April 2017, Marin County Superior Court. Plaintiff was a homeowner with a laundry list of complaints against his homeowners association, including alleged violations of the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act and of the homeowners association’s CC&Rs (“covenants, conditions and restrictions”). Because the homeowners association is a nonprofit corporation and its directors are not compensated for their service (which is typically the case for homeowners associations and their directors in California), Code of Civil Procedure section 425.15 required plaintiff to obtain a court order allowing him to file a complaint against the individual directors before he did so. Plaintiff filed a petition with the court seeking permission, giving his reasons for wanting to do so and supporting it with the evidence he thought was relevant.
Shareholder David Blinn opposed the petition. His opposition included evidence showing the directors acted in conformance with the Business Judgment Rule, plaintiff did not have admissible evidence substantiating his claims, and various statutory defenses existed to defeat plaintiff’s claims. The court agreed and denied plaintiff’s petition.
As the prevailing parties, the directors were entitled to an award of their attorney fees and costs under both the Davis-Stirling Act and under the terms of the CC&Rs. Shareholder Guy Stilson filed a motion seeking a determination and award of fees and costs owing from plaintiff to the directors. Plaintiff opposed the motion.
The court granted the motion and ordered plaintiff to pay over $10,000 in fees and costs to the directors.