By now many have heard the case of Diane Stretton – the alleged squatter nanny that was fired from her live-in job, then refused to leave the home – even going as far as to eat the family’s food from their refrigerator. Reaction across the Internet is equally as bizarre with some going as far as to side with Stretton stating the family is served right for having used Craig’s List to locate the nanny and not having used a service to vet their nanny requirements.
The family has shared with various news outlets their story for good reason. They want to help others avoid their fate as Stretton (age 64), has a track record of disputes that wind up in court with judgments against her. In fact Stretton’s 36 case history has landed her on California’s Vexatious Litigant List. It’s a list with no legal ramifications other than to exist and serve as warning that the people on it bring legal action against others continuously, regardless of merit, with no other purpose but harassment.
Stretton was hired by Ralph and Marcella Bracamonte of Upland California as a live-in nanny via Craig’s List in March 2014. The couple live in a subdivision with their three children all under the age of 12. Stretton was ultimately fired. Upon termination she refused the leave the family’s home. The Bracomonte family did what any law abiding citizen would do and called the police only to learn that with Stretton taking up residence through a work agreement the family had entered into a landlord tenant dispute.
Without getting into the horror this involves for landlords, consider watching the film Pacific Heights with Michael Keaton as a primer.
With Stretton refusing to leave the home for any reason, creative thinkers have offered solutions like removing the family’s food from the home which could possibly force the squatter to leave. In a morning news segment on ABC’s Good Morning America, Marcella Bracamonte showed Internet trolls she was one step ahead of them, she has a lock on the refrigerator. “I’m not going to let her eat my food.”
Research into Stretton’s past with the courts has revealed she is not only comfortable with court procedures, but she also knows some legalese.
While Stretton appears to be gaming the legal system by refusing to leave a home she’s not even a part of, she has in fact attempted to game the court itself. In a case judgment decided against her, she represented herself facing a storage facility (foreclosure of lien D061822) which originated in 2009. Records show the court was peppered with time wasting requests and appeals and an undue burden on the storage facility by forcing their use of a law firm to cope with Stretton. That case began due to late storage facility payments totaling over $26,000.00.
In response, Stretton filed a cross complaint for:
- Failure to perform
- Breach of implied covenant of good fate and fair dealing
- Promissory estoppel
- Unjust enrichment
- Emotional Distress
Stretton sought over $57,000 in damages against the storage facility.
Stretton lost the case but her involvement in the legal system ultimately emboldened her. She’s learned a lot over 36 cases throughout Southern California.
If Stretton planned to trick her employers into a ‘landlord-tenant’ agreement through employment remains to be seen, however in her previous case with the storage facility she was able to stretch the case out with over two years in delays with a litany of motions and requests for continuance.
The Bracamonte family cannot force her out of their home due to the nature of the offense making this a civil case. She’s done nothing wrong criminally. If perhaps the children in the family were thought to be in any harm’s way, the family could file for a protection order which then would remove Stretton from the home.
Stretton’s pattern of frivolous motions indicate the Bracamontes are in for a long haul. Marcella Bracamonte appears to prepared for that fight. She requested on Facebook for friends to come over and stay the night and crowd out Stretton. Could this all be over so soon? Marcella has said Stretton, “hasn’t come back to the home since yesterday (Thursday June 26th 2014) morning around 5 a.m.”
If she does return the eviction process takes months, Marcella has indicated on her Facebook page she’s in search of an attorney – an indicator that Stretton has not yet played her last card. “Anyone who looks at her crooked, she sues, “ says Marcella Bracamonte.