Open or Closed Hearing? Associations can hold their disciplinary hearings in open session unless the disciplined member wants it held in executive session. (Civ. Code §5855(b).) Allowing a member to choose executive session does not preclude the board from choosing it as well. So as to minimize potential claims for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, etc., most associations hold their hearings in executive session. If a member demands the hearing be held in an open meeting, the board can politely refuse and hold it in executive session (unless the association's governing documents state otherwise).
Confidentiality. Members do not have a legal right to record disciplinary hearings (see Recording Meetings), whether it be electronic recordings or a court reporter. Boards have an obligation to keep disciplinary matters confidential but disciplined members do not. A member can waive their right to confidentiality if they so choose and publicly disclose the outcome of their hearing.
ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.