A Los Angeles Superior Court judge brought an end Thursday to a restraint-of-trade lawsuit against the owners of the Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar and a Van Nuys mobile-home dealer by approving a $1-million cash settlement for 157 tenants of the park.
Under the settlement approved by Judge Christian E. Markey Jr., tenants who filed and remained plaintiffs in the class-action suit would receive no rent increases for two years and annual increases after that would be limited to 6%.
Tenants alleged in the 2-year-old suit that the park's owners made an illegal agreement with Fuller-Western Sales Inc. of Van Nuys, the mobile-home dealer, to shut other dealers out of the park and force incoming tenants to buy from Fuller-Western exclusively. The tenants alleged that the prices they had to pay for the homes were unusually high.
Oakridge is owned by a network of companies and partnerships overseen by the La Habra-based Continental Mobile Housing Inc. The company's attorneys argued that the exclusive sales arrangement was designed to make sure that Oakridge homes were sold by a trustworthy dealer.
Originally, tenants occupying all of Oakridge's 331 lots were named as plaintiffs in the suit. But 174 dropped out before the settlement was reached in exchange for rent concessions from management.
A hearing was scheduled Thursday to give the homeowners remaining in the suit a chance to object to the terms of the settlement. Steve Ruben, the Los Angeles attorney representing the plaintiffs, said after the hearing that his clients had voiced no objections.