State Court Orders Publishing of Birkner v. Lam Opinion

San Francisco Apartment Association

On October 22, 2007, the Court of Appeal of the State of California issued an order publishing the opinion in Birkner v. Lam. This decision can now be used by property owners as a defense against tenant lawsuits.

The San Francisco Apartment Association’s attorney had submitted a letter brief to the Court of Appeal asking that this decision be published. The Court of Appeal granted this request to publish the case, which means that this case can now be used as legal authority in the State of California.

Birkner v. Lam involves a wrongful eviction lawsuit brought by San Francisco tenants who sued their landlord for serving an owner move-in eviction notice, and then failing to withdraw it after the tenants asserted that they were protected from eviction because of their age/disability and length of tenancy. The trial court found that the owner’s conduct was not protected speech. The Court of Appeal disagreed, holding that service of an eviction notice, as a necessary prerequisite for an eviction action, constitutes activity in furtherance of the constitutionally protected right to petition the courts.

The SFAA, in conjunction with the Small Property Owner’s Association, asked the Court of Appeal to certify this case for publication so that it could be cited in court briefs and relied upon by other litigants.

“Thank you to all of the contributors to the SFAA Legal Fund,” said Janan New, SFAA executive director. “Without your support these important court victories would not be possible.”

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