Adams Stirling PLC


Because the community association industry in California is relatively young and unsettled, and the Davis-Stirling Act is not always clear, there has been a great deal of litigation over the respective rights and responsibilities of associations and members.

As a result, courts regularly make important rulings that clarify ambiguities in the law. Most cases are decided in the Court of Appeals but a number of them have made it to California's Supreme Court.

The index on the left is a list of some of the more significant cases* that impact community associations in California. For a list of new statutes and case law by year, see new laws.

  Cang Le, Esq.
  A Professional Law Corporation

*The list of cases on our website is not exhaustive and some rulings have been revised by subsequent cases. Attorneys should check the current status of cases before citing or otherwise relying on cases posted on our website.


A ruling is the outcome of a court's decision, whether on some particular point of law (such as the admissibility of evidence) or on the case as a whole. A ruling may lead to an order--a court's written direction or determination, which may be either interlocutory (on an intermediate matter), or more broadly, final (and therefore dispositive of the entire case).

An opinion is a court's written statement of the relevant facts, the applicable points of law, the reasoning that led to the court's decision, and dicta, everything not directly germane to that reasoning.

A judgment is a court's final determination of the rights and obligations of the parties. It "includes a decree and any order from which an appeal lies." Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(a). Traditionally, a court of law renders a judgment.

A decree, traditionally, is a judgment rendered by a court of equity, admiralty, divorce, or probate. Today, the term judgment is more common in that sense, and decree refers more broadly to any court's grant of relief. The relief granted needn't be equitable in nature.

A verdict is returned by a jury, which decides whether the facts satisfy the elements of a claim or offense. The word is used loosely when a court reaches a decision in a nonjury trial--the better practice being to use verdict for juries only

From, Lesson #165 by Bryan A. Garner.

ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.

Adams Stirling PLC