San Francisco and UC Hastings Announce Settlement Agreement Regarding Tenderloin in Lawsuit Filed by Greenberg Gross LLP

June 12, 2020

LOS ANGELES (June 12, 2020) – San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed and UC Hastings Law today announced that the City of San Francisco and UC Hastings and its co-plaintiffs Fallon Victoria, Rene Denis, Randy Hughes, Kristen Villalobos, and the Tenderloin Merchants and Property Owners Association have reached a settlement agreement in the form of a stipulated injunction regarding conditions in the Tenderloin with an ambitious plan to dramatically improve them going forward.
Representing the six plaintiffs, Greenberg Gross LLP filed suit on May 4, 2020, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against the City and County of San Francisco seeking to remedy the Tenderloin’s dangerously crowded sidewalks and to provide safe and sanitary shelter for the unhoused people who have been camping there in escalating numbers since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Greenberg Gross Partner Deborah S. Mallgrave said, “We hope this agreement will lead to vastly improving conditions in the Tenderloin, a proud area of San Francisco that for too long has been a dangerous place for residents and visitors. In particular, we believe this settlement agreement will make the Tenderloin a safer place for the approximately 3,000 children who call it home.” Mallgrave chairs the firm’s Sexual Abuse and Human Trafficking Litigation practice and is president of Orange County’s Public Law Center, which provides pro-bono access to justice for low-income populations.
In bringing the lawsuit, Greenberg Gross’s clients sought to require City and County officials to enforce state and federal laws in the same manner as those laws are enforced in other San Francisco neighborhoods, and allow for free passage on Tenderloin sidewalks for all people. This case called upon the power of the federal court to bring city decisionmakers and Tenderloin stakeholders together to solve the safety and public health problems that have long plagued the Tenderloin.
A fundamental principle of the settlement agreement is the shared goal of improving the livability of the Tenderloin community and promoting a healthy and vibrant neighborhood for all of its residents, including the housed and unhoused, visitors, employees, employers, shoppers, and people with disabilities. The problems facing the Tenderloin are substantial, long-standing, and not easily solved and all parties recognize that the COVID-19 crisis has created additional challenges to achieving the shared goal.
The agreement stipulates that by July 20, 2020, the City will remove up to 300 tents and encampments representing approximately 70% of those inventoried in a June 5, 2020 census. Occupants of the tents will be relocated to shelter-in-place hotel rooms, safe sleeping villages outside the Tenderloin, or off-street sites such as parking lots in the Tenderloin. The City will then work to ensure that former encampment sites do not become re-encamped. The City will continue offering free COVID-19 testing to all residents in the Tenderloin during the duration of the pandemic.
After July 20, 2020, the City of San Francisco will make all reasonable efforts to achieve the shared goal of permanently reducing the number of tents to zero, along with encamping materials and related personal property. For the proposed settlement to become final, it must be approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
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Deborah S. Mallgrave