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March 27, 2024

Somerset County, Md. - In a resounding victory for tenant rights, Maryland Legal Aid secured a summary judgment and sanctions against Mt Vernon Group, LLC (MVG) and Eric Sessoms in a lawsuit trailing unlicensed property rental activities. 

The properties rented to Jessica Truitt and Carol Vance were found to have substantial safety and code violations. This rendered them ineligible for rental licensing and led to the Court ruling that MVG and Mr. Sessoms were accountable for violating four of the five counts drawn out in Truitt and Vance's complaint. 

The violations involved illegal security deposit charges, lack of lawful receipt for the security deposit, infringement of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act via unfair and deceptive trade practices, and violation of the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act by wrongfully attempting to collect non-existent debts. 

In addition, the Court sanctioned the defendants for failing to comply with their duty to produce evidence. 

This significant outcome underscores Maryland Legal Aid's unwavering commitment to renters' rights and the safety of tenants across the state. It sends a strong message to those who neglect property standards and bypass licensing regulations that such behavior will not be tolerated. 

The battle is not over yet. A two-day jury trial is scheduled for May 9, 2024. The jury will then decide on the appropriate compensation for Ms. Truitt and Ms. Vance based on the violations committed by MVG and Mr. Sessoms. 

As Maryland Legal Aid continues to champion fair and lawful housing practices, this legal triumph marks a substantial step forward in the right direction.