|An Opinion By Jan Bergemann
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.
Published August 13, 2007
It has been well known for a long time that there are no attorney's fees granted in board recall arbitrations -- neither in condo nor in HOA recall arbitration cases. But we see it being tried over and over again, despite a long history of Motions For Attorney's Fees In Recall Arbitrations being denied. I can understand if attorneys, who are normally not involved in HOA issues, try this. But if well-known specialized attorneys try it, I can only see two reasons: They didn't do their homework or they needed some more billable hours. In both cases the owners pay for the incompetence of the attorney.
This decision has been upheld in numerous condo recall cases.
Everybody dealing with homeowners' association recall cases should have read this case that has been discussed on many occasions:
The ruling makes it very clear that there will be no attorney's fees for the "prevailing" party, no matter what!
In this case it was Lisa Magill from the law firm of Becker&Poliakoff, who tried what has been tried before to no avail. And the arbitrator showed in his ruling that he was sick and tired of these games: Four short sentences were used for the complete ruling!
This arbitration ruling should as well stop the shenanigans of board members threatened with a recall. We see more and more of these board members who walk behind owners as they collect recall petitions. Then the board members visit the owners who just signed these petitions. They show bogus pre-written affidavits stating that the recalls were signed under wrong pretenses and are hereby rescinded. Especially many elderly homeowners have been threatened with fines or the threat of huge legal fees being caused by recall petitions, which then would have to be paid by the owners who signed the petition.
LET'S MAKE ONE THING VERY CLEAR:
HOMEOWNERS SIGNING RECALL PETITIONS WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY LEGAL AND/OR ATTORNEY'S FEES -- AS LONG AS THEY DON'T HIRE THEIR OWN ATTORNEY TO REPRESENT THE HOMEOWNERS THAT VOTE FOR RECALL!
DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION DIVISION
FLORIDA LAND SALES, CONDOMINIUMS, AND MOBILE HOMES
RE: PETITION FOR ARBITRATION
Imagination Farms Community Association, Inc.,
v. Fees Case No. 2007-03-1941
Rel. Case No. 2007-01-6587
Unit Owners Voting For Recall,
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES
Petitioner has moved for Attorney's fees
and costs in this matter in which the
arbitrator entered a final order
affirming the homeowner's association decision to not
certify a recall. In this type of case, arbitrators
have consistently denied the
attorney's fees and costs pursuant to Planter's
Walk Homeowner's Ass'n v.
Homeowners Voting for Recall, Arb.
Case No. 2005-05-3848 (February 20, 2006).
it is ORDERED that Petitioner's Motion for Prevailing Party Attorney's Fees
AND ORDERED this 23rd day of July, 2007, at Tallahassee, Leon
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
hereby certify that a true and correct copy of the foregoing order
has been sent by U.S. to the following persons on this 23rd day
of July, 2007.
Lisa A. Magill, Esq.