Although the Arizona Supreme Court has not yet decided to hear Tarter v. Bend (CV 21-0049), my 44 page Pro Se amicus curiae brief is a matter of public record, regardless. The case about a defamation suit by the HOA president, also an attorney and a limited-purpose public figure, raised constitutional issues of public speech with respect to questions of HOA governance.
Selected excerpts follow.
As with the issue in Dombey (Dombey v. Phoenix Newspapers, Inc) . . . failing to present the question of Tarter’s status as a possible public figure denied the jury from considering the issues of protected free speech on public issues.
Kosor (NV) was sued on the basis of his criticism and distribution of a pamphlet and letter at a board meeting seeking a seat on the board of directors.
“Because we conclude that each of Kosor’s statements was “made in direct connection with an issue of public interest in a place open to the public or in a public forum,” we reverse the district court’s decision to the contrary and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”
The impetus behind this view can be laid to the heavy lobbying of state legislators, judges, the public and the media by the Community Associations Institute (CAI). From its 2016 white paper,
“Most legislators do not thoroughly understand common-interest communities or who their patchwork legislation is actually protecting. . . . Legislative responses to individual constituents contribute to community associations being perceived as over-restrictive micro-governments focused on covenant enforcement.”
In response to my Arizona Supreme Court pro se amicus brief in Gelb v. DFBLS (CV-10-0371-PR) CAI attorney Jason Smith wrote,
“It is clear from the that the amicus curiae [referring to me] simply wants to impose constitutional protections on members in homeowners associations. The law has never supported that proposition.”
[I called to the Court’s attention a question of a SLAPP lawsuit against Brendt.] The issue of an HOA SLAPP lawsuit against a member is in the interest of general public and of statewide importance, and also of national concern, the impact on community associations is certainly substantial. This Court should, sua sponte, consider Tarter’s legal action as a HOA politically motivated strategic lawsuit against member participation.
I urge the Court to apply the long overdue correction of Plessy v. Ferguson by Brown v. Bd of Education to the long overdue and needed corrections to the unconstitutional HOA legal scheme. As with Brown, America’s culture and environment has changed dramatically from 1964’s Homes Association Handbook and the formation in 1973 of Community Associations Institute (CAI) to deal with rising HOA problems and constitutional concerns after only 9 years.