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Slaughter & Reagan Obtained Another Appellate Victory for Homeowners Association

In Lewow v. Surfside III Condominium Owners’ Association, the trial court entered judgment in favor of the Association after William M. Slaughter successfully the Association at trial against claims for damages and injunctive relief for alleged failure to repair and maintain the common areas. Plaintiff appealed the judgment. The Court of Appeal affirmed judgment in favor of the Association. The appellate court held that a condominium owner cannot recover as damages a portion of the costs of repairs or reimbursement necessary to maintain and repair the common area. Instead, the owner is limited to injunctive relief to force the Association to make the needed repairs. The Court of Appeal found that the trial court correctly denied injunctive relief because the Association had undertaken reasonable efforts to address the problems in the common areas. Lewow v. Surfside III Condominium Owners’ Association, 2d Civil No. B223628

The Court of Appeal also affirmed the award of attorney’s fees of almost $300,000.00 in favor of the Association. In a published decision the Court of Appeal clarified the rules regarding statutory filing deadlines and tolling of statute of limitations when a party files for bankruptcy. The Court of Appeal found that plaintiff’s bankruptcy stayed the filing of the motion for attorney’s fees. It also determined that the time to file the attorney’s fees motion, normally 60 days after service of notice of entry of the judgment was not tolled by the bankruptcy saty, but that the motion was due 30 days after dismissal of plaintiff’s bankruptcy petition. The Court of Appeal determined that the trial court correctly used its discretion to extend the time to file the attorney’s fees motion when the motion was filed 32 days after plaintiff’s bankruptcy was dismissed. Lewow v. Surfside III Condominium Owners’ Association (2012) 203 Cal. App. 4th 128