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Subject: JUDGE JUDY stomps RUBBISH DEFENCE by California CONDO BOARD caught SLAM-DUNKING owner prerogative
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BobD4
(up north)

Posts:957


06/12/2021 6:26 AM  
https://ontario.cafcor.org/index.php?option=com_fireboard&Itemid=46&func=view&catid=11&id=19235#19235
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1614


06/13/2021 8:47 AM  
Posted By BobD4 on 06/12/2021 6:26 AM
https://ontario.cafcor.org/index.php?option=com_fireboard&Itemid=46&func=view&catid=11&id=19235#19235



A Judge Judy story. That has a lot of validity. I would rake her up with Jerry Springer.
AugustinD


Posts:1937


06/13/2021 9:33 AM  
From Bob's commentary and another person's commentary on the net, re Judge Judy Season 25 Episode 176 COA segment, aired on CBS Thursday, June 3, 2021:

The dispute is between a small California condo association, something like 23 to 29 units (I cannot tell) and two members. The COA CC&Rs say that replacement of exterior windows and doors for each unit is up to each condo owner. Despite this, the condo board arranged for a membership vote for a $10k per unit special assessment, to replace the doors and windows. Eighteen of the 23 units (or 29 units?) voted for the special assessment. From California Civil Code 5605: A board may not impose special assessments which in the aggregate exceed 5 percent of the budgeted gross expenses of the association for that fiscal year without the approval of a majority of a quorum of members, pursuant to Section 4070, at a member meeting or election. Hence as far as Civil Code 5605 is concerned, the special assessment vote was appropriate. But the issue of whether the covenant, regarding who is responsible for the doors and windows, is being violated looms.

After the vote for the Special Assessment, two COA members hired attorneys. The COA members' attorneys argued to the Board that the assessment was not lawful, on account of the covenant stating that window and door replacement is up to each owner. The two COA members paid around $3,300 for their attorneys to fight the COA.

The COA attorney eventually told the board it was violating the covenants. The Board backed down.

The two COA members wanted Judge Judy to order the COA to pay for their attorney fees. Judge Judy ruled thusly for the plaintiff COA members.

At the same time, the defendant COA wanted the two COA members to pay for the COA's attorney fees. Judge Judy said no.

AugustinD comment:
I doubt the COA's covenants state that either COA members or the COA may recover their respective attorney fees when the main issues of a dispute are settled outside of court. I speculate that the two sides here agreed to present their arguments on this "reality" TV court show in the hopes of recovering their respective attorney fees. Else I doubt either side would have pursued their respective positions in a real court of law. I further speculate that Judge Judy's decisions are some kind of arbitration to which the COA board can lawfully agree.

It appears to me the show is far from legal reality but does touch on important legal issues, like following the dam-ed covenants.
BobD4
(up north)

Posts:957


06/13/2021 10:22 AM  
Yes, she's an exploding barbeque.

Take away her gross disrespect, her inquisitorial-style arbitration is not much different from thousands of small claims court jurisdictions & traffic courts & arraignment courts. And maybe even some tribunals & mid-level appellate courtrooms ? ( May the Gods help us ! )

But sometimes the arbitration is right on the legal button.

The applicant investor owners may simply hate any expense.

But 3 lawyers including JJ agreed that replacing UNIT-DEDICATED windows is here-Declarationed to be solely a decision /CONSENT process for each unit owner.

What the Board gets caught doing, is willfully or ignorantly violating this older Declaration by stubbornly slam-dunking a unit-by unit "CONSENT" into a YES-NO VOTE. That's a vote on REPLACING EVERY WINDOW in the complex.

The issue for JJ is whether to award to the applicant owners their legal bill for a warning that at least triggered the stubborn Board to get counsel.

That counsel next confirmed the violation, but the Board still refuses to pay the owners' bill. . . .

The episode appears to have become available for a fee at Yidio.com as Episode 176 ( June 3/21) . And possibly others. This is not an endorsement.

AugustinD


Posts:1937


06/13/2021 10:41 AM  
I am not going to sign up for yidio.com.

My summary was from Bob's link and https://forums.primetimer.com/topic/4784-all-episodes-talk-all-rise/page/494/

What the Board gets caught doing, is willfully or ignorantly violating this older Declaration by stubbornly slam-dunking a unit-by unit "CONSENT" into a YES-NO VOTE.
So far my impression is that the only membership vote that was done was for a Special Assessment. But you saw the episode and likely are catching things I cannot.
That counsel next confirmed the violation, but the Board still refuses to pay the owners' bill.
If I were on this board (or more likely, the board that replaced the board that violated the covenants), then I believe I would have voted to refuse to pay the owners' attorney fees at least until the two members filed in court (to attempt recovery of the fees). Why? Because I do not think the covenants authorize the COA to pay their bill. It sets a terrible precedent for a board to just agree out of hand to pay the attorney's fees of a couple of members.

I am not really clear on why the Board would agree to this arbitration. Then again, from the additional description of the exchange before Judge/Arbitrator Judy, the directors sound fairly incompetent.

I do not have a problem with Judge Judy's style. Granted I think I have watched maybe two episodes in my life. I agree she is likely a fine arbitrator in general. Based on googling, Judge Judy's show is actual arbitration. It is reality.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11667


06/13/2021 10:52 AM  
It appears the two owners that sued the association were ruled to be correct. That said, how would/should they recover their expenses?
BobD4
(up north)

Posts:957


06/13/2021 3:17 PM  
Thank you for the 3 excellent sets of comments.

About the above :

1 - Relevantly, the plaintiff owners incurred a civil loss or expense to correctly defend their property rights.

The Board - instead of initially paying the bill quietly after being corrected by their own counsel - credibly could have treated such like any other civil wrong by the corporation.

( Such as a direct employee spray-painting metal railings immediately upwind of the parking area. Or tossing a hammer casually down from a ladder into a crowded lobby ).

The Board's own counsel perhaps could have provided a recommendation to the Board to just pay the owners legal bill & get a confidential release. But the Board did not quietly settle.

2 - The Board next found itself sued. It agreed to redirect into arbitration under whatever terms.

3 - These self-represented plaintiffs - despite not having English as a first language - were thoroughly organized. Knew the factuals forward & backwards. Knew exactly "where to go" with submissions when directed by Judge Judy ( And upfront had to smarts to get competent counsel as to the Declaration violation ).

One of the senior Directors at best was "disorganized".

The other clung to an argument that actually meant : " we didn't know our butts from a hole in the ground" . So therefore there was a 'mis-understanding' ! So therefor the Board's unilateral 'mis-understanding' is shielded as Business Judgement or a reasonable range of decision-making by a specialized body that is not in palpable over-riding error."

( Problem : three lawyers including Judge Judy, saw that violating the Declaration was not only incorrect/ error of law but an unreasonable series of choices )

4 - About the winners' actioning their award, I don't know California law nor what the parties agreed to with CBS.

Some jurisdictions like mine, allow transforming arbitral awards or tribunal awards effectively into civil court orders just by registration with court registrars.

Thereafter judgment debtor process & even contempt of court remedies can instill some fear.

Two Canadian jurisdictions including my own, have created Tribunals for some disputes involving statutory shared ownership communities & records access.

It is common that such Tribunal Orders are being worded to specifically authorize a successful Applicant owner to withhold their own periodic contributions, up to the amount of awards defiantly withheld by Boards.

Thanks for the comments.
AugustinD


Posts:1937


06/13/2021 3:33 PM  
Posted By BobD4 on 06/13/2021 3:17 PM
1 - Relevantly, the plaintiff owners incurred a civil loss or expense to correctly defend their property rights. The Board - instead of initially paying the bill quietly after being corrected by their own counsel - credibly could have treated such like any other civil wrong by the corporation.
[amused and meant friendily] I don't think so. This is not Canada.

The Board's own counsel perhaps could have provided a recommendation to the Board to just pay the owners legal bill & get a confidential release.
If the plaintiffs had threatened to take the attorney fees dispute to the court, then yes, I can see this. But ya know, unless there's a statute or contract that says the loser pay's the winner's attorney fees, in the U. S. the custom is for each side to pay their own attorney's fees. Then again California statutes might have been nudging the plaintiff HOA members to arbitration on the point. The interested reader may wish to read https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Attorneys-Fees
BobD4
(up north)

Posts:957


07/13/2021 6:56 AM  
To be televised today ( July 13/21 ) :

HOT BENCH new episode # 6419 ; "Your Honour : he was tinkering with my pipes !"

( "a woman accuses the V-P of her CONDO ASSOCIATION of covert plumbing work after he sues her
for WATER DAMAGE he says was caused by her leaky pipes " )

Disclaimers :

1 - NOT FOR FOLKS WHO PREFER TO WATCH - ON TELEVISED HEARINGS OF THEIR NATIONAL SUPREME COURT - DEBATES ABOUT STANDARDS OF REVIEW OF APPELLATE OR TRIBUNAL DECISIONS !

2 - Condo & HOA disputes are not commonly shown on "reality TV". ( Likely because documents do not readily lend themselves to viewer attention. Unlikely needed here. )

3 - Judge Judy enterprises produced this. She is retiring after last year reporting an annual remuneration of $ 47 million. ( 9:34 a.m. E.S.T )
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > JUDGE JUDY stomps RUBBISH DEFENCE by California CONDO BOARD caught SLAM-DUNKING owner prerogative



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