perhaps most concerning about the bad faith litigation tactics exhibited here is the reality that the fatal legal and factual deficiencies in the plaintiff's claim likely never would have come to light. . . without counsel. . . .The outcome of this case thus could have been drastically different had the defendants not been among the small minority of tenants sued in the Landlord and Tenant Branch who are fortunate enough to obtain free legal representation from one of the city's civil legal services organizations or pro bono programs".  

NLSP is continuing to examine the scope of such abuses.