STUDIO CITY—On Wednesday, December 22, a Van Nuys jury voted 6-2 in favor of the plaintiff in an eviction case against Leonard Buschel, founder and chairman of the non-profit addiction-treatment organization Writers in Treatment. The trial had begun the day before on Tuesday. The verdict in the case requires Buschel to leave his Studio City residence on 12059 Hoffman St. by January 14, along with his five-pound certified assistance chihuahua, Goliath.
The plaintiff in the case, landlord and owner of Hoffman Plaza Lynn Tollakson, alleged that Leonard was a “bad tenant,” and disapproved of the conditions of the apartment, in addition to how Buschel used the residence, which included holding 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous meetings once a week for four months earlier this year. The plaintiff also cited eight late rent payments.

Leonard contended that he was an “excellent tenant” in his three years living at the residence, and had successfully paid Tollakson approximately $61,000 in rent fees during his tenure. In her testimony, Tollakson confided that there had been no complaints about either Buschel or his assistance dog.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and HUD are currently investigating the matter for possible discrimination charges against Tollakson. Buschel suffers from depression, which he says was triggered by open heart surgery he had years ago.
“When the trial was over, the judge told the jury they were now free to discuss the case with their friends, family, husbands (it was an all-woman jury), clergy and therapists, [and] the jury giggled at the word ‘therapist,'” explained Buschel to Canyon News.

Writers in Treatment seeks to help writers who are suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction, and other self-destructive behaviors. The organization serves adults over 18 years of age who earn a majority of their income from writing.

Goliath, Buschel’s certified assistance dog, is a recipient of the Canine Good Citizen Award from the American Kennel Club in Washington D.C.

“The dog lost. He’s going to need a new home,” said Buschel on the outcome of the trial.