April 30, 2015
Venera Mendoza-Baez, an Armenian-American who speaks Russian, took in two middle-aged Russian immigrants, Gennady and Zina. In February 2015, she successfully received restraining order against her tenants. In October 2014, Mendoza-Baez had tried to evict Gennady and Zina, but was threatened with lawsuits, along with harassment and creating a nuisance.
Gennady and Zina were previously reported by LA Weekly as having filed 40 lawsuits against various targets: neighborhood bakers, tailors, and the DMV. Gennady Dolzhenko had been declared a “vexatious litigant” in 2012 by Judge Daniel J. Buckley. The Dolzhenkos sued the Weekly for libel and invasion of privacy for a cover story featuring their history.
Jessie Kornberg, CEO of Bet Tzedek, is working with the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to represent “as many as five of the small businesses or individual defendants.” The case against Mendoza-Baez is continuing with Zina as the plaintiff, represented by Ronald Tym.
Organizations mentioned/involved: Bet Tzedek Legal Services