What Is An Alternative Dispute Resolution? (CA)

An alternative dispute resolution is a way for homeowners association members to resolve conflicts without going through the traditional legal system. This can include mediation, arbitration, or collaborative law, often resulting in a quicker and less costly resolution for all parties involved.   Read the article………………………..

Nuts and Bolts of Videoconference Dispute Resolution in the Time of COVID-19 (CA)

By necessity, I have started to conduct mediations via videoconference. This was an unanticipated development in my practice. Our local rules in California’s Central District only contemplated that, at the discretion of the mediator, parties residing outside the Central District could have a representative with final settlement authority available by phone during the entire proceeding […]

Court of Appeal Upholds Pre-Litigation Arbitration Clause (CA)

We recently blogged about the importance of the the plain language of an association’s Declaration when following pre-litigation requirements to a construction defect claim. On March 18, 2019, the California Court of Appeal ruled that trial courts should not deny a homeowner of his right to submit a case to arbitration pursuant to the CC&Rs […]


There is an increasing trend by Developers, in an effort to avoid responsibility for construction defects, to insert provisions in the original Association governing documents which they draft that make it exceedingly difficult to pursue such claims against them. The significant harm of these ‘poison pill’ provisions was highlighted in the recent California Appellate Court […]

Arbitration Guide: Understanding the Process and Its Advantages

One of the biggest legal mysteries for non-lawyers, even for experienced and sophisticated businesspeople, is the process of arbitration. The term gets used a lot, but few actually know what the process entails, and most people are usually apprehensive about going through an arbitration in a way they aren’t with the public court process. But, […]

Mailboxes in Michigan Condominiums and HOAs

In many Michigan condominiums and HOAs, the governing documents contain a provision creating an Architectural Control Committee (“ACC”) tasked with maintaining the overall aesthetics of structures within the community. Normally, when an owner wishes to modify a structure, the owner may petition the association’s ACC for approval. If the owner is denied the requested modification, […]

Wait. This Is Arbitration? I Thought It Was Mediation

……I imagine this may have been similar to what the defendant in Marano v. The Hills Highlands Master Association, Inc. said when it received an unfavorable arbitration award. “Did you say binding arbitration? No. We were participating in non-binding mediation. Not arbitration.” Things worked out for Vincent Gambini in the movie, they did not work […]

Form Said ‘Mediation,’ But It Was Arbitration, Court Rules

An attempt to overturn an arbitration award based on one side’s claim that it believed it was engaged in mediation, not binding arbitration—an “unusual circumstance,” as the court put it—has failed.  “With the exception of the retired judge’s mistake in having the parties execute a document memorializing the terms of a ‘civil mediation,’ there is […]

Mediation and Arbitration Study for HOAs and Condos (NC)

The General Assembly met yesterday (August 3) to consider several issues remaining from the legislative session. Bills that would impact North Carolina’s homeowner and condominium associations weren’t really on the agenda, but one proposal was adopted that has a provision concerning community associations.   Read the article…………..

Got Conflict? Get Mediation!

Understanding what mediation is, how it works, the benefits for all parties, and the types of disputes that can be resolved with mediation, demonstrates how mediation can be an effective alternative to litigation.     Read the article………….

Maximize Mediation: A Guide to Saving Association Legal Fees

Community Managers wear many hats in their business relationship with the Associations they manage. They act as a liaison, a resource, and a consultant to help the Association Boards they serve to make decisions. Community Managers have the tough job of being personality neutral when disgruntled unit owners call them complaining about some problem they […]

Arbitration Ruling Illustrates Associations Cannot Impose Certain Rules, Prerequisites for Granting of Records Requests by Unit Owner

A recent arbitration ruling over a request to inspect the official records of a condominium association by a unit owner as prescribed under Florida law should serve as a reminder to all Florida community associations that they cannot impose rules and prerequisites that are outside of the scope of the statute to deny such requests. […]

Recent Arbitration Decision Offers Stern Warning to Associations Making Certain Alterations Without a Membership Vote

An arbitration decision rendered earlier this year by the State of Florida Division of Condominiums involving a dispute over alterations approved by a condominium board without a prior meeting and vote of the unit owners did not surprise our firm’s community association attorneys. We often find ourselves reminding association directors and property managers that the […]

A Rose by Any Other Name (Arbitration)

Most of the leading law school textbooks explain arbitration by describing a case where a party suffers a loss and there is a dispute between the insurance company and the insured. The insured typically places a high value on the subject of the loss, while the insurance company places a lower value. A third party […]

Conflict Resolution Insights: Why Conflicts Escalate

On two recent occasions, I have been involved in interactions that started with a minor miscommunication and quickly elevated to full-blown conflict. In both situations, the other person and I pretty quickly recognized what was happening, and we managed to get our communications back under control.   Read More……

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution with the goal of finding a solution and reaching an agreement that is acceptable to all parties involved. In some counties, mediation is mandatory and if a case becomes contested, the parties are ordered to attend mediation prior to scheduling a trial. In some instances, however, even […]