American Flag

The governing documents may not limit or prohibit the display of the United States flag on or in the owner’s separate interest or exclusive use common area, except as needed to protect public health or safety. (Civ. Code §4705; Govt. Code §434.5; 4 U.S.C. § 5) Certain noncommercial signs and flags are also permissible in common interest developments. (Civ. Code §4710) See each statute for specific requirements and limitations.

Attorney-Client Privilege

The attorney-client privilege is perhaps one of the most valuable tools to a board. This privilege protects communications between the association’s attorney and the board of directors. This ensures the board can be candid and forthright in their discussions with their attorney. It is important to keep in mind that this privilege only exists so long as the communication itself, the contents of the communication or the content of the communication are not divulged to non-board members.

Annual Policy Statement

Every year, pursuant to Civil Code section 5310, community associations are required to provide their members with Annual Policy Disclosures. These disclosures range from the association’s discipline policy to their delinquent assessment policy. These disclosures must be provided to members no more than 90 and no less than 30 days prior to the end of the association’s fiscal year.

Attorney General

The most common situation in which a common interest development becomes involved with the California Attorney General is when someone, usually a member, files a complaint with the Attorney General’s office alleging some failure to comply with the provisions of the Corporations Code dealing with member meetings (§7510 et seq.), voting and elections (§7610 et seq.) or inspection of corporate records (§8210 et seq.). The Attorney General will send a notice of the complaint to the corporation which has 30 days to answer. If the Attorney General does not believe the answer is satisfactory, the Attorney General may take various actions and seek remedies for apparent violations.

Attorneys’ Fees

Compensation for legal services performed by a lawyer or law firm personnel at the request of a client, in or out of court. Attorneys’ fees may be billed on an hourly, flat-rate or contingent fee. In litigation, attorneys’ fees are separate from fines, compensatory and punitive damages, and court costs. In the instance of a lawsuit, attorney fees are not paid by the losing party to the winning party except pursuant to specific statutory or contractual rights.

Agenda

The Open Meeting Act requires each board meeting to contain the meeting agenda. (Civ. Code §4920(d)) This requirement applies to both executive and open session board meetings, with limited exceptions for emergency meetings. In general, the board may not discuss or take action on any item at a non-emergency meeting unless the item was placed on the agenda included with the notice for that meeting. (Civ. Code §4930(a)) Limited exceptions exist for cursory and/or emergency action on non-agenda items. (Civ. Code §4930(b)(c)(d)) Boards should especially exercise caution in determining an appropriate level of detail for the executive session agenda, so as not to publish confidential or privileged information. See each statute for specific requirements and limitations.

Anti-SLAPP Motion

SLAPP stands for “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.” A SLAPP lawsuit is one that is filed against a person or organization to chill their right under the US Constitution to Free Speech and/or Freedom of Petition. An anti-SLAPP Motion is a motion brought under Civil Code §425.16 to dismiss a SLAPP lawsuit.