Camden woman sues former landlord for wrongful eviction, keeping security deposit
Rockland — A 92-year-old Camden woman is suing her former landlord, claiming he wrongfully evicted her while she was hospitalized, and then kept a security deposit for illegitimate reasons.
Gabriele Simonson filed a civil case in December against Joseph Goudreau, owner and operator of Camden Hills Villa Inc., seeking restoration of a $2,000 security deposit, and an additional doubling of the fee as allowed by state law if it is kept illegally, a total of $4,000.
She is also entitled to a month's rent of $2,500 by law, as Goudreau is accused of not keeping her money in a segregated account, said the suit.
The total amount of money she is requesting is about $8,000.
Simonson further requests the court order her legal fees be paid by the defendant.
The plaintiff is represented by Camden attorney Christopher MacLean.
Camden Hills Villa Inc., is a full service retirement inn on Mechanic Street, and Simonson agreed to rent a room on a monthly basis for $2,500 per month. She paid for an apartment from February 2012 to March 2013. Goudreau requested she deposit an additional $100 to cover incidental expenses, which were not used for the benefit of the plaintiff, according to the suit.
In February 2013, Simonson was hospitalized and told by hospital staff, through Goudreau, she would not be allowed to return to her apartment. The defendant did not pursue formal eviction proceedings, said court documents.
During a meeting with Simonson's son, Goudreau agreed to return the security deposit, but never followed through, said court papers.
Goudreau also did not disclose the institution or account number of where the plaintiff's money was held after he was made aware Simonson was intending to sue him.
According to the suit, landlords are required to provide, in writing, the reason why they are withholding a security deposit, including itemized deductions, within 21 days of the eviction or termination of tenancy. If this is not done, the landlord loses his right to keep the money, according to the suit.
Wrongfully withholding the money subjects the landlord to pay double the amount of the security deposit, along with attorney's fees, said the suit.
In a response and counterclaim filed Jan. 28, the defendant said he did not inform Simonson she could not return to her apartment, and said there was no security deposit made. Goudreau further requests the court to dismiss the plaintiff's claims.
Goudreau, through his counsel Darby C. Urey, said Simonson caused extensive damage to the apartment she rented from February 2012 to March 2013. The counterclaim states the inn paid an extensive amount of money to repair the damage, the amount to be established at a trial, and asks the court to provide appropriate relief, said court papers.
Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.