Vedder Price

Vedder Thinking | News Vedder Price Secures $1.18 Million Attorneys’ Fees Settlement from City and County of San Francisco

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Vedder Price obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of its clients, Melvin Lee, former San Francisco Redevelopment Agency commissioner, and Teresa Wong, owners of The Avenue Assisted Living. 

The settlement, totaling $1.18 million, marks a successful conclusion to a multi -year litigation in which the City and County of San Francisco and the People of the State of California sought over $8 million in contract damages and penalties for alleged unfair acts for denying housing to needy seniors. In addition to a monetary award, the City sought an order requiring the sale of The Avenue, which the City valued at $45 million.

Following an August 2022 bench trial, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow, found in favor of Vedder Price's clients on claims that they had failed to provide affordable housing to low-income seniors, concluding that “there is no substantial evidence defendants turned any eligible person away.” Following this ruling, the Vedder Price litigation team sought to recover attorneys’ fees and costs for its clients.  

Following the filing of its motion to be determined the prevailing party, Vedder Price reached a settlement with the City that resulted in the City and County of San Francisco agreeing to pay $825,000 in cash to Mr. Lee and Ms. Wong, and to waive $355,200 in penalties for building code violations. Notably, the City also waived any appeals to the San Francisco Superior Court's bench trial ruling. 

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the settlement, which San Francisco Mayor London Breed authorized on May 19, 2023.

"We are pleased to have reached a favorable resolution on behalf of our clients, Mr. Lee and Ms. Wong, who can now move forward from this protracted litigation," stated Michelle Landry, a Shareholder at Vedder Price and leader of the trial team. "This outcome represents an important vindication for Mr. Lee and Ms. Wong who faced accusations that they were denying affordable care to needy seniors and the potential loss of their business."

In addition to Michelle Landry, the Vedder Price litigation team included attorneys Mindy Wong and Peter Walrod.


Michelle L. Landry


Mindy M. Wong


Peter D. Walrod