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Former Los Angeles City Attorney, Family Settles Lawsuit Over Rodent-Infested Rental Home

LOS ANGELES – Former city attorney Rocky Delgadillo and his family have settled a lawsuit they filed against a well-known girls’ school in Hancock Park, alleging they rented a house in 2013 that was infested with rats and contaminated with mold, which caused harm to health. problems for the whole family.

Following the settlement, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Curtis A. Kin dismissed the case “with prejudice” on November 16, meaning it cannot be refiled. Terms were not disclosed.

Delgadillo, his wife, and two minor children filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on February 4 against the Marlborough School and property management company JRealty, alleging breach of a written lease and implied warranty of habitability, nuisance, negligence and constructive eviction.

“Marlborough leased a substandard, uninhabitable, unrentable house infested with rats, contaminated with toxic mold, and inundated with rat urine and feces from the Delgadillos for over five years, collecting $10,500 in monthly rent from them while repeatedly failing to adequately and permanently reduce these unsanitary, insanitary, and dangerous conditions…” the lawsuit alleges.

In their court documents, the lawyers for the Marlborough School and JRealty denied any wrongdoing or liability on the part of their clients.

According to the lawsuit, in 2013 the Delgadillos’ family home was severely damaged by fire, which ultimately led them to lease Rossmore House, one of several residential properties adjacent to the Marlborough campus that the school owns and leases to third parties.

The family intended to stay there for at least eight years and spent substantial sums decorating and furnishing the house to make it their home for the foreseeable future, according to the lawsuit.

Delgadillo, now 62, and his wife, Michelle, have been married for more than 20 years and their children were 10 and 13 when they moved into Rossmore House, according to the lawsuit.

During the Delgadillos’ tenure, water pipes leaked and the basement flooded, creating constant humidity and causing toxic black mold to spread through the home’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, the lawsuit alleges. .

The toxic mold affected the health of each of the Delgadillos, the lawsuit says. Rocky Delgadillo became susceptible to a virus that caused dizziness and permanent damage to his health; the children suffered respiratory problems, required prescription drugs and caused them to miss an undue amount of school; and Michelle Delgadillo required breath tests, the lawsuit said.

Delgadillo’s traps or dogs killed dozens of rats, forcing family members to handle and dispose of the rodents, according to the lawsuit.

“In addition to directly observing the rodents, the Delgadillos observed evidence of the infestations in the form of gnawed and partially consumed food,” according to the lawsuit, which includes color photographs of dead rats in the family’s dog food and in one of the the bathrooms in the house.

“On another occasion, the Delgadillo children were awakened by the sound of a light fixture in their bathroom that had fallen over because the cords had been bitten by rats,” the lawsuit says.

Michelle Delgadillo spent hundreds of hours on the phone with JRealty, but the company did not take all necessary steps to correct the problems, according to the lawsuit.

The two parties reached a settlement agreement in February 2016 to reduce the rent for part of that year and were told by Marlborough’s attorney that the rats had been eradicated and the other problems properly repaired, according to the lawsuit.

However, the habitability problems worsened and the Delgadillos believed the settlement agreement was void, according to the lawsuit. The Delgadillos moved out in October 2019 and stayed temporarily in a hotel, never having received their $15,000 security deposit from Marlborough, according to the lawsuit.

Delgadillo served as the city’s attorney from July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2009.

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