Adrian Adams, a California CAI member attorney has spread the word about HOA manager UPL activities. And the word will continue to be spread to all states since they all has UPL rules. This blog entry follows just a week after my Commentary, Final Order: HOA management firm engaged in unauthorized practice of law, was published.
In the June 24, 2012 of the Davis-Stirling.com eNewsletter, “Managers Practicing Law.” Adams offers the following advice to HOA boards,
Directors will have difficulty convincing a jury that seeking legal advice from a manager was prudent. . . . When asked for legal advice, a manager should always recommend that the board seek legal counsel. Doing so protects both the manager and the board.
Let’s step outside the box! UPL supreme court rules have been around for many, many years in all states. During all this time, where were and what were the CAI self-proclaimed HOA legal experts doing? Did these experts not know about state supreme court rules on UPL? Well, that’s no excuse, if true.
If homeowners can be held accountable under CC&Rs that need only be recorded at the county clerk’s office, sight unseen and without an explicit buyer signature, why should these attorneys escape accountability for negligence to their HOA clients?
CAI is the national lobbying entity, whose members have repeatedly gone before state legislatures to propose statutes governing HOAs on behalf of all the HOAs and homeowners. (CAI has a miniscule number of homeowners as members, at most 30,000 of some 25,000,000 HOA families). And CAI attorneys often take the word of the HOA manager with respect to the validity of legal action, without the independent review required by civil court rules that the action is based on facts and the law (Rule 11(a), Signing of Pleadings).
The CAI attorney silence is disgraceful and violates the rules of civil procedure and professional code of conduct. Ethical rule 3.1, Organization as Client, of the code of professional conduct, specifically relates to the attorney’s awareness of illegal conduct by the client or “other person associated with the organization,” and 2.1, Advisor, whereby candid advice on moral and ethical issues may be rendered to the client.
I wonder what the reaction is from those 9 states that use CAI to license managers: Alaska, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, and Virginia. Or from those towns, like in Arizona, who sponsor CAI seminars on good governance.
This egregious conduct is another solid example of the true nature of CAI’s involvement in the HOA governance industry. It is unquestionably in the self-interest of its members, both its attorney and its management firm members.