Last week the Nevada Supreme Court, in Kosor,[i] citing California Davis-Stirling law and Damon[ii] and Kite Hill[iii] opinions, affirmed HOAs as public forums. Issues relating to HOA governance are matters of public interest protected by free political speech.
In short, legitimate and valid criticisms of your HOA and its president and board are protected from HOA lawsuits of defamation and libel. At heart: Are the statements made in good faith and truthful?
Kosor filed an anti-slapp motion in defense that argues that the statements at issue were protected under free public speech — statements that were of general interest to the public. In summary, here’s what the Court upheld, following California’s rulings and law.
“Accordingly, we conclude that Kosor met his prima facie burden to demonstrate that the statements in question were all made in public forums on a matter of public interest.
“Nextdoor.com post qualifies as a public forum for the purposes of anti-SLAPP protections. . . .these steps [Kosor’s statements] do not seem to differ significantly from that which might be required to view posts on Facebook; that is, a post on Nextdoor.com is as compatible with expressive activity as one on the other platform, which we have already held can support a public forum.
“The HOA here is no less of ‘a quasi-government entity’ than that in Damon, ‘paralleling in almost every case the powers, duties, and responsibilities of a municipal government.’”
“it appears that Kosor’s post, like his HOA meeting commentary, campaign flyer, and printed letter, sought to open conversation among Southern Highlands community members and enlist their participation in the community’s decision-making process.
Does your state protect your right to dissent in an HOA? Why not?
[i] Kosor v. Olympia Companies, NV No, 75669 (Dec. 31, 2020).
[ii] Damon v. Ocean Hills Journalism Club, 102 Cal. Rptr. 2d 205 (Ct. App. 2000).
[iii] Cohen v. Kite Hill Cmty. Ass’n, 191 Cal. Rptr. 209 (Ct. App. 1983).