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New Cases of Interest - January 24, 2017
Elliott Homes, Inc. v. Superior Court (2016) 6 Cal.App.5th 333. This involves the Right to Repair Act (Civil Code §§ 895-945.5). The Court concludes that the Act does not allow for any prior common law exceptions and preempts the field of individuals alleging residential construction defects. In this case the homeowners alleged defects of that nature but did not notify the builder of the claims or otherwise comply with the statutory prelitigation procedure, which the Court determined was mandatory. The builder was therefore entitled to a stay of a civil action brought against the builder in order to allow compliance with the Act.
569 East County Boulevard LLC v. Backcountry Against the Dump, Inc. (2016) 6 Cal.App.5th 426. This is a SLAPP motion case. The trial court awarded attorney's fees to a prevailing defendant on a SLAPP motion in an amount less than requested. The court of appeal held that the trial court had discretion to make such a determination. The record contains sufficient support for the trial court's determination, which the Court of Appeal then upheld.
Lee v. Silveira (2016) 6 Cal.App.5th 527. This is another SLAPP case in which members of a homeowners' association Board of Directors brought a SLAPP motion against three other members of the homeowners association Board of Directors who had initiated an action for declaratory relief concerning a homeowners' association Board vote. The Court of Appeal determined that the homeowners' association Board functions similarly to a quasi-governmental body, that the acts of the defendant directors were the primary focus of the complaint with the conclusion that the meeting of the Board of Directors constituted a public forum within the meaning of CCP § 425.16(e)(3). The Court also concluded that the acts of the director defendants also constituted matters of public interest within the meaning of CCP § 425.16(e)(3). The Court also concluded that the defendant Board members were exercising their First Amendment rights and that the plaintiffs could not prevail on their claims as set forth, and thereby directed the trial court to grant the motion.