A Portland woman is suing state Sen. Rod Monroe and C&R Real Estate Services for $3.2 million after she says a leaky roof at his East Portland apartment complex left a puddle on the floor of Red Rose Manor and she slipped in the water.
Areli Lopez says in her suit that property managers denied that the roof leaked when she asked about in during a June 2015 move-in inspection. She alleges that they in fact knew several shingles were missing and had received complaints about the leak from previous tenants.
Six months later, a small puddle formed in Lopez's apartment that she didn't notice until she slipped in it.
Lopez sued Monroe in Multnomah County Circuit Court this morning.
"No one's above the law," said Michael Fuller, Lopez's attorney. "Our client tried to avoid a lawsuit but her landlord refused to take responsibility. Now it's up to the jury to decide what's fair."
The lawsuit adds to a challenging week for Monroe, who has served in the Oregon Legislature on and off for the last 40 years. On Monday, former state Rep. Shemia Fagan announced she would run against Monroe in the 2018 Democratic primary, citing his opposition to renter protections.
Monroe, a Democrat, would have been the deciding vote on a bill to outlaw "no-cause" evictions—a practice he has said is useful for getting rid of problem tenants. The measure was slashed in committee before he had a chance to vote against it. He also opposed a rent control measure considered this year.
A spokeswoman for Monroe's office said it had not seen seen the lawsuit and could not immediately comment.
Monroe bought Red Rose Manor for $3.4 million in 2002. The blue-gray three-story apartment buildings along Northeast Glisan Street near 160th Avenue have been the site of other complaints lodged by tenants, including claims of untreated mold that led to two city citations last year.
Billie Monroe, the state senator's wife and spokesperson, told WW in February that Monroe addressed the mold problem by fixing the roof.
C&R Real Estate announced in April 2016 that it would be replacing all the roofs at Red Rose Manor.
Lopez says the 2015 fall left her disabled and unable to return to her job at Kaiser Permanente. She tore her meniscus, shifted her hip bone into the wrong position, and pinched a nerve in her back. She says she's been to the doctor more than 50 times since the fall, for x-rays, MRIs, CAT scans and a knee surgery to repair her torn ligament.
Lopez says she tried to address her complaint against Monroe and C&R Real Estate Services outside of court prior to filing her suit on Tuesday. But when she did, her lawsuit says they responded by "claiming the fall was caused by an act of God rather than by their own failure to repair the roof leak at the Red Rose Manor."