class action against HOA? not really

For those wondering about class action suits, they are only possible within an HOA IF 40 plus members sign-on. Here’s a summary of requirements:

The Georgia Federal District Court held that the Plaintiff met the four requirements for class certification under Federal Rule 23(a), specifically:

  1. Numerosity – Plaintiffs allege more than 100 class members and 40 is generally sufficient;
  2. Commonality – the excess interest rate charges is common and can be “uniformly determined” and the excess sums charges is a close decision, but for now the Plaintiffs meet this “low burden”;
  3. Typicality – The claims of Plaintiffs are typical of the claims of the class; and
  4. Adequate Representation – the Plaintiffs can adequately protect the interests of those they purport to represent, and the Court did not find any conflict of interest as argued by Defendant.

As for CAI, it’s possible for a RICO again, IF, the above criteria are met. Given the lack of involvement by HOA groups across the country, this is not going to happen.

AZ class action against HOA management firms for unauthorized practice of law

A class action suit was filed in Maricopa County, AZ against numerous HOA management firms for the unauthorized practice of law resulting from their attempts to collect HOA debts.  The two plaintiffs allege against some 30 management firms, among other things,

Upon information and belief, the Defendants represented to the public and to members of the Class that they were acting with the full measure of authority reserved for licensed legal counsel for Defendants by negotiating debt on behalf of a third party, drafting, filing and/or preparing legal papers, including liens, debt collection letters, complaints, default judgment, judgments, and other debt collections activities which require the appearance of a licensed and authorized attorney; and charging fees for the foregoing activities. . . . Defendants actions directed at these Class Members constitute the unauthorized practice of law and are clear violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and Arizona law.

 

Crame v. 360 Management (Maricopa County Superior Court, CV 2012-095288, Sept. 10, 2012). The case has been moved to Federal Court.

A class action is undertaken when the number of victims is so numerous and who have basically the same allegations of wrongdoing. The two plaintiffs represent the class of homeowners who meet the following criteria,

 

All persons or entities who, at any time from August 1, 2006 to the present (the “Class Period”), were members of a Homeowners’ Association or like entity and who were pursued for an alleged debt owed to that Homeowners’ Association or like entity by any of the Defendants or other Community Management Companies who purported to pursue collections against said persons or entities without proper legal representation and/or on behalf of their third party HOA/Condo customers and/or who improperly held themselves out to be an attorney.

  

Related information

Class Action Filed Against AZ HOA Management Companies (Attorney Roger Wood blog)

UPL 12-01 – Scope of Legal Services to HOA’s (March 2012) (State Bar Advisory Opinion)

Final Order: HOA management firm engaged in unauthorized practice of law (AAM, LLC  was the defendant.  Still not made public info on the Supreme Court or State Bar web pages.)

 

PLEASE pass this on to others who may have claims against the HOA management firms.