Kofi Ross Minor first sought assistance from Legal Aid in 2018 when her landlord filed a case against her alleging that she was behind on her rent, and that she had violated the obligations of her tenancy by consistently paying her rent late.
With the assistance of Legal Aid attorney Matt Boucher, Ms. Ross Minor filed an answer and jury demand asserting several defenses including significant housing code violations in her unit. After several court appearances, Matt filed a motion for summary judgment on her behalf. The judge granted it and dismissed the landlord’s claims. However, because of the way the judge dismissed the claims, the landlord was permitted to re-file the nonpayment of rent case.
“But at the end of the day [Matt was] always honoring what my choice was and always making sure that I was clear and that I understood what I was getting into," Ms. Minor said. "The way that he helped me, I couldn’t even quantify how helpful he was, how patient, how he made sure to explain everything, so that everything was super transparent. Yeah, it’s been a great experience.”
The landlord did just that a few months later, and Matt agreed to represent Ms. Ross Minor again. The case ultimately went on for almost two years, and Ms. Ross Minor’s rental balance grew significantly during that time. The landlord filed numerous motions to try to get the upper hand, and even asked the Court to take away Ms. Ross Minor’s right to a jury trial. After many contested court hearings, the Court denied all of the landlord’s various motions.
“I just remember my son and daughter jokingly talking about him like he was a member of the family," Ms. Minor said. "They’d be like ‘oh Mr. Boucher is on the phone’ and that was a call you’d always take.”
As Ms. Ross Minor’s case got closer to trial, she and Matt worked hard to prepare and file necessary motions. Then, her trial date was delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the delay, Ms. Ross Minor’s landlord received a significant Housing Stabilization Grant from the government that eliminated a lot of her rental balance. Ultimately, Matt helped Ms. Ross Minor negotiate an agreement with the landlord that allows her and her children to keep their home, and even to receive a refund of some of the money she paid into the court registry due to the housing conditions she had to endure.