Justice For Displaced Tenants: Taking On Columbia Housing Authority

Allen Benedict Court apartments lawsuit

UPDATE: As mentioned in The State, the Proffitt & Cox, LLP law firm is currently gathering individual claims to be filed against the Columbia Housing Authority and several dozen former residents have already joined their fight against CHA.

Imagine being suddenly forced out of your home due to safety concerns, finding yourself burdened with escalating rental expenses and other unexpected costs, hassles, and problems resulting from the sudden loss of your home. That’s precisely the situation former tenants of Allen Benedict Court found themselves in after a mass evacuation due to carbon monoxide poisoning of two tenants and inspections of all apartments in 2019.

The Columbia Housing Authority (CHA) is now facing individual claims filed by these tenants. Proffitt & Cox, LLP is offering representation to all affected tenants and their household members. If you lived there, it’s crucial you understand your rights and take action promptly.

This article provides an overview of the lawsuit, who’s eligible for representation, and the legal process and deadlines. Remember, the deadline for negligence-based claims is March 14, 2025, and for other claims, it’s March 14, 2026, based on decisions by the US Supreme Court. Because claims can take time to prepare, negotiate, and file, it is important to reach out for legal help as soon as possible so that you do not miss these deadlines.

Justice is within your reach, and Proffitt & Cox, LLP is here to help you claim it.

Key Takeaways

  • Lawsuit filed against Columbia Housing Authority by Tammy L. Basinger and Khaylis C. Scott, representing displaced former tenants of Allen Benedict Court.
  • Mass evacuation of Allen Benedict Court due to carbon monoxide poisoning deaths and safety concerns.
  • Motion for Class Certification denied, requiring former tenants to pursue individual claims for damages.
  • Eligible for representation are all tenants and their household members as shown in the lease, with money damages sought for hotel stays and rental expense increases.

Lawsuit Background

You might remember that this lawsuit against Columbia Housing Authority came about after the mass evacuation of Allen Benedict Court on January 17-18, 2019, due to carbon monoxide poisoning and safety concerns.

Ms. Basinger and Ms. Scott, represented by Proffitt & Cox, LLP, initiated a class action lawsuit on behalf of all displaced tenants. After a thorough investigation, it was found that neglect in maintenance and repairs were the culprits behind this unfortunate incident. After the mass eviction of Allen Benedict Court residents, many were forced to move between hotels, live in cramped hotel rooms with multiple family members, worry about where their next meals would come from, and face constant and daily disruptions of work and school schedules and transportation arrangements. One woman told the Carolina News & Reporter that she had to give up her dog in addition to the stress of moving, lost wages, and being separated from her mother and daughter, who were both also Allen Benedict Court residents.

Unfortunately, the court denied the class action, meaning individual claims are now necessary. This is where you come in—by signing fee agreements, you can join the fight for justice and pursue compensation for your damages. Rest assured, Proffitt & Cox operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning you bear no financial risk unless we win.

Representation Eligibility

Let’s clarify who’s eligible for representation in this case against CHA. The legal representation requirements stipulate that former tenants and their family or household members listed on their lease at Allen Benedict Court as of January 2019 are eligible.

Adults can represent minor children in their household, and a personal representative of a deceased tenant’s estate can bring a claim.  If the minor is now an adult (over age 18), he or she will need to sign an individual fee agreement.

The implications of the class certification denial mean that you must pursue your individual claim. While this means more paperwork, it doesn’t mean you’re alone. Our firm is ready to step in and fight for your rights.

With us, there’s no financial risk, as our fees and expenses are only paid if we recover money for you. Don’t delay, contact Proffitt & Cox, LLP for more information.

Legal Process and Deadlines

Navigating the legal process can seem daunting, but we’re here to help guide you through every step.

Proffitt & Cox believes that, under applicable law, the statute of limitations for individual claims was on hold until the class certification was denied. For negligence-based claims, the deadline is now March 14, 2025, while other claims have until March 14, 2026.

Swift action is essential for representation. We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you bear no financial risk. Our fees and expenses are only paid if money is recovered, and they are the greater of 40% of the amount won or an amount approved by the Court pursuant to any statute, law, or regulation providing for payment of attorneys’ fees.. These fees are calculated before deducting costs.

Remember, justice is within your reach. Let’s work together to hold the Columbia Housing Authority accountable.

Reach out to us at (803) 834-7097 for any questions.

What rights do tenants have when they are displaced due to safety concerns or emergencies?

Just like a bird needs a nest, you need a safe home. Under South Carolina landlord-tenant laws and the common law, if you’re displaced due to safety emergencies, or deprived of the quiet enjoyment of your rented apartment, you have rights.

You may be eligible for payment to cover the time you spent in a hotel or other temporary housing, relocation expenses, and increases in your monthly rent in your new home. Don’t let this issue be swept under the rug.

The Columbia Housing Authority should have ensured that your living conditions meet the necessary safety standards and they failed. As a result, people were forced out of their homes without warming, some missed work, and others lost their lives. As a former resident, take action and stand up for your rights.

Join The Fight For Fair Compensation From CHA and Allen Benedict Court

Don’t let the clock tick away on claiming justice. Proffitt & Cox stands ready to champion your cause. You deserve compensation for the hardships you’ve endured. Let’s turn the tide on CHA’s negligence together. Get started today by scheduling a free consultation or calling us at 803-834-7097.

Ron Cox