Cross-Complaint is Separate Action Subject to Mediation Requirement

  Unpublished opinions, while not a source of law which can be cited, point to published opinions and are valuable in understanding different scenarios in which well settled law has been applied. They also contain legal arguments which have been successful on appeal. I regularly review them. I am surprised how frequently they aid to my understanding of issues which are presented in my current cases.

  One such case is the unpublished opinion in Castleton Real Estate v. Tai-Fu California Partnership. Castleton sued Tai-Fu for real estate commissions under an exclusive listing agreement for the sale of real property. The agreement contained an attorney fee provision and also required mediation. The trial court found Castleton’s failure to request mediation before filing its complaint, as required by the fee provision, barred recovery of fees for both prosecution of its complaint and defending against the cross-complaint filed by Tai-Fu. On appeal, Castleton contended it was entitled to fees for its defense against the cross-complaint, as that initiated a separate action. The appellate court agreed. Continue reading

Mediate Claims Against Homeowner Associations

   I received an email a few weeks ago from a homeowner who wanted to file suit against his homeowner association. I suggested that he might want to review the CC&Rs which may require an alternate method of dispute resolution, and which usually contain an attorney fee and cost provision. I also advised him of Civil Code section 1354 which provides that in any action to enforce the governing documents of a common interest development — the pevailing party shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. Continue reading