August 31, 2017
ArchCity Defenders filed a lawsuit on behalf of clients Shontell Davis and Obadiah Lee who were illegally locked-out of their home and repeatedly threatened with violence and unlawful eviction by their landlords. The lawsuit seeks to hold defendants Reggie Williams and Kim Franklin accountable in court for violating Ms. Davis’ and Mr. Lee’s rights as tenants to safe, habitable housing.
A court hearing is scheduled today at 3:00pm in Division 18 of the City of St. Louis Circuit Courts, located at 10 N Tucker Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63101.
“I don’t want to be homeless with my son. I pray we get into something stable and that next go round, we don’t have to mess with a landlord like this,” said Ms. Davis, ArchCity Defenders Plaintiff and Client. “There is a lack of safe houses in St. Louis. I feel like everybody needs to come forward and say something, everyone has a voice.”
It is the sole wish of tenants Ms. Davis and Mr. Lee to raise their newborn son and build a loving home in a safe, habitable residence in the City of St. Louis. Due to a lack of affordable housing in the region, Ms. Davis and Mr. Lee have navigated stressful and dangerous situations caused by the landlords.
The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Williams illegally locked-out Ms. Davis and Mr. Lee and other tenants on Sunday evening, prompting a call to the police who used bolt cutters so that residents could gain entry into their own home. The next day, tenants were blocked from entering and exiting through the front door because plywood boards were screwed to the exterior and interior door frame of the front of the house.
Across the region, poor families and families of color, as well as people with disabilities are at increased risk of illegal lockouts, an unlawful method of eviction that consists of a landlord changing or removing locks on the door, boarding up doors or windows, removing a tenant’s possessions, terminating utility services, or otherwise making a tenant’s home uninhabitable to force a tenant to vacate the premises.
Since the illegal lockouts take place outside of the legal process, there is no comprehensive mechanism for tracking where, when, and how frequently they occur. Many cases are not reported.
A link to the litigation on file is available: