Sunday, September 23, 2012

If you live in an OC HOA, use the OC Small Claims Court at your own Peril


Back on December 12, 2011 my wife was hauled into small claims court by the Dove Canyon HOA via Seabreeze Mgmt. to answer their complaint that she owed them $5,000 in back dues and fees. 

When the case was called before the judge I handed him the law stating that a HOA could not file a lawsuit against anybody unless they first gave them an opportunity to try and resolve their dispute under what is called either an Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) or an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process with the Association.

Seabreeze vociferously argued that my wife never asked for an IDR hearing therefore she wasn't entitled to it. At that point, however, we presented the judge with dozens of letters and emails from my wife demanding an IDR hearing. 

The judge immediately ruled that the Association had not followed the law and dismissed the case without prejudice. He also stated if they did hold an IDR hearing for us he wanted to see the minutes of that meeting in any future court proceedings on the case.

Several months later we were advised by the Association that they were now going to hold an IDR hearing for us which they did on February 21, 2012. 

At that meeting we were grilled by the board about all these phony fees they said we owed them to which I responded that the bank had informed us they had agreed to take the house over through a deed in lieu of foreclosure. The head Nazi on the board then told me there was no reason for me to discuss the bogus fees anymore with the board because they would now look to the bank to collect their fees. In fact when I pressed on with my side of the issue on these disputed fees he told me to shut up and be quiet because the matter had now been resolved with the deed in lieu revelation. They were all jumping up and down that the bank would now pay these fees. The meeting was then adjourned with no written agreement as to any resolution to our dispute. I never even got to discuss our dispute with them. 

Several weeks later we got a letter in the mail thanking us for coming to the meeting and saying the board was looking into the matter a little further. From that point on until we were once again served with illegal lawsuit papers in July we never heard one word from them at all. They merely were doing what they did before. Filing an illegal lawsuit in strict violation of the law.

At this point I wrote the Association demanding they drop their illegal suit and give me copies of the so-called IDR meeting minutes on February 21, 2012. They refused to do either saying the suit was legal and the IDR minutes were private and not allowed to be given to me. 

From here the whole case deteriorated to the point that I referred to in my letter to the Commission on Judicial Performance. 

They spent three months saying they wanted to settle the case with me for the maximum small claims amount of $5,000 only to come up with their 11th hour letter to me that Flynn told them they couldn't settle for $5,000. It had to be $9,000. What's interesting about this is the extra $4,000 Flynn was now saying we must pay was for Association legal and collection fees. In other words Flynn was now advocating on behalf of all his legal and collection buddies to make sure they got paid.

The biggest crime in all this was the fact that Judge Flynn misused his position power and judicial authority by going behind my wife's back in illegal ex-parte discussions with the HOA about her case when she was not present. The fairness and integrity of the judicial system cannot be maintained when you have judges going behind people's backs to discuss and rule on cases in violation of their Constitutional rights of judicial due process. 

You could search the world over and you would not be able to find a more disgusting HOA case like this one. These Dove Canyon people and their puppet judge Flynn give a new meaning to the words crooked, greedy, arrogant, narcissist,  lying , bastards.

Bill Kirkendale 

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marcs steve said...

In this post very nicely describe all information about OC HOA, use the OC Small Claims Court at your own Peril. You have given great information about Resolution process with the Association. So thanks for share this valuable info.
HOA Management

JL "Buzz" Aguirre said...

Good. Glad this helps.

We are looking into allegations of judicial misconduct in the OC Small Claims Court system.

So far, we know that the Commission on Judicial Performance, the independent state agency responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct and judicial incapacity and for disciplining judges gets some 1,100 complaints per year with some 5% of judges being disciplined. When you consider that just the OCDA processes more than 100,000 case per year a logical conclusion may be that judicial misconduct is a non- issue.

However, the commission's approach is reactive- it waits until complaints are lodged. We argue that a more proactive approach is required, sort of like a voting record tracker for legislators. Stay tuned