Southern California Mediator
Pre-Litigation IDR and ADR for Homeowner Associations
A homeowner association may not file a lawsuit in superior court regarding a dispute in which a member has requested dispute resolution unless the association has complied with the internal dispute resolution procedures after a member invokes those procedures.
In addition, associations may not file lawsuits in superior court unless the parties have attempted to submit their dispute to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) (mediation or arbitration). Parties are required to offer alternative dispute resolution (ADR) if the anticipated litigation is:
- Solely for declaratory, injunctive relief, or writ relief;
- For declaratory, injunctive relief, or writ relief in conjunction with monetary damages; or
- Prior to initiating foreclosure on an owner's interest.
ADR (mediation or arbitration) is not required:
- If going to small claims court.
- If preliminary or temporary injunctive relief is necessary.
- If filing suit for delinquent assessments, unless requested by a member related to disputed assessments or charges.
An attorney representing a person in a mediation must provide his or her client as soon as reasonably possible before the client agrees to participate in mediation with a printed disclosure, containing the confidentiality restrictions related to mediation and obtain a printed acknowledgment signed stating that he or she has read and understands the confidentiality restrictions.
If a party unreasonably refuses to participate in alternative dispute resolution and the case proceeds to court, the court can take that into consideration when it comes to the amount of any award.
At the commencement of litigation, the party filing the action must include a certification stating that one or more of the following conditions is satisfied:
- ADR has been completed,
- Other party did not accept ADR, or
- Preliminary or temporary injunctive relief is necessary.