CRLA helps senior woman keep her home of 50 years

At four feet, nine inches tall, maybe 89 pounds, and more than 80 years old, Sara's strength is not immediately visible. But Sara calls herself a guerrera pequeña, a little warrior. When she came to the CRLA Marysville office with her daughters seeking support, she was trying to understand why someone would want to kick her out of the home she had lived in for 50 years, the home her husband had built by hand.

Sara has lived in Arbuckle, a small jog in the I-5 between Woodland and Williams north of Sacramento, for more than 60 years. Since she followed her husband there from Mexico, Sara has spent her 12-15 hour workdays picking walnuts for $2 a sack, at 10 sacks a day, while looking after four children. The couple was eventually able to buy a piece of land, where Sara's husband began building their house.

Over the decades, the house had various small loans taken out against it, and when Sara's husband passed away, the payments became more difficult for Sara to make each month. Seeking a loan that she hoped would help her stay in her home for the rest of her life, Sara found someone who promised that all she had to do was sign these papers and she wouldn't have to worry about it. But the loan she'd been wrangled into left her owing more money, at a higher interest rate, and with exorbitant fees. It was not long until she was in danger of losing everything.

When Sara made her way to CRLA's Marysville office, staffers Sonia Garibay, Preet Kaur, and Austa Wakily dug in, tore through the paperwork, prepared documents, and interviewed witnesses. CRLA filed the complaint just short of the three-year anniversary of when Sara got her bad loan.

In a legal battle involving attempts by the defense to delay the case, CRLA countered each defense move the old-fashioned way: with smart lawyering and diligent work.

Once the defense realized they were out-maneuvered, the settlement came quickly, which had been important to Sara - she didn't want to spend her remaining years in the house she helped build locked in a legal battle over her right to be there.

Although the terms of the settlement are confidential, the matter was settled on a basis mutually agreeable to both parties. In addition to the equitable remedy of rescission, CRLA was able to recover our costs and a small amount of fees.

Most important, Sara is now able to spend her last years living in the home she and her loved ones built, at peace, and looking back on the remarkable life she's led. She also reads fortunes, so the next time you are passing through Arbuckle, get off the freeway and see what this guerrera pequeña has to say about your future.


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