Case law
Adams Stirling PLC
Menu

         CASE LAW

 

Josh Mendelsohn

             
            Jeffrey Barnett, Esq.
            ADAMS | STIRLING PLC


The index on the left lists cases affecting community associations in California. For those with touch screens, use a short tap for a summary of the case and a double tap to view the case.

Below are cases listed by category. (NOTE: The list 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 information posted on our website.) Search: Use "CTRL-F" on your keyboard to search for words on this page.

AMENDMENTS & RESTATEMENTS (see GOVERNING DOCUMENTS)
Battram v. Emerald Bay (1984). If annulment uses lower approval, CC&Rs may be amended using lower %.
Costa Serena v. Costa Serena ARC (2009). 4-year SOL for procedural challenges to amendments.
Doo v. Packwood (1968). An illegal restriction will not be enforced as a servitude.
Fourth La Costa v. Seith (2008). 4275 petition: lender approval, reasonableness & ballot solicitation.
Greenback v. Rizan (1985). Assn is the proper party to file a 7515 petition.
Mission Shores v. Pheil (2008). CC&R amendment banning short-term rentals is reasonable.
Ocean Windows v. Spataro (2017) unpublished. A 30-day minimum for rentals is reasonable.
Orchard Homes v. Orchard Alliance. Voter apathy is not a requirement for a 4275 petition.
Peak v. South Peak HOA (2006). Approval by majority of members, not majority of who voted.
Quail Lakes v. Kozina (2012). Owner has no standing to pursue claims of other owners re petition.
Taormina v. Silver (1983). A void document derives no validity from the mere fact it is recorded.

ARCHITECTURAL ISSUES (see ARCHITECTURAL MENU)
B.C.E. Dev. v. Smith (1989). Developer has standing to enforce CC&Rs after selling all units if CC&Rs so provide.
Bear Creek v. Ferwerda (2011). ARC can adopt guidelines but cannot mandate attys' fees if CC&Rs are silent.
Clark v. Rancho Santa Fe (1989). Assn may apply subjective and objective criteria to ARC decisions.
Clear Lake v. Cramer (2010). Order to reduce height of house; circumstantial evid of ARC guidelines.
Cohen v. Kite Hill (1983). ARCs owe fiduciary duty to act in good faith & not arbitrarily.
Dolan-King v. Rancho Santa Fe (2000). ARCs can use both objective and subjective criteria in decisions.
Eisen v. Tavangarian (2019). Prohibition of "erecting" a structure does not prohibit "alterating" an existing structure. 
Ekstrom v. Marquesa (2009). Cannot adopt standards that contradict the CC&Rs (palm trees view).
In the Matter of Wojcikiewizc (2007). Antenna allowed on roof despite HOA maintenance of roof.
Ironwood v. Solomon (1986). Assn must follow its procedures in reviewing architectural applications.
Morgan v. Veach (1943). Order to move house when owner knowingly violated setbacks.
Mullaly v. Ojai Hotel (1968). Even if zoning permits activities, more restrictive CC&Rs control.
Pacifica v. Wesley Palms (1986). The courts will not imply a view restriction.
Palos Verdes v. Rodman (1986). ACC can consider aesthetic impact in proposed solar panel installation.
Posey v. Leavitt (1991). Absent CC&R provision, members have no right to air, light or an unobstructed view.
Rancho Santa Fe v. Dolan-King (2004). Assns may enact rules to clarify and define terms in the CC&Rs.
Riley v. Bear Creek (1976). CC&Rs are created only by recorded deeds.
Ryland Mews v. Munoz (2015). Court ordered rugs over 80% of hardwood floors.
Savoy v. Zhang (2012) unpublished. Hardwood floors allowed for medical reasons.
Schwindt v. Omar (2018) unpublished. Architectural decision binding on owners if not arbitrary or capricious.
Seligman v. Tucker (1970). "Unreasonably obstruct" is not too vague to be enforceable.
Telford v. Sagewood HOA (2011) unpublished. Board approved remodel but failed to monitor it.
Tesoro del Valle v. Griffin (2011). Aesthetic considerations for solar panels basis for denial of ARC appl.
Ticor Title v. Rancho Santa Fe (1986). Assns cannot require setbacks that conflict with CC&Rs.
Ward v. Superior Court (1997). Recording a notice of violation is not supported by statute.
White v. Dorfman (1981). Interpretation of CC&Rs re view blockage.
Woodridge v. Nielsen (2005). ARC cannot approve violations of CC&Rs (deck in easement).

ASSESSMENTS (see ASSESSMENTS MENU)
Anthony v. Brea Glenbrook (1976). Membership is enforceable as a covenant running with the land.
Bear Creek v. Edwards (2005). Owner required to pay assessments on units not yet constructed.
Bodily v. Parkmont Village Green (1980). Board cannot eliminate developer's obligation to pay assessments.
Cebular v. Cooper Arms HOA (2006). Unequal assessments reasonable when tied to proportionate voting rights.
Finley v. Superior Court (2000). Board can use dues to oppose political measure (converting military base to airport).
Foothills v. Christiansen (1998). Special assess was within amount needed to defray costs for which it was levied.
Mountain Home v. Pine Mountain (1982). Buyer is not liable for unpaid assessments of predecessors in interest.
O'Toole v. Kingsbury (2005). Court ordered emergency special assessment to pay judgment & receiver to carry out order.
Park Place v. Naber (1994). Member cannot refuse to pay assessments because of a grievance.

ASSESSMENT COLLECTION (see COLLECTION MENU)
Barry v. OC Residential (2011). Redemption price for unit includes cost of repairs by assn.
Cerro de Alcala v. Burns (1985). Assessments are personal debt of owner not relieved by abandoning property.
Diamond v. Superior Court (2013). Failure to comply with statute re delinquent assessments invalidates lien.
Diamond Heights v. Financial Freedom (2011). Failure to record abstract of judgment caused assn to lose priority on lien.
Fidelity Mortgage v. Ridgegate (1994). Trustee acting at direction of assn is entitled to indemnification.
Foothills Townhome v. Christiansen (1998). Special assessment was amount necessary to defray costs for which it was levied.
Goudelock v. Sixty-01 Assn. (2018). Successful completion of bankruptcy exempts owner from personal debt for all future assessments.
Hanson v. JQD (2014). Agency collecting fees, interest & charges not charged to assn violates DSA & FDCPA.
Huntington v. Miner (2014). Assns must accept partial payments from delinquent homeowners.
In re Slyman (2000). Delinquent assessments are dischargeable in bankruptcy, unless proven non-dischargeable for fraud.
Mashiri v. Epsten (2017). Owner must be given 30 days from receipt of letter to dispute debt.
McNair v. Maxwell (2018). Nonjudicial foreclosure is not debt collection under FDCPA; judicial foreclosure is.
MTC Financial v. Nationstar (2018). Apparent intent of the parties determines priority of simultaneous liens.
Multani v. Witkin (2013). Must give foreclosed owners notice of right of redemption - CCP 729.035.
Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus LLP (2019). Law firm engaged only in non-judicial foreclosures not subject to most of FDCPA.
Seabrook v. Pelzer (1987). Assns must follow their CC&Rs when determining amount of annual assessment.
Thaler v. Household Finance (2000). Priority of assessment liens over other recorded documents.
Thies v. Wyman (1997). FDCPA applies to delinquent assessments.
Wilton v. Mountain Wood (1993). Litigation privilege applies to assn's recording of assessment liens.

ATTORNEY'S FEES (see COMMENTARY)
Almanor v. Carson (2016). Prevailing party pursuant to Civil Code 5975 when parties reach net positive effect under trial court ruling.
Arias v. Katella (2005). Voluntary payments by assn added to judgment to determine prevailing party.
Artus v. Gramercy (2018). Losing party who had earlier success obtaining a preliminary injunction is not the prevailing party.
Bakas v. Mountainback (2018). 
unpublished. Detailed records of attorneys fees ($425,000) not required to support award. Paralegal fees recoverable.
Bear Creek v. Ferwerda (2011). ARC cannot mandate atty fees if CC&Rs are silent.
Blue Lagoon v. Mitchell (1997). Petition to amend CC&Rs is not an adversary proceeding so no award of atty fees.
Cebular v. Cooper Arms (2006). Enforceability of governing documents is “enforcement” action for purpose of atty fees.
Chapala v. Stanton (2010). Atty fees stayed pending appeal on grounds atty fees are a routine or incidental item of costs.
Deane v. Denktas (1993). Court may not refuse to award atty fees to clearly prevailing party.
Farber v. Bay View (2006). Non-owners lack standing to enforce gov docs; atty fee statute still applicable.
Grossman v. Park Fort Washington (2012). Pre-litigation ADR attorney fees are recoverable by prevailing party.
Heather Farms v. Robinson (1994). Voluntary mutual dismissals as part of a global settlement does not create a prevailing party.
Heron Bay v. San Leandro (2018). Fee award upheld where plaintiffs pursued private interest under public interest statute.
Irish Beach v. Farrell (2009) unpublished. Because plaintiffs were not legal entities, they could not be made to pay attorney fees.
Kaplan v. Fairway Oaks (2002). Award of atty fees in election challenge per bylaws treated same as CC&Rs.
Lewow v. Surfside III (2012). Late motion for atty fees excusable upon good faith belief that bankruptcy extended time limit.
Marina Pacifica v. S.C. Fin. Corp. (2018). A party's failure to obtain its litigation objective does not automatically make the other party the prevailing party.
Moran v. Oso Valley (2001). Atty fees and costs related to failure to produce minutes.
Moran v. Oso Valley (2004). Atty fee award even though assn produced records.
Mount Olympus v. Shpirt (1997). Davis-Stirling atty fee provision does not apply to non-Davis-Stirling assns.
Nellie Gail Ranch v. McMullin (2016). No adverse possession over common area.
Parrott v. Mooring Townhomes (2003). Courts may determine prevailing party for atty fees even after case has been dismissed.
Rancho Mirage v. Hazelbaker (2016). Judicial enforcement of pre-litigation ADR is an action to enforce gov docs under Civ. Code 5975
Retzloff v. Moulton Parkway (2017). HOA not entitled to atty fees under Civ Code 5235(c) - producing assn records.
Reynolds v. Auburn (2014) unpublishedAtty fees award based on privilege redacted fee summary upheld.
Salawy v. Ocean Towers (2004). Enforcement action narrowly construed for awarding atty fees.
Salehi v Surfside III (2011). Assn is prevailing party on multiple casues of action dismissed by plaintiff on eve of trial.
That v. Alders (2012). "Costs" under §5145(b) do not include atty fees.
Tract 19051 HOA v. Kemp (2015). A non-CID development may recover attorney fees under DS Act.
Woodland Hills v. City Council (1979). Atty fees under private AG doctrine applies to city's improper action under Subdivision Map Act.

BOARD AUTHORITY AND DISCRETION (see DEFINITION)
Affan v. Portofino Cove (2010). Lamden does not apply to board that does not investigate cause of sewer backups.
Beehan v. Lido Isle (1977). Boards can weigh advantages & disadvantages of probable outcome of litigation against cost, time & disruption.
Calemine v. Jared Court (2009) unpublished. Assn entitled to deference when, after prior repairs & lawsuits, it takes no further action re water leaks.
Cathedral Hill v. Garbar (2012) unpublished. Lamden standards applied to uphold Board decision to disallow balcony tiles over waterproofing.
Clark v. Rancho Santa Fe (1989). Assn may apply subjective and objective criteria to architectural decisions when so empowered by gov docs.
Eith v. Ketelhut (2018). Board entitled to Lamden deference on whether vineyard was a prohibited business and found it was not as a matter of law.
Ekstrom v. Marquesa (2009). Boards do not have discretion to ignore clear restrictions.
Eldridge v. Tymshare (1986). Business judgment rule presumes director decisions are based on sound business judgment.
Franklin v. Marie Antoinette (1993). Exculpatory clause upheld as not violating public policy.
Harvey v. Landing  (2008). Board decision to allow owners to use common area attic space upheld.
Jongerius v. Sun Lakes unpublished. Lamden applied to Board’s decision on how to address damage due to slope creep.
Lamden v. La Jolla Shores (1999). Business judgment rule applies to decisions made by boards.
Lingenbrink v. Del Rayo Estates (2017) unpublishedJudicial deference does not apply to improper construction of the governing documents.
Palm Spring Villas v. Parth (2016). Directors who fail to conduct due diligence lose protection of the Business Judgment Rule.
Spitser v. Kentwood (1972). Assn not authorized or required nor may charge owners the cost to abate nuisance from airplanes.

BOARD MEETINGS (see MEETING MENU)
Castaic Lake v. Newhall (2015). Substantial compliance with notice requirement sufficient, unless statute calls for strict compliance.
Hamilton v. Los Gatos (1989). Council member may be denied copy of tape recording of council meeting due to conflict of interest.
Lee v. Silviera (2016). Director's vote at a board meeting is a protected activity under section (e)(3) of the anti-SLAPP statute.
Seahaus v. Superior Court (2014). Litigation meetings held by assn’s atty with homeowners protected by attorney-client privilege.
SB Liberty v. Isla Verde (2013). Atty of member may be excluded from board meetings.

CC&R ENFORCEMENT (see ENFORCEMENT MENU)
Alfaro v. Community Housing (2009). A restriction that requires properties remain affordable to low income buyers is enforceable.
Barrett v. Dawson (1998). In-home day care allowed to operate in HOA.
Bernardo Villas v. Black (1987). CC&Rs' ban of pickup trucks found unreasonable.
Biagini v. Hyde (1970). No physical damage or financial harm need be shown in a CC&R enforcement action.
Broadmoor v. Nelson (1995). Assn cannot prohibit elderly care facility.
Cathedral Hill v. Garber (2012) unpublished. Lamden standards applied to uphold Board decision to disallow balcony tiles over waterproofing.
Citizens v. Anderson (1995). CC&Rs recorded before any parcels are sold are enforceable against all later purchasers.
Cohen v. Kite Hill (1983). Owners can sue the assn for damages & an injunction to compel enforcement of the CC&Rs.
Duffey v. Superior Court (1992). Owner suing for declaratory relief re enforcement of CC&Rs may not include other owners in the suit.
Fountain Valley v. Dept. of VA (1998). Assn can't order owner to remove clutter from unit.
Franklin v. Marie Antoinette (1993). Exculpatory clause upheld as not violating public policy.
Gray v. McCormick (2008). Owner of lot, over part of which adjacent owner has exclusive access easement, may not use easement area in any way.
Haley v. Casa Del Rey (2007). Amendment of CC&Rs extending patios into common area reasonable.
Hall v. Butte Home (1997). Group home for disabled allowed to operate in HOA.
Hannula v. Hacienda Homes (1949). Restrictions on the use of property should be enforced.
Harvey v. Landing (2008). Board decision to allow owners to use common area attic space upheld.
Ironwood v. Solomon (1986). Associations must follow their internal procedures before seeking relief in court.
Lewis v. Superior Court (2011). Landlord can require waiver of liability in a tenant-only health club or exercise facility.
Mullaly v. Ojai Hotel Co. (1968). Although zoning regulations may permit certain activities, more restrictive CC&Rs will control.
Nahrstedt v. Lakeside Village (1994). CC&Rs presumed reasonable unless violate public policy, are arbitrary, or the burdens outweigh the benefits.
Pinnacle Museum v. Pinnacle Market (2012). Upheld binding arbitration provision in original CC&Rs.
Rancho Mirage v. Hazelbaker (2016). Judicial enforcement of pre-litigation ADR is an action to enforce governing documents under Civil Code 5975
Riley v. Bear Creek (1976). CC&Rs are created only by a recorded deed.
Taormina v. Silver (1983). A void document derives no validity from the mere fact that it is recorded.
Villa De Las Palmas v. Terifaj (2004). Later enacted CC&R amendments are enforceable against prior owners.
Villas in Whispering Palms v. Tempkin (2015) unpublished. Associations can reestablish restrictions where previously there had been lax enforcement.
Ward v. Superior Court (1997). Recording a notice of violation is not supported by statute.

CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS AND DEVELOPERS (see DEFECTS MENU)
Aas v. Superior Court (2000). May not recover certain damages for construction defects that have not caused actual property damage.
Baeza v. Superior Court (2011) Right to repair disclosures no long apply if builder opts out of statutory prelitigation procedures.
B.C.E. Dev. v. Smith (1989). Developer has standing to enforce CC&Rs after selling all units if CC&Rs so provide.
Beacon v. Skidmore (2014). Principal architects owe duty to future homeowners.
Belasco v. Wells (2015). Civ. Code 1524 release of builder by owner enforceable as to undiscovered claims and defects.
Bodily v. Parkmont Village (1980). Board cannot eliminate developer's obligation to pay assessments.
Branches v. Calatlantic (2018). Members must approve legal action against developer if so required by CC&Rs.
Cancun v. San Juan Capistrano (1989). In subsidence case, city was immune from issuing permits.
Cohen v. S&S (1983). Developer board is liable for failure to enforce CC&Rs. Exculpatory clause is unenforceable.
Creekridge v. Whitten (2009). Court differentiated latent and patent defects.
Darling v. Superior Court (2012). Owner must serve notice of claim before builder must respond to document request.
East Hilton v. Western (1982). No implied warranty liability against subsequent vendor of unoccupied homes.
Eichler Homes v. Anderson (1970). A supplier was liable under implied warranties.
El Escorial v. DLC Plastering (2007). CD statute of limitations and settlement allocation issues.
Erlich v. Menezes (1999). Emotional distress damages not available in construction defect action.
Ibarra v. Papierniak (2018) unpublished. An individual owner has standing to bring a claim against a developer for damage to the common areas.
Kohler Co v. Superior Court (2018). Except under very limited circumstances, owners cannot bring a class action action for defective plumbing.
Kriegler v. Eichler (1969). Developers are strictly liable for defective construction.
Michaelson v. V.P. Condo Corp (2018) unpublished. Developer cannot convey exclusive use rights involving unassigned common areas.
McMillin v. Sup. Court (2018). In common law construction defect action, owners still had to comply with Right to Repair Act.
Pinnacle Museum v. Pinnacle Market (2012). Upheld binding arbitration provision in CC&Rs written by the developer.
Raven's Cove v. Knuppe (1981). Developer with control of board owes fiduciary duties to assn and members.
Seahaus v. Sup. Ct. (2014). Litigation update to members in meetings by HOA counsel is protected by attorney-client privilege.
Stonegate v. Staben (2006). Assn can use expert testimony to establish standard of care for "workmanlike."
Treo @ Kettner v. Sup. Ct. (2008). Developer cannot eliminate Assn's right to jury trial via CC&Rs.
Villa Milano v. Il Davorge (2000). Binding arbitration for construction defect claims unenforceable by developer who solely drafted CC&Rs.
Windham v. Sup. Ct. (2003). Assn has standing to sue developer for breach of implied warranties.

CORPORATE SUSPENSION (see SUSPENSION)
Palm Valley v. Design MTC (2001). A suspended corporation cannot engage in litigation.
Peacock Hill v. Peacock (1972). Decisions made and actions taken during suspension are ratified by reinstatement.
Timberline v. Jaisinghani (1997). Suspended corp is disqualified from exercising any right, power, or privilege, including litigation.

DISABILITY AND DISCRIMINATION (see DISCRIMINATION MENU)
Auburn Woods I v. FEHC (2004). A no-dog association must allow therapy dogs as a reasonable accommodation.
Balvage v. Ryderwood (2011). Prior failure to comply with age-verification requirements does not disqualify assn from HOPA's protections.
Bliler v. Covenant Control (1988). Summary judgments reversed. Material facts existed as to whether assn was a senior community.
Carolyn v. Orange Park (2009). ADA not applicable to restricted equestrian trails in common area of owners association.
Coronado v. Cobblestone (2009). Rental office open to public is subject to ADA but not remainder of private residential complex.
Curto v. Country Place (2019). Cannot segregate pool swim times based on gender--sex discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
Geraci v. Union Square (2018). Alleged disabilities are subject to investigation & boards can disclose litigation details to the membership.
Gittleman vs. Woodhaven (1977). Federal right to reasonable accommodation supersedes contrary Master Deed.
Huntington Landmark v. Ross (1989). Once a senior community is established, age restrictions are legally enforceable.
Jankey v. Twentieth Century Fox (1998). A private club is not subject to ADA because it is occasionally used by the public.
Koebke v. Bernardo Heights (2005). Registered domestic partners treated same as spouses under Unruh Civil Rights Act.
Landesman v. The Keys (2004) unpublished. Restricting children from lap pool is discriminatory.
Llanos v. Estate of Anthony Coehlo (1998). Assns cannot prohibit children from pools, establish adults-only pools, or establish adults-only times.
Lobel v. Woodland Golf (2017). Private golf club not subject to ADA.
Nelson v. Avondale (2009). Assn can prohibit business in residence.
O'Connor v. Village Green (1983). Private condominium association is a "business establishment" covered by the Unruh Act.
Pappion v. R-Ranch POA (2015). Assn not subject to ADA because it used a portion of its offices to sell shares in the ranch.
Ritchey v. Villa Nueva (1978). Amendment restricting leasing to 18-year olds and older is reasonable and retroactively enforceable.
Sabal Palm v. Fischer (2014). Cannot request documentation when disability is obvious.
Scoggins v. Lee's Crossing (2013). Assn allowed to deny request for ATV for safety reasons.
Shapiro v. Cadman Towers (1995). Required to provide a parking space near front door.
So. Cal. Housing. v. Los Feliz (2005). Assn must provide more accessible parking space.
Sunrise Country Club. v. Proud (1987). Okay to restrict children from certain pools for safety reasons when restriction is not total exclusion.
United States v. Plaza Mobile Estates (2003). Unreasonable to require adult supervision for children under 18.
Walnut Creek Manor v. FEHC (1991). Emotional distress damages violates state constitution’s judicial powers clause.

DISCLOSURE OBLIGATIONS (see DISCLOSURE CHECKLIST)
Kovich v. Paseo Del Mar (1996). No duty to disclose existence of CD lawsuit to purchasers.
Ostayan v. Nordhoff (2003). Assn not required to provide members notice of litigation.
Seahaus v. Sup. Ct. (2014). Litigation update to members in meetings by HOA counsel is protected by attorney-client privilege.
Smith v. Laguna Sur (2000). Board is holder of attorney-client privilege.

DUE PROCESS (see DEFINITION)
Applebaum v. Board (1980). Must provide notice of alleged violation and opportunity for the accused to be heard and defend.
Carson v. Glass Bottle Blowers (1951). Notice, hearing and a fair trial are fundamental.
Ironwood v. Solomon (1986). Decisions must be reasonable and not arbitrary or capricious and follow assn's internal procedures.
Kurz v. Federation (2006). Private organizations cannot expel a member in a manner that is procedurally unfair.

ELECTIONS (see ELECTION MENU)
Bel Air Ridge v. Rosenberg (2015) unpublished. Repeated extension of the voting deadline is acceptable.
Chantiles v. Lake Forest II (1995). Directors do not have an absolute right to inspect all records, including how members vote.
Clark v. McCann (2015). To ratify eligibility to vote, owners must provide a valid unit address on the outer envelope.
DiQuisto v. Santa Clara (2010). Boards allowed to distribute information about ballot measures.
Eicherly v. Palm Beach (2018) unpublished. Court upholds "fair" election despite failure to follow Davis-Stirling Act.
Fourth La Costa v. Seith (2008). Lender approval, reasonableness of amendments, and effort to solicit ballots re 4275 petition.
Friars Village v. Hansing (2013). Election rules may add candidate and director qualifications absent from and consistent with the gov. docs.
Kim v. Kim (2019) unpublished. Assn owes no duty to protect candidate's interest in serving as president.
La Jolla Mesa v. La Jolla Mesa (1992). An owner's written consent to extend the CC&Rs is irrevocable.
Lake Arrowhead Timeshare v. Lake Arrowhead (1996). Amendment which disadvantages one class of voters must be approved by each class.
LNSU #1, LLC v. McLaughlin (2018) unpublished. Co-manager of LLC not permitted to serve on Board contemporaneously with other co-managers.
Mayo v. Interment Properties (1942). Vacancy created by resignation may be filled by approval of a majority of a quorum of the board.
PV Little Italy v. Metrowork (2012). Class B voting rights were assignable and separate from ownership interests.
Samii v. La Villa Grande (2009) unpublished. Failure to hold annual meeting resulted in a court ordered election.
Wittenburg v. Beachwalk (2013). Advocacy by board using assn media requires equal access by members.

EMPLOYMENT ISSUES (see EMPLOYMENT LAW MENU)
Dynamex Operations West v. Sup. Ct. (2018) Discusses how to determine independent contractor status.

FEES AND CHARGES (see FEES MENU)
Barry v. OC Residential (2011). Redemption price for unit includes cost of repairs by assn.
Berryman v. Merit (2007). Civ. Code §4575 applies only to charges by an assn and not by 3rd-party vendors.
Brown v. PCM (2005). Mgmt companies not subject to limitations of 5600(b) re fees and charges.
Dey v. Continental (2009). Fees charged mgmt co are controlled by market forces, not Civ. Code §5600(b), and can be passed to owners.
Fowler v. M&C (2013). Transfer fee under Civil Code 4575 excluded from §1098, even when collected by property manager.
Watts v. Oak Shores (2015). Units used for short term renters can be assessed fees necessary to defray the costs of the increased use.

FIDUCIARY DUTIES (see FIDUCIARY DUTIES)
Adams v. Newport Crest (2019) unpublished. Fiduciary duties owed by assns are limited to those arising from its gov docs and relevant statutes.
Burt v. Irvine (1965). Directors who actively participate in transaction liable for fraud or mistake; others who acted "in concert" were negligent.
Cohen v. Kite Hill (1983). ARCs owe fiduciary duty to act in good faith & not arbitrarily.
Frances T. v. Village Green (1986). A good faith mistake in business judgment does not breach fiduciary duties.
Golden Eagle v. Rancho Santa Fe (2019). Fiduciary duties owed by assns are limited to those arising from its gov docs and relevant statutes.
Raven's Cove v. Knuppe (1981). It is well settled that directors of nonprofit corporations are fiduciaries.

INSURANCE ISSUES (see INSURANCE MENU)
Adelman v. Associated Insurance (2001). Assn, not individual owners, has standing to sue carrier for breach of policy.
Ameron v. Ins. Co. (2010). Administrative adjudication was "suit" for purpose of duty to defend and coverage.
Foothill Village v. Bishop (1999). Owner, not lender, received all earthquake insurance proceeds when owners vote not to rebuild.
Heiman v. Workers Comp (2007). Mgmt co hired unlicensed and uninsured contractor who was injured. Both mgmt and assn are liable for injuries.
Larkspur Isle v. Farmers Ins. (1994). Insurance coverage triggers when the loss becomes apparent upon reasonable inspection.
Marina Green v. State Farm (1994). Carriers providing ins to owners must also offer earthquake coverage. Does not apply to assn.
Marquez Knolls v. Executive Risk (2007). Ins exclusion re design & construction does not apply to ARC approval of member application.
Oak Park Calabasas v. State Farm (2006). Assn refusal to pay contractor does not obligate carrier to defend lawsuit for breach of contract.
Palacin v. Allstate Ins. (2004). Owner has implied responsibility to insure items not covered by assn's master policy.
San Miguel v. State Farm (2013). Carrier not obligated to defend a lawsuit seeking only injunctive relief.
State Comp Ins. v. Workers' Comp. (1985) If Assn hires unlicensed contractor, it automatically becomes the employer of the injured worker.
Villa Los Alamos v. State Farm (2011). Environmental pollution exclusion includes asbestos.

LIABILITY ISSUES
Abounassar v. Stay Green (2018) unpublished. Assn not liable for injury caused by broken sprinkler.
Alpert v. Villa Romano (2000). Owner of property has duty to protect pedestrians from dangerous conditions (sidewalk & tree roots).
Bakas v. Moutainback (2018). unpublished. HOA prevails where upper floor owner's water heater leaks and damages lower owner's unit, but HOA acts promptly to help.
Burt v. Irvine (1965). Directors who actively participate in transaction liable for fraud or mistake; others who acted "in concert" were negligent.
Cadam v. Somerset (2011). 3/4 inch separation in walkway was trivial.
Castillo v. Cinnamon Tree (2017) unpublished. Assn not responsible for random criminal acts. Must be foreseeable.
Chee v. Amanda (2006). Assn not liable for dog bite injuries if not on notice of dog's dangerous propensities.
Cody F. v. Falletti (2001). Assn not liable for dog bite since condition of the easement had no connection to the injuries.
Cohen v. S&S Construction (1983). Developer who controls board is liable for failure to enforce CC&Rs. Exculpatory clause is unenforceable.
Dilger v. Moyles (1997). Golfers assume a risk of getting hit by errant golf balls.
Ennabe v. Manosa (2014). Charging admission to an event where alcohol is served can create liability for injuries or deaths related to alcohol consumption.
Frances T. v. Village Green (1986). Assn subject to same duties as landlord re foreseeable harm. Directors not vicariously liable for torts of the assn.
Girardi v. San Rafael (2012) unpublished. Assn owed no duty to protect owners' property from theft.
Heiman v. WCAB (2007). Assn and mgmt responsible for worker’s comp to injured employee of unlicensed and uninsured contractor.
Hellman v. La Cumbre (1992). Assn not liable for golf balls on lot when owner knew of the hazard when he bought.
Myrick v. Mastagni (2010). Ordinance requiring retrofitting of hazardous buildings does not insulate owners from negligence occurring prior to the compliance date.
O'Malley v. Hospital Staffing (2018). Triable issue of fact for negligence re wife's brain aneurysm where husband called hotel and worker checked room.
Pamela W. v. Millsom (1994). Distinguished from Frances T, assn not liable for random criminal acts.
Raven's Cove v. Knuppe (1981). Developer with control of board owes fiduciary duties to assn and members.
Ritter & Ritter v. Churchill (2008). Assn can be liable even where board found not liable for a maintenance decision.
Ruoff v. Harbor Creek (1992). Members may be liable for insjuries sustained from hazardous conditions in common area. (Civ. Code 5805 limits liability.)
Stonegate v. Staben (2006). Subcontractor liable for defective work even where no privity of contract with assn.
Tilley v. CZ Master (2005). Assn not liable for injuries to security guard caused by teenagers.
Titus v. Canyon Lake (2004). Authority given to assn in CC&Rs did not creation affirmative obligation.
Wentworth v. Sierra (2004) unpublishedNo liability for or duty to warn of crimes not reasonably foreseeable.

LITIGATION ISSUES (see LITIGATION MENU)
Bein v. Brechtel-Jochim (1992). Gate guard may be served if guard denies process server access to development.
Cabrini v. Haghverdian (2003). Service of request for resolution may be by certified mail.
Elnekave v. Via Dolce (2006). Board member with authority to settle a case must be present at mandatory settlement conferences.
Kaye v. Mount La Jolla (1988). Owners can recover cost of repair or diminution in value, but not both.
Kovacevic v. Avalon (2010). Improper filing by vexatious litigant not cured by hiring attorney afterward.
Lushing v. Riviera Estates (1961). There is no need to join all owners in litigation with the assn as necessary parties to determine a controversy.
Moorpark v. VRT Corp. (1998). Partition actions must be judicial.
O'Toole v. Kingsbury (2005). Court ordered emergency special assessment to pay judgment & a receiver to carry out court's order.
Queen Villas v. TCB (2007). Manager sued by HOA. Indemnity relates to third-party claims, not first-party claims.
Ranch at the Falls, LLC v. O'Neal (2019). The individual homeowners within the gated community who owned the private streets were indispensable parties to a quiet title action.
Trabuco Highlands v. Head (2002). Parties did not agree to binding arbitration.

MAINTENANCE, REPAIR & REPLACEMENT (see MAINTENANCE MENU)
Dover Village v. Jennison (2011). Leaky sewer pipe was not exclusive use common area and was HOA's responsibility to maintain.
Jongerius v. Sun Lakes unpublished. Lamden applied to Board’s decision on how to address damage due to slope creep.
Ritter & Ritter v. Churchill (2008). Assn can be liable even where board found not liable for a maintenance decision.
Starlight Ridge v. Hunter-Bloor (2009). Maintenance of drainage in assn maintenance areas.
Windham v. Lacher (2019) unpublished. Association's preliminary injunction to vacate premises for termite fumigation upheld.

MEDIATION/ARBITRATION (see DISPUTE RESOLUTION MENU)
Foxgate v. Bramalea (2001). No exceptions to the confidentiality of mediation communications or the limits of mediator reports.
Mansouri v. Sup. Ct. (2010). CCP 1281.2 requires demand for arbitration when there is a mandatory arbitration clause in CC&Rs.
Villa Milano v. Il Davorge (2000). CC&Rs requiring binding arbitration of construction defect claims unenforceable by developer who solely drafted CC&Rs.

NUISANCE (see NUISANCE MENU)
Birke v. Oakwood (2009). Nuisance claim for smoking in apartment pool area also addresses ADA issues.
San Diego Gas v. Sup. Ct. (1996). Individual must put up with a certain amount of annoyance, inconvenience and interference.
Schild v. Rubin (1991). The neighbors playing basketball was not a nuisance.

PROTECTED SPEECH AND ANTI-SLAPP (see FREE SPEECH)
Boswell v. The Retreat (2016) unpublished. Detailed analysis of emotional distress and other anti-SLAPP issues.
Cabrera v. Alam (2011). Statements made at annual meeting are protected activity under the anti-SLAPP statute.
California Riviera v. Hackel (1996). Prelitigation communications can be subject to the litigation privilege.
Chemers v. Quail Hill (2018) unpublished. Anti-SLAPP statute does not protect a board from its own wrongdoing.
Colyear v. Rolling Hills (2017). Opinions expressed re view protection rights are protected.
Country Side v. Ivie (2011). Declaratory relief subject to anti-SLAPP based homeowner's comments at a meeting.
Cross v. Cooper (2011). Lawsuit over lost sale of unit due to disclosure of nearby sex offender dismissed.
Damon v. Ocean Hills (2000). Assn newsletter which criticized former manager protected speech.
Dowling v. Zimmerman (2001). Letter from resident's attorney to board re nuisance caused by other owner protected.
Golden Eagle v. Rancho Santa Fe Assn (2018). Assn writing letter to county re land use approval protected by anti-SLAPP motion.
Golden Gateway v. Golden Gateway (2001). Tenant assn had no right to distribute newsletter in privately owned apt complex.
Healy v. Tuscany Hills (2006). Letter by assn’s attorney, and sent to members of the assn, was within litigation privilege.
Kulick v. Leisure Village (2018) unpublished. Atty letter to membership protected.
Laguna v. Golden Rain (1982). Gated assn can exclude unsolicited newspapers from being distributed.
Lee v. Silviera (2016). Director's vote at a board meeting is a protected activity under anti-SLAPP statute.
Palm Springs v. Rangel (1999). Campaign flyers distributed by owners were not libelous against assn.
Rogo v. Gottlieb (2016). Atty letter to membership not protected because it was sent with malice toward an owner.
Ruiz v. Harbor View (2005). Defamation claim based on letters by atty to members re ARC plans dismissed.
Silk v. Feldman (2012). Anti-SLAPP denied where communication is defamatory on its face.
Talega v. Standard Pacific (2014). Board meetings are not “official proceedings” for purposes of the anti-SLAPP statute.
Trilogy v. Shea Homes (2015). Anti-SLAPP denied when defendant failed to show breach of fiduciary duty arose from protected conduct.
Turner v. Vista Pointe (2009). Suit for denial of ARC variance dismissed.
Wright v. Morningside Community Assn (2018). unpublished. Anti-SLAPP motion denied where allegations are misrepresentation and tortious misconduct.
Wright v. Peters & Freedman (2018) unpublished. Anti-SLAPP motion denied where assn's atty served as an election inspector and was accused of conspiring to rig the election.

RECORDS INSPECTION (see BOOKS & RECORDS MENU)
Havlicek v. Coast to Coast (1995). Court may impose "just and proper conditions" on director otherwise "absolute" inspection rights.
Moran v. Oso Valley (2004). Atty fee award even though assn produced records.
Tract 7260 v. Parker (2017). Assn can deny membership list when request is for improper purpose; set aside action not required.
Tritek v. Sup. Ct. (2009). Plaintiff director's right to inspect attorney-client documents.
Wolf v. CDS Devco (2010). Former director lacks director's inspection rights.
Worldmark v. Wyndham (2010). Email addresses part of membership list under Corp. Code §8330.

RENT RESTRICTIONS (see RENTER MENU)
City of Oceanside v. McKenna (1989). Leasing prohibition reasonable means of achieving stable community of owner-occupied units.
Colony Hill v. Ghamaty (2006). Renting rooms is a commercial activity in violation of CC&Rs requiring single-family purposes.
Grande S. at Santa Fe v. Williams (2018) unpublished.. Restrictions on rentals are rationally related to protection, preservation &  operation of the assn.
Greenfield v. Mandalay Shores (2018). For beach condos, banning or regulating STRs requires Coastal Commission approval.
Harrison v. Sierra Dawn (2010) unpublished. Rental restrictions limiting lease term, imposing rental cap, limiting total number of renters upheld.
Johnston v. Hermosa Beach. (2018) unpublished. City restrictions on short-term rentals do not constitute a development subject to regulation by Coastal Commission.
Laguna Royale v. Darger (1981). Reasonable rent restrictions upheld by cours.
Mission Shores v. Pheil (2008). CC&R amendment banning short-term rentals is reasonable.
Nahrstedt v. Lakeside Village (1994). The power of assns to regulate includes the rental of units.
Ritchey v. Villa Nueva (1978). Restricting leases to 18-year olds and older is enforceable.
Watts v. Oak Shores (2015). Boards can adopt rules regulating short-term rentals.

RULES & REGULATIONS (see RULES & REGULATIONS MENU)
Bear Creek v. Ferwerda (2011). ARC can adopt guidelines but cannot mandate attys' fees if CC&Rs are silent.
Dolan-King v. Rancho Santa Fe (2000). Reasonableness required when when denying an architectural application.
Fourth La Costa v. Seith (2008). No right to post real estate signs in common areas.
Greenfield v. Mandalay Shores (2018). For beach condos, banning STRs must be made by the City and Coastal Commission, not the assn.
Liebler v. Point Loma (1995). Can enact rules to exclude nonresident owners from recreational facilities if in CC&Rs.
Major v. Miraverde (1992). Rule prohibiting non-owner's use of common area invalidated where no authority in CC&Rs.
Rancho Santa Fe v. Dolan-King (2004). Associations may enact rules to clarify and define terms in the CC&Rs.
Sui v. Price (2011). Nahrsted reasonableness test applies to rules.
Tesoro v. Griffin (2011). Civ. Code §714 does not prohibit consideration of aethetic impacts of a solar energy system.

STANDING (see DEFINITION)
Adelman v. Associated (2001). Assn, not individual owners, has standing to sue the carrier for breach of policy.
B.C.E. Development v. Smith (1989). Developer may continue to have standing to enforce CC&Rs after selling all units if CC&Rs so provide.
Cheveldave v. Tri Palms (2018). If a development is not a CID, the board does not have standing to enter into contracts binding all owners.
Committee v. Beverly Highlands (2001). Davis Stirling Act does not apply to development with no common area.
Del Mar Beach v. Imperial (1981). Assn has standing as as owner of common areas and representative capacity for its members.
Ezer v. Fuchsloch (1979). Requiring trees be trimmed to roof height to preserve views was reasonable. Trees have no legal standing.
Farber v. Bay View Terrace (2006). Former owners lack standing to enforce governing documents.
Golden Rain v. Franz (2008). An assn is created for the purpose of managing a common interest development.
Ibarra v. Papierniak (2018) unpublished. An owner has standing to bring a claim against a developer for damage to the common areas.
Irish Beach v. Farrell (2009) unpublished. A civil action can only be maintained by a legal entity.
Market Lofts v. 9th Street (2014). Assn has standing to sue as a representative of the individual homeowners.
Martin v. Bridgeport (2009). Non-owners do not have legal standing to sue assn for breach of gov docs.
Sierra Palms v. Metro Gold Line (2018). Association has standing to sue a municipality for inverse condemnation.
Windham v. Sup. Ct. (2003). Assns can sue for damage to common areas, including breach of implied warranty.

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
Costa Serena v. Costa Serena ARC (2009). 4-year SOL for procedural challenges to CC&R amendments.
Crestmar v. Stapakis (2007). Statute of limitations re transfer of parking spaces in condo conversion.
Cutujian v. Benedict Hills (1996). 4-year SOL applies where owner demands assn take action and assn refuses.
Pacific Hills v. Prun (2008). 5-year SOL applies to violation of restrictions; assn may choose to not enforce a restriction if reasonable.
Schuman v. Ignatin (2010). 4-year SOL for procedural challenges to CC&R amendments.
Smith v. Sup. Ct. (1990). 3-year SOL for breach of fiduciary duty and negligence.

TAXATION (see TAX MENU)
Holland v. Assessment Appeals Bd. (2014). Assessor cannot appraise mobilehome interests using Appeal Board formula.
Lake Forest v. County of Orange (1978). Association property exempt from taxation.

VIEW PROTECTION (see DEFINITION)
Colyear v. Rolling Hills (2017). Member was sued by his neighbor when he complained to the board about trees blocking his view--case dismissed.
Eisen v. Tavangarian (2019). Prohibition of "erecting" a structure does not prohibit "alterating" an existing structure. ​
Ekstrom v. Marquesa (2009). View policy exempting palm trees struck down.
Ezer v. Fuchsloch (1979). Mandatory injunction requiring trees to be trimmed to roof height to preserve views is reasonable.
Lingenbrink v. Del Rayo Estates (2017) unpublished. Unreasonable interference with view cannot be implied in CC&Rs.
Murrell v. Rolling Hills (2011) unpublished. Assn has right to enter upon a member's property to trim trees to improve a neighbor's view.
Pacifica v. Wesley Palms (1986). Court will not imply a view restriction not expressly stated in a conditional use permit.
Posey v. Leavitt (1991). Absent CC&R provision, members have no right to air, light or an unobstructed view.
Seligman v. Tucker (1970). Unreasonably obstruct is not too vague to be enforceable.
White v. Dorfman (1981). "No hedge or hedgerow, or wall or fence or other structure" does not refer to a dwelling house or garage.
Zabrucky v. McAdams (2005). Views may not unreasonably be obstructed.

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