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6/05/2013

Lawsuits Plague Orange County Condo Complexes


 Condominiums plagued by frivolous lawsuits
Homeowners suing the HOA causes problems for all owners in a complex. This makes it impossible to get an FHA loan, difficult to close a conventional loan and harms the value of all the units. In California (we are a litigious state) anyone can sue the Home Owner Association and hold everyone hostage. 

Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods and Newport Beach have the highest number of this type of Civil suits in the State.


Case # Orange County Superior Court 30-2012 00611073

Dolumeter Wharton V Old Trabuco Highlands Homeowners Association

Dolumeter Wharton  did not pay her HOA dues for two years.

Dolumeter Wharton Sued the Home owner Association in Orange County Superior Court filed as a case less than $25000 claiming they didn’t have the right to charge her late fees. On The Orange County Superior Court Case Access the case appears satisfied financially, however this creates headaches, hardship for owners and holds down the value of units in the complex with frivolous claims.  

The case was originally against American Express… then Dolumeter Wharton (one owner in the complex) cross- complaint sued the Homeowner Association for collecting normal monthly dues. Mr. Wharton did not pay her HOA dues for two years and tried to dispute in court that the collection company that the HOA used was illegal.  Wharton wanted the condo complex to waive all her late fees of $1700. Wharton paid the past due bills.

Superior Court of California- County of Orange, Case access and enter her name Wharton, Dolumeter you can see the case. She also sued four other people about various and sundry (don’t look solid or valid) issues in the past. She originally sued American Express in this filing then took a broad approach and sued everyone in sight. You can see on the case access Wharton paid $10000 and later this was set aside.

Since this was filed as Under $25000 he could not have re-couped any more than that amount. Insurance in the master policy covers this. The HOA did have to hire an attorney. The case has nothing to do with the solid HOA – it is about one unit owner trying not to pay the monthly dues. Dolumeter is asking for an apology from the HOA…

Verified losses $6700 + $1700 but still dragging all the homeowners and mortgagees into problems. In order to close a home loan in a condominium complex, lenders must verify the cost of lawsuits and if the pending litigation creates a hardship or financial strain on the owners, and mortgage lenders.  These frivolous claims end up harming all the owners in a condo complex. It adds costs. It makes the value of the units less because it is difficult to get conventional or FHA financing. The only person who will win in this is her Attorney.

 

 

 

Rule 3.740. Collections cases

(a) Definition

"Collections case" means an action for recovery of money owed in a sum stated to be certain that is not more than $25,000, exclusive of interest and attorney fees, arising from a transaction in which property, services, or money was acquired on credit. A collections case does not include an action seeking any of the following:

(1)http://www.courts.ca.gov/images/1pixel.gifTort damages;

(2)http://www.courts.ca.gov/images/1pixel.gifPunitive damages;

(3)http://www.courts.ca.gov/images/1pixel.gifRecovery of real property;

(4)http://www.courts.ca.gov/images/1pixel.gifRecovery of personal property; or

(5)http://www.courts.ca.gov/images/1pixel.gifA prejudgment writ of attachment.

(b) Civil Case Cover Sheet

If a case meets the definition in (a), a plaintiff must check the case type box on the Civil Case Cover Sheet (form CM-010) to indicate that the case is a collections case under rule 3.740 and serve the Civil Case Cover Sheet (form CM-010) with the initial complaint.

(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2009.)

(c) Exemption from general time-for-service requirement and case management rules

A collections case is exempt from:

(1)http://www.courts.ca.gov/images/1pixel.gifThe time-for-service requirement of rule 3.110(b); and

(2)http://www.courts.ca.gov/images/1pixel.gifThe case management rules that apply to all general civil cases under rules 3.712-3.715 and 3.721-3.730, unless a defendant files a responsive pleading.

(d) Time for service

The complaint in a collections case must be served on all named defendants, and proofs of service on those defendants must be filed, or the plaintiff must obtain an order for publication of the summons, within 180 days after the filing of the complaint.

(e) Effect of failure to serve within required time

If proofs of service on all defendants are not filed or the plaintiff has not obtained an order for publication of the summons within 180 days after the filing of the complaint, the court may issue an order to show cause why reasonable monetary sanctions should not be imposed. If proofs of service on all defendants are filed or an order for publication of the summons is filed at least 10 court days before the order to show cause hearing, the court must continue the hearing to 360 days after the filing of the complaint.

(f) Effect of failure to obtain default judgment within required time

If proofs of service of the complaint are filed or service by publication is made and defendants do not file responsive pleadings, the plaintiff must obtain a default judgment within 360 days after the filing of the complaint. If the plaintiff has not obtained a default judgment by that time, the court must issue an order to show cause why reasonable monetary sanctions should not be imposed. The order to show cause must be vacated if the plaintiff obtains a default judgment at least 10 court days before the order to show cause hearing.

Rule 3.740 amended effective January 1, 2009; adopted effective July 1, 2007.

THIS RULE Wharton filed under is to try and stop the HOA from foreclosing on her individual unit.

 

 

Caroline Gerardo NMLS # 324982