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Walkup Firm Reaches Settlement with San Francisco to Clear Dangerous Encampments in Tenderloin District

SAN FRANCISCO, Calf. (June 16, 2020) – Attorneys with the San Francisco based plaintiff’s firm Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger announced last Friday a tentative settlement in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Tenderloin district residents and local business owners and UC Hastings Law School, which sought to compel the City of San Francisco to remove the more than 400 tents obstructing the sidewalks of the Tenderloin neighborhood and to undertake aggressive enforcement of narcotics  laws to protect the housed and unhoused resident of the community.

The lawsuit filed in May requested Federal court intervention to force city leaders to make the sidewalks accessible for the disabled, implement required Covid-19 social distancing, find safe shelter for the expanding unhoused population and alleviate the public health risks compounded by the pandemic.

“We’ve agreed to a stipulated injunction that concludes the case if the City fulfills its end of the bargain,” said lead plaintiff attorney Michael A. Kelly. “This case is about public safety and doing what’s right for our community during a dangerous health crisis,” added Kelly.

According to the settlement, the City has agreed to remove 70% of the tents in place as of June 12 (a number in the range of 300 tents) that obstruct free passage over the neighborhood’s sidewalks and to safely relocate those unhoused citizens residing in tents to vacant hotel rooms or sanctioned safe sleeping facilities over the six months.  The City also committed to take appropriate measures to discourage the building of new encampments.

The settlement still requires formal approval of the County Board of Supervisors within the next three months. If the settlement is rejected, the litigation will resume.

“City leaders have stepped up at a crucial time to protect both the indigenous housed population numbering more than 20,000 residents and those who are living on the streets, improving the health and safety of both” said Kelly.

Tenderloin residents and business owners are hopeful this settlement will result in lasting change. “Thanks to Hastings Law School, the fellow plaintiffs and Mayor Breed’s support for a revitalized neighborhood the Tenderloin faces a brighter future. It won’t happen overnight, but the lawsuit has revived hopes for transforming the Tenderloin into a safe and healthy neighborhood,” wrote Randy Shaw, the Editor of BeyondChron and the Director of San Francisco’s Tenderloin Housing Clinic.

The plaintiffs’ legal team includes Michael A. Kelly, Richard H. Schoenberger, Matthew Davis and Jade Smith-Williams of Walkup Melodia Kelly & Schoenberger and Wayne Gross and Deborah Mallgrave with Greenberg Gross LLP.

San Francisco based Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger is one of the premier personal injury firms in the country specializing in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death litigation. Our attorneys have helped shape personal injury law, while securing millions of dollars in financial compensation for injured clients.