As if personal injury lawyers need more bad press? But maybe Harry C. Arthur is one of those types that thinks there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Well tis’ the season and some will call him Scrooge for suing Houston’s Christ Church Cathedral Health & Outreach Ministries (CHOM). Christ Church operates The Beacon, also a defendant and which as a day center and soup kitchen feeds the homeless. It’s part of the church’s mission “to respect the human dignity of the poor and improve their lives.”
Arthur owns a building across the street from The Beacon. He deems it a public nuisance that the homeless gather around the soup kitchen to eat from Friday to Monday. Why? It’s because Arthur’s law office is in the same building and he contends the homeless scare his tenants and clients and hurt his property values. This is why he wants a permanent injunction and $250,000 in damages for lost rentals and depreciated value.
Acting like Scrooge or a reasonable landlord?
But is Arthur acting like Scrooge? After all, it’s his contention that neither his life or dignity or that of his tenants is improved by the soup kitchen’s operations. His mission is to change that.
Harry’s Complaint filed last month in Harris County District Court alleges
Vagrancy here and there.
I grew up in East Los Angeles and one man’s derelict is another man’s neighborhood local. (Many years ago, I frequented a cafe and one day
In rural Nevada, vagrants were around but generally few and far between. But in America’s 5th largest city, the derelicts abound. And like Arthur’s situation in Houston, they sometimes find themselves around law offices.
Now that’s not to say they purposefully hang around lawyers. It’s because like Harry C. Arthur, lawyers hang their shingles almost anywhere and sometimes in less than desirable areas.
Are the rents cheap? Are the traffic counts high? Are the courts close? I could tell of unbelievable places where I’ve seen law offices but then that’s for another blog post.
While looking for office space in downtown Phoenix earlier this year, I found a vagrant asleep under a carport behind a beautifully restored historic building with vacant small office space. Truth is the entire building was unoccupied and the area was seedy but improving.
A next-door neighbor got happily excited when she saw me walking around the building. She was convinced a tenant – – – any tenant who’d occupy the building would inhibit derelicts from loitering, sleeping and urinating around the building. “Great!, I thought. “I can be a tenant and a parking lot monitor! Plus I can pay the landlord over $1,300 for the privilege.” Then a lawyer friend with office space a few miles east told me that chasing the homeless out of the lobby of their building was a regular occurrence.
Not in my backyard.