Business Law

Ask a business lLawyer. Get business law questions answered ASAP.

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

This answer was rated:

I am a member of a Home Owners Association of a Condominium…

I am a member of...
I am a member of a Home Owners Association of a Condominium Complex (HOA). After reviewing the books I found several discrepancies which turned out the board of directors was using HOA money to remodel the condos they owned. I sued, however my attorney messed up the case and settled with the HOA. After the matter as settled the HOA began retaliatory actions against me. (Towed my truck renumbered my car port, took back a car space I purchased, refused repairs to the outside of my unit, used an emergency key and walked into my unit during dinner, fined me, indicated I was late in HOA dues multiple times yet the bank verified the check was cashed by the HOA, and it goes on.) Because my attorney within the Final Resolution indicated all "future" matters had to be by Mediation/Arbitration I am now filing a Motion to Compel to get them to Mediation on harassment. (I have sent them 8 letters asking them to go to Mediation and SMU has contacted them and the HOA refuses.) Question: The harassment is very easily proven, yet what damages may I ask for? In Texas, what are the practical dollar limits what can Mediate for very egregious harassment? What case law is there for harassment? What settlement amounts were awarded in those cases or others?
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Business Law Question
Answered in 11 minutes by:
1/16/2018
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 126,758
Experience: All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
Verified

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only. Please feel free to ignore any phone service request, the expert does not send those unless asked by customer and they are sent by the site automatically.

If they are harassing you and filing claims against you since you filed a complaint against them, then this can fall under the Texas Anti-SLAPP legislation which prevents them from filing false or frivolous claims against you to stop you from speaking out against them. See: Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code, Chapter 27, which states:

  • The statue allows a judge to dismiss frivolous lawsuits filed against one who speaks out about a “matter of public concern” within the first 60 days. “Matter of public concern” is defined expansively in the statute.
  • The Anti-SLAPP motion is supported by affidavits explaining to the court that the lawsuit is based on, relates to, or is in response to one’s exercise of his right to free speech, right to petition or right of association.
  • The burden of proof is initially on the party who files the Anti-SLAPP motion to establish (by a preponderance of the evidence) that the lawsuit was filed in response to the exercise of his First Amendment rights. Then the burden shifts to the plaintiff to establish (by clear and specific evidence) a prima facie case for each essential element of the claim.
  • The statute creates a stay of discovery in a lawsuit while an Anti-SLAPP motion is pending and/or appealed. The court has discretion to order discovery pertaining to the motion if it feels it is necessary.
  • The statute provides for mandatory fee shifting when a party wins an Anti-SLAPP motion so that the person or entity wrongfully filing a lawsuit must pay the defense costs. There is a discretionary fee award if the Court finds that the Anti-SLAPP motion was frivolous or brought solely for the purpose of delaying the proceedings.
  • The statute provides an immediate right to an expedited appeal if the Anti-SLAPP motion is denied.
  • The statute applies to lawsuits or “legal actions” (which includes claims and counterclaims that implicate First Amendment rights) filed on or after June 17, 2011.
  • The exemptions contained in the statute are for enforcement actions brought by the State or law enforcement, for commercial speech and for wrongful death and bodily injury lawsuits.

The damages you can ask for would be based on the damages you can prove you suffered. AS far as settlement amounts they are all over the place, because everyone has different amounts of damages.

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page, as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Thank you.

Ask Your Own Business Law Question
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
The HOA has not filed any claims against me. Here is what they have done: The HOA sends me a letter. I am being assessed $50.00 late fee for late payment of HOA dues. I get the bank to send them a letter indicating the check for HOA dues was cashed by the HOA. I check my account, the fees are still on my account. Several months go by, I receive another letter indicating I have been assessed $50.00 late fee for late payment of HOA dues. Again, the bank sends them a letter indicating the check was cashed by the HOA. Several months go by, and the HOA does the same thing. I need external repairs on my unit, the HOA does not even acknowledge the request for repairs. Yet other Homeowners when they request repairs, they get them. So, what monetary loss have I had, for this, none. I have never paid the late fees. When the took the car space away from me which I had purchased, that's worth maybe say $5000.00. I wrote them a letter and they just refused to give it back. When they towed my truck, 3 times, maybe $500.00 total to get it back. In some cases they tow it to another spot on the property and then assess me $50.00 for towing charge. Which I have never paid. And it continues. My second car space, car port, was renumbered and I was told if I park there I will be towed, again. So, no claims have been filed against me, and I have lost no monies to date because I have not paid the late fees assessed against me. I am out my car space but it has cost me no money today, as this was purchased 20 years ago. So, when you consistently harass someone as they are doing to me, and I have to Mediate based on a Resolution Agreement my previous attorney settled into, what are my options? And to what dollar figure can I mediate for? Is there any case law which is based on harassment itself without the plaintiff actually having spent money because of what the harasser has done?

Thank you for your reply.

Those are claims against you. You need to send them a letter telling them that they are frivolously harassing you since you filed your legitimate complaint and that their continued conduct can lead to an anti-SLAPP claim as well as a harassment suit against them. The anti-SLAPP claims, because punitive damages can be awarded, can cost the HOA $50,000 or more. But remember, when you sue the HOA for damages, who pays? YOU as the owner pay part of the damages of judgments against the HOA.

A regular harassment suit would depend on the actual damages you have and if you cannot show the monetary loss, your claim is not worth very much and that is the problem with HOA's and that is also why these cases do not make it to court, because residents have to pay part of any judgment against the HOA.

Ask Your Own Business Law Question
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I understand I pay part of the settlement, but I cannot sue a member of the HOA board of directors. But the Board of Directors can take action against a member of the Board for allowing the actions and hence damages (if I get them) because of that member of the board's actions. Hence, I sue for $50,000.00 and win. This comes from the reserve account. If the HOA board wants their money back they can bring action against the member of the board who was in control of the harassment. So yes, indirectly I pay for the award, if I get one, but I will get a lot more reward than what I will pay (there are 300 units). What would be nice is to see a previous case in which the plaintiff was suing for harassment (via Anti-SLAPP) or under Texas Harassment statutes and see what was said that the plaintiff was awarded damages?

Thank you for your reply.

You can sue the member of the board directly if he is acting outside the scope of his duties, but if he is acting within the scope of his duties, he cannot be sued personally.

As far as your theory about how payment of a judgment works, the board will not sue the individual board member for payment, it will just come out for the dues you pay. You would get more reward than your share of what you have to pay.

The suits all mention harassment, but the ALL include anti-SLAPP claims as well, because the HOA taking action against you is to try to stop you from engaging in your right to public expression and free speech about the HOA. See: Serafine v. Blunt, 466 SW 3d 352 (Tex App 3rd Dist. 2015).

Ask Your Own Business Law Question
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Then at Mediation, based on punitive damages for actions taken against me by the HOA, is there amount set by law? Such as 3 times actual damages? If I were to add all the monies spent by me, first attorney fees included, I would approximate about $12000.00, based on the car space the HOA took back without due process at about $5000.00. So then based on this $12000.00 amount what would be rational to ask for in Mediation? (Again, I am going to Mediation because the previous attorney filed a Resolution Agreement which the judge signed as the Final Resolution which states all past and future matters are to be Mediated.)

Thank you for your reply.

No, the damages are not set by law, they need to be "reasonable" which is all the court requires of punitive damages. Three times actual damages is just a ball bark range of what a court thinks is reasonable for punitive damages.

Ask Your Own Business Law Question
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Apologies for not getting back, but I had one more related question. In the example of case law you gave, Serafine v. Blunt, it was pursuant to a property issue and the retaliation of issuing the lawsuit. In my case there was no lawsuit and never has been, is there a case where someone has found someone stealing money or by their practice or what they did and by one calling notice to this stealing or practice retaliation then commenced against that party for pointing out that stealing or practice? And within that the plaintiff sued and the anti-slap law was used and the court found in favor of the plaintiff? I am trying to configure my arguments to the mediator in line with what would happen at trial since I would be mediating damages based on all the things that were perpetrated against me.

Thank you for your reply.

There does not have to be a lawsuit, you mentioned that multiple times, but I told you, the issue is that they are punishing you and fining you, which is the same as them suing in court. So, your arguments you are being harassed would also be grounds for your claims and that they are harassing you to stop you from filing claims against them and that is why it falls under the Anti-SLAPP.

Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 126,758
Experience: All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
Verified
Law Educator, Esq. and 87 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Was this answer helpful?

How JustAnswer works

step-image
Describe your issueThe assistant will guide you
step-image
Chat 1:1 with a business lawyerLicensed Experts are available 24/7
step-image
100% satisfaction guaranteeGet all the answers you need
Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 126,758
126,758 Satisfied Customers
Experience: All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.

Law Educator, Esq. is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem.

TonyApopka, FL

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Infolawyer

Infolawyer

Attorney

2,032 satisfied customers

Experienced lawyer

Dimitry K., Esq.

Dimitry K., Esq.

Attorney

1,611 satisfied customers

Run my own successful business/contract law practice.

MShore Law

MShore Law

Attorney

1,233 satisfied customers

Drafted Negotiated and/or Reviewed Thousands of Commercial Agreements

RGMacEsq

RGMacEsq

Attorney

778 satisfied customers

Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney

Barrister

Barrister

Attorney

683 satisfied customers

17 years practicing attorney, JD, BA, MBA

Ely

Ely

Attorney

604 satisfied customers

Counselor at Law.

J.Hazelbaker

J.Hazelbaker

Attorney

393 satisfied customers

Experienced and trained in the area of business law.

< Previous | Next >

Related Business Law Questions
A Bill of Review, I believe, has a statute of limitations of
A Bill of Review, I believe, has a statute of limitations of 4 years. Is there any exception to this? Can you petition a Bill of Review after 5 years under certain circumstances?… read more
Richard - Bizlaw
Richard - Bizlaw
Juris Doctor
3,773 satisfied customers
If you have a Court Ordered mediation, and you try
If you have a Court Ordered mediation, and you try consecutively to get the other party to agree to a date for the Mediation, and they never do, you can Motion For Enforcement by Contempt or Motion fo… read more
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq.
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
126,758 satisfied customers
I am trying to write a Motion For Contempt. In a civil case,
I am trying to write a Motion For Contempt. In a civil case, a Final Resolution was signed by Judge WIllis, Collin County, in the Resolution "..all past, present and future issues are to be mediated..… read more
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq.
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
126,758 satisfied customers
I am a member of a Home Owners Association of a Condominium
Second opinion] I am a member of a Home Owners Association of a Condominium Complex (HOA). After reviewing the books I found several discrepancies which turned out the board of directors was using HOA… read more
Ely
Ely
Attorney
Juris Doctor
604 satisfied customers
I have a Case Management ADR appointment on Nov 8th. I am
I have a Case Management ADR appointment on Nov 8th.I am representing myself. What should I expect?The ADR was requested by the plaintiff's attorney. Does this mean that I not going to court, and that… read more
lawyerJ
lawyerJ
Juris Doctorate
164 satisfied customers
I bought a pickup at www.copart.com they have 162 facilities
Hi. so i bought a pickup at www.copart.com they have 162 facilities i live in Portland Oregon this site is an action where insurance agency sells there cars thru. so i bit online at Pasco Washington f… read more
CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
8,845 satisfied customers
I recently filed a small claims law suit against my HOA
Hi, I recently filed a small claims law suit against my HOA regarding reimbursement for water damages in which I incurred this past winter. I did not hire an attorney and I represented myself in the s… read more
P. Simmons
P. Simmons
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
37,243 satisfied customers
My daughter-in-law is pro se in a District Court case in Colorado.
My daughter-in-law is pro se in a District Court case in Colorado. I have been helping her with legal research. Her mediation is tomorrow. She will hire an attorney if the case does not settle at the … read more
Richard - Bizlaw
Richard - Bizlaw
Juris Doctor
3,773 satisfied customers
My partners and I are having a mediation session to resolve
My partners and I are having a mediation session to resolve disputes over tax issues. My partner wants to bring a tax attorney that he knows. Can the information exchanged during the mediation session… read more
Law Pro
Law Pro
Doctoral Degree
19,000 satisfied customers
As I mentioned above Im a guarantor on a construction loan
As I mentioned above I'm a guarantor on a construction loan for a condo project that went bad during the recession. The original bank went under and along with the FDIC a new bank took over. The prope… read more
mclemorelawyer
mclemorelawyer
Doctoral Degree
4 satisfied customers
I am considering using mediation or arbitration to dispute
I am considering using mediation or arbitration to dispute a consulting agreement with a client. What are the typical costs, fees, time, and do I need an attorney with me? I have had a tough time figu… read more
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq.
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
126,758 satisfied customers
I have a question regarding regarding payment / final payment
I have a question regarding regarding payment / final payment to a General Contractor I hired to do a substantial amount of work (~$180k) for designing and remodeling my kitchen and master-bath. The c… read more
Michael
Michael
Founding Member and Lead Attorney
Doctoral Degree
58 satisfied customers
Ok, case update. THis matter was sent to binding arbitration
Ok, case update. THis matter was sent to binding arbitration in may of 2011. I won on a conversion charge and return of the money plus interest since 2006. The guy that sued me has no money. He took t… read more
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq.
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
126,758 satisfied customers
Our HOA President is currently employed by a Law Firm. Within
Our HOA President is currently employed by a Law Firm. Within the past year, this President decided to hire this same Law Firm to represent the HOA for all legal matters. In addition, the President us… read more
LawGuy
LawGuy
Juris Doctor
123 satisfied customers
Is it possible to stop discovery proceedings involving an attorney
Is it possible to stop discovery proceedings involving an attorney and file a claim in conciliation court? What is the procedure and the consequences?… read more
Joseph Leon
Joseph Leon
Member
Juris Doctorate
270 satisfied customers
A contractor built a building for my business & after the deal
A contractor built a building for my business & after the deal was paid he is now demanding additional payment for extra items some of which I am willing to pay but also for some additional items whic… read more
Law Pro
Law Pro
Doctoral Degree
19,000 satisfied customers
I have a lawsuit pending with my former employer. I received
I have a lawsuit pending with my former employer. I received a letter from my attorney saying that "a mediation in my matter has been scheduled," what does this mean?… read more
ADillon
ADillon
286 satisfied customers
What is the different between mediation and arbitration If
What is the different between mediation and arbitration? If I can't keep up with my lawyer's bill, is it o.k to have him postpone the work and ask the judge to postpone it for one month before we can … read more
N Cal Atty
N Cal Atty
Doctoral Degree
59 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x