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Church Hill House Drops Suit Against Watchdog Tenant



A subsidized senior-living facility has dropped an eviction suit initiated after marijuana was found in the apartment of a resident who frequently criticizes its management.

Esau Miller, who is blind, has lived in Church Hill House since 1992. He suffers from glaucoma and carries a note in his wallet from his ophthalmologist explaining that the drug helps control the pressure in his eyes. Miller says the note has been on file with the building since 2002, though management officials would not confirm it.

Miller sees the eviction attempt as retribution for his years of drawing the attention of news media and government officials to safety concerns at the building, especially after two residents were killed there in separate incidents in 2006.

Megan Rahman, a Troutman Sanders lawyer who represented Church Hill House, argued at trial that the federal government, which partly subsidizes Miller's rent, has a zero-tolerance policy on drug use. The complex won the eviction case in Richmond General District Court in November.

Miller's lawyer appealed the decision and was set to go to trial in February. Rahman would not comment on why her client dropped the case.

“I knew God was going to make a way,” Miller says.

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