In January of this year I posted the Nevada Supreme Court’s opinion on HOAs as public forums and the president as a limited-purpose public figure (NV supreme court upholds HOAs as public forums). Last month on an appeal (Olympia v. Kosor, No. A-17-765257-C (Nev. Ct. App. 2021) from the remand, to let the trial court hear the case on above issues, the appellate Court upheld the supreme courts findings and opinion.
The tremendous constitutional question of free political speech on issues of HOA governance was upheld. Finally! In doing so, the Court also held, citing several cases that [note 1],
- [the HOA] “is a quasi-government entity ‘paralleling in almost every case the powers, duties, and responsibilities of a municipal government.’”
- the Nevada Supreme Court has found the [the HOA] Board to be in the nature of a quasi-government entity largely paralleling the powers, duties, and responsibilities of a municipal entity and its meetings similar in function to a governmental body.
- homeowners’ associations open meetings are public forums as such associations play ’a critical role in making and enforcing rules affecting the daily lives of [community] residents.’”
- “the HOA meetings at which Kosor made certain of the statements at issue were ‘public forums’ … because the meetings were ‘open to all interested parties, and … a place where members could communicate their ideas. Further, the…meetings served a function similar to that of a governmental body.”
- In deciding this Motion, this Court also concludes Plaintiffs at least constitute limited-purpose public figures.
- The test for determining whether someone is a limited public figure includes examining whether a person’s role in a matter of public concern is voluntary and prominent.” [as is the case with HOA boards and presidents]
- the issues Defendant raised involve efforts to encourage homeowner participation in and oversight of the governance of Southern Highlands, “an inherently political question of vital importance to each individual and to the community as a whole.”
. . . .
Your HOA cannot stop your free speech if you argue Kosor! Just be careful about making harsh, accusatory statements that violate elements of defamation that will defeat your free speech.
NOTE 1. Damon v. Ocean Hills Journalism Club, 102 Cal. Rptr. 2d 205, 214 (2000); Cohen v. Kite Hill Cmty. Ass’n, 191 Cal. Rptr. 209, 214 (1983); Pegasus v. Reno Newspapers, Inc., 57 P.3d 82, 91 (2002).