Andrew White, a former BYU student, has settled a highly publicized eviction lawsuit. White was evicted from his Provo apartment complex after his landlord claimed that he violated policies in his lease along with BYU’s code of honor and residential living standards. White, who is gay, allegedly had a dispute with his roommates over food which eventually led to them kicking him out of the house. His roommates allegedly turned against him after he admitted that he was gay and professed his adoration for one of his fellow apartment tenants.
White was evicted from his apartment in the Village at South Campus in Provo on January 23. The eviction occurred 10 days after the conflict with his three male roommates. Court documents show that the altercation included gay slurs directed at White. It eventually led to a physical fight that left White with a couple of bruised ribs.
White subsequently filed a lawsuit on March 19 based on landlord-tenant law and did not actually claim that he had been victimized by the apartment complex due to his sexual preference. White’s suit named the apartment complex’s owner, Peak Joaquin Holdings, LLC, as the lone defendant. The apartment complex is approved by BYU, so tenants are supposed to adhere to the university’s moral code. While it can be argued that White’s behavior does not mimic the religious principles of the university’s owner, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, his argument was strong enough to force the defendant’s hand.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Yet White demanded damages in excess of $100,000, so it is believed that he emerged from the conflict with a sizable lawsuit settlement payment. White demanded such a large sum in order to pay for his relocation costs, damages, the repair and replacement of personal belongings and compensation for stress, fear and anxiety that he has endured since his eviction from the Village at South Campus.
Lawsuit settlement cases like White’s are quite common as most defendants would rather settle in order to avoid the costs, time commitment and risks associated with retaining legal counsel and proceeding through court hearings, testimony and so on.