A D.C. Superior Court judge refused yesterday to issue a preliminary injunction ordering the District government to continue providing heat and hot water in two of its public housing projects.
Judge Tim Murphy, in a written opinion, agreed with attorneys for the District that the city could not be ordered to do what it was already doing--providing heat and hot water to the projects, Greenleaf Gardens in Southwest and Stanton Dwellings in Southeast.
An attorney who represents seven tenants, who two weeks ago successfully obtained a temporary restraining order requiring the city to provide heating services, had argued before Murphy on Friday that city officials "only respond to lawsuits to make them fulfill their obligations under the law. Only a continued restraining order will force the city to comply in this case."
Murphy disagreed. He said he had recently served in Landlord-Tenant Court. There, he said, he heard a number of cases involving lack of heat and hot water in public housing, and that city officials had testified that during January they had placed more than 4,000 heaters in various units. He said he found city efforts to restore heat and hot water to the seven tenants "commendable."