At the onset of the pandemic, one family–“Andrew,” “Melissa,” and their newborn son, “Michael”–was living in a motel that had been their home for almost a year. Andrew was working long hours in his truck, helping the drivers of broken-down cars on the Garden State Parkway. Melissa, who suffered from lupus and cared for Michael, also tried to make ends meet by cleaning rooms in the motel, but the landlord stopped paying her after COVID-19 hit and vacancies at the motel soared. The family had nowhere else to go.
Their landlord, the motel owner, started trying to force them out. Even though the eviction moratorium protects long-term motel residents like this family, the landlord taped an illegal eviction notice on their door. Next, the landlord shut off the air-conditioning as the summer days grew hotter, threatening Melissa’s life, given the respiratory problems associated with her illness. Then the landlord cut off power to their stove, which they needed to feed their family.
Through remote filings and hearings, we obtained a temporary restraining order and subsequent injunction to defend this struggling family and keep them safe in their home. To this day, we continue to battle the motel owner and its ever-changing attempts to force this family out.