Do HOA foreclosures violate 14th Amendment?

A US Supreme Court case, State Farm v. Campbell, 538 U.S. 408, on the topic of punitive damages has bearing on the Radcliff foreclosure in California, and on other HOA foreclosure cases. Here’s what the USSC said in 2003:

“Compensatory damages are intended to redress a plaintiff’s concrete loss, while punitive damages are aimed at the different purposes of deterrence and retribution. The Due Process Clause prohibits the imposition of grossly excessive or arbitrary punishments on a tortfeaser … Punitive damages awards serve the same purpose as criminal penalties … However, because civil defendants are not accorded the protections afforded criminal defendants, punitive damages pose an acute danger of arbitrary deprivation of property …”



This was an insurance case, won by the inurance company, with a ratio of 145:1 in punitive damages that the Court denied. The foreclosure against the Radcliff’s was for $120 debt and the loss of home equity was some $285,000, representing over a 2,000:1 punishment.


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Published in: on October 28, 2004 at 2:01 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Sir, please include SC in your artcles, York SC Court is well known for their ‘errors and commisions’, 95% the judges side with the atty for de HOAs. This court inflicts unusual punishments to the home owners; in court home owners when tried to defend themselves are called, “retarded’, Summary Jusgement is given to the per se cases because they are not lawyers and Summary Judgement when there are several issues issues pendant. Mark

  2. This requires more info please ……I couldn’t understand all the legal terms so I really can’t understand what the court was actually saying..can you enlighten me???
    vicki

    • The 8th Amendment says, “nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” The Supreme Court said that a punitive damage award in excess of 10 times the actual damage to the victim is a violation of the 8th Amendment — a cruel and unusual punishment.

      With respect to HOA foreclosures, we see many, many times punitive damages — loss of all the homeowner’s equity — far in excess of the 10 times criteria. I argue that HOA foreclosures are also a cruel and unusal punishment in violation of the 8th Amendment, especially since the HOA has not advanced any hard cash, nor is it a legal — de jure — public entity.

  3. […] Do HOA foreclosures violate 14th Amendment? […]


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