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Hot Bench arbitrators HIT California CONDO PRESIDENT PERSONALLY for PUNTING REPAIR REQUEST 2019/05/18 20:43  
This is not legal advice and certainly NOT California legal advice.

An unusual DAMAGE AWARD PERSONALLY AGAINST A CALIFORNIA CONDO PRESIDENT, has been granted by a so-called “reality television” arbitral panel watched by millions in North America.

Hot Bench’s American adversaries bindingly transfer their civil disputes to an arbitral panel of three American judges.

This diverts civil litigation away from conventional civil courts but can be humiliating for the adversaries. And sometimes outcomes are shocking. Procedure is "summary", not a jurisdiction's formal Rules of Civil Procedure. No - it's not binding precedent nor always sensible.

AGAINST HER CONDO PRESIDENT PERSONALLY, a California condo owner has persuaded the panel to award her $ 3 K (U.S. ) for future balcony repairs not yet done.

The shocker is that she sued only the President – not her condo corporation - and here obtains a personal judgment against him for the way he handled her request for approval to halt a balcony leaking onto the unit below hers !

The judicial arbitrators accepted plaintiff Kacie Anderson’s argument that Joe Gravina ( President of her Van Nuys California condo corporation ) had “tortiously interfered” with her relationship with the ( third party )condo corporation & other owners .

It took the judges only 85 seconds to decide that by refusing to submit to the full Board of Directors, owner Anderson’s application for consent to repair, President Joe Gravina had “tortiously interfered” with Anderson’s legal rights & remedies involving the non-litigated third party condo corporation.

( Canadian courts have been grudgingly loath to much open the doors to the so-called remedy for “tortious interference with third party relationships”. Could open a floodgate. Imagine how volunteer Directors will see this too. )

Even more unusual is that a volunteer Director could lose the corporate shielding from individual liability for what he argued was credible diligence instead of personal “bad faith”.

That from defendant Gravina the Condo Board itself had never received nor refused owner Anderson's request, shielded the Board itself. And shone a spotlight directly on condo Pres Gravina & on whether his handling of owner Anderson's request was entitled to be sheltered by "good faith".

But here right on camera self-represented Board President Joe Gravina’s personal shield slips when he dares to evidence an “animus” or strong personal dislike of the owner. One arbitral judge leaps all over that during deliberation.

This was cited to imply that his response - obstruction ? extra diligence ? - to the owner's application had NOT been “in good faith”.

It also didn’t help President Gravina that in frustration he was less than deferential to some of the arbitral inquisition. ( Pres. Gravina may have been the only one on the set with any grasp of exclusive use common elements & of his own governance docs. One judge even talked "tenants" - not "owners" ! )

Bottom line :

The Hot Bench panel judges didn’t buy Gravina’s defence that he had every Directoral ( ? personal business judgment ? ) right to refuse to submit to the FULL BOARD of DIRECTORS owner Anderson’s application for required consent to repair the balcony leak & possible common element cladding failure.

Among the “loose ends” left here :

From Gravina personally, Owner Anderson is awarded her lower cost estimate $3 K for the future work.

But will she actually apply it to even carry out the work not yet done ?

And given the President’s power on site, will she even get the required approval to even do the work from the Condo Board over which he still presides ? ( Small Claims scenarios do not usually have injunctive nor future prescriptive powers. )

Imagine where this outcome may lead on site, whether correct or not. Post decision Anderson & Gravina spar about running for the Board . . . .

Hot Bench broadcast May 14/19 : “Kacie Anderson v Joe Gravina personally” ; Case announced # 291 copyright Big Ticket Television / Queen Bee Productions / CBS TV distribution

One retrieval site labels it Episode 168 "HOA President out for blood ? "
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arbitrators HIT California CONDO PRESIDENT PERSONALLY 2019/05/21 12:03  
This “tort” remedy appears to be a tool to help disempowered stakeholders or minority victims of an oppression that otherwise might get skated onside as some sort of management Business Judgement. And yes – some of the same loose ends look prone to get left. Some judgments about this (generally), go back over a century.

Aside from “what should be the actual loss or injury ?”, there seems to other chronic loose ends.

Such as : Upfront is a claimant’s condo or other governance organization, actually a genuine arms length “THIRD PARTY” to be interfered with ? Exactly what’s being interfered with ? Is it some sort of a right to due process whose denial triggers compensation ? That’s as opposed to trying to unseat someone or lining up to seek a conventional court order for performance ?

And specifically : How long – for example – should a President or manager be allowed to conduct diligence before triggering the “tort” ? And what kind of diligence ?

This Van Nuys California owner may be lucky enough to live in a jurisdiction that seems to be friendly to the remedy.

Whatever the public policy benefits for Americans, some jurisdictions fear expanding the remedy to claims beyond heavy duty wrongdoing with harm done indirectly through wronged third parties . . . retaliation . . RICO type shenanigans . .

* Not legal advice : This is not an easy remedy to get in Ontario

ONCA shows narrowness of the 2014 S.C.C. Supreme Court of Canada pronouncement on the remedy ( Most recently at SCC that was A.I. Enterprises Ltd., et al. v. Bram Enterprises Ltd., et al. (New Brunswick) (Civil) (By Leave) SCC Docket 34863 )

This got kicked around by ONCA in CM Callow Inc. v. Zollinger et al 2018 ONCA 896 ( UPDATE : BUT Canada's Supreme Court has accepted to hear Callow's appeal from reversal at ONCA )

ONCA overturns initial lower court victory by Ottawa snowplow contractor Callow against Ottawa condo corp whose board members DID NOT pre-warn the expiring winter contract would NOT be renewed see Cafcor topic

ONCA in 2015 summarizes its view of AI v Bram 2014 in Gaur v. Datta, 2015 ONCA 151

ONCA 2016 for real heavy duty shenanigans ONCA upholds the theoretical availability of the remedy : Grand Financial Mgt v Solemio Transportation 2016 ONCA 175 ( Hardball threats to sue customers; shenanigans that are cited to divert funds on deposit in bank )
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An American forum discusses this reality TV episode & its tort remedy 2019/05/21 16:32  
May 19/19 topic

“millions see CONDO PRES PERSONALLY liable in tort Cal”
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