Analogy To California Homeowner ‘s Bill Of Rights Fee-Shifting Scheme Unavailing On Appeal.
In Artus v. Gramercy Towers Condominium Assn., Case No. A147297 (1st Dist., Div. 1 Jan. 24, 2018) (published), plaintiff homeowner sued HOA claiming it illegally failed to enforce cumulative voting standards under governing documents. The trial court granted homeowner a preliminary injunction on two of her three statutory claims, but she eventually lost on the merits. HOA then held a second a meeting at which direct, rather than cumulative, voting was passed by a substantial margin, such that the same adverse result occurred—leading the trial judge to deny any permanent injunctive relief. Homeowner moved for statutory attorney’s fees under the Davis-Stirling Act, Civil Code section 5145, which the trial court denied.
Homeowner did not get them on appeal. She made a pitch to the appellate court that interim provisional victories should make her the “prevailing party,” much like the result under the California Homeowner’s Bill of Rights, by analogy. The reviewing court disagreed, finding that nothing in the Davis-Stirling Act allowed recovery for interim successes, such that the “prevailing party” determination had to await the end of the litigation. Since homeowner lost on the merits at the end of the day, no fee entitlement was in order under section 5145.