Is There Such a Thing as an Honest Lawyer?

I would bet dollars to donuts that not a single reader of this blog knows from this headline what I’m about to say!

Want to think about it for a second?

Remember, I have a large number of lawyers and law firms following this blog. Any guesses?

OK, here goes this intrepid reporter barefoot into the coals. But first, let’s inject a second hypothetical question.

In a pending court case in which not a single detail has been discussed or released, in a case where all a prospective attorney knows is that the potential client is pitted against a Homeowners Association, wouldn’t it be logical to assume that most lawyers would be willing to represent either side?

Certainly, an honest and ethical attorney is going to acknowledge up front that he may have a conflict of interest, right? Of course. And rare is the lawyer who overlooks this fundamental act of decency and ethics.

But what if an anxious homeowner looking for a lawyer to represent him against a Homeowner Association has to make ten or twenty calls to find an attorney who is not affiliated in some way with the HOA industry? Might it appear that the odds are heavily stacked against the homeowner regardless of the merits of the case?

Finally, let’s toss one final ingredient into the stew. There is a massively powerful private organization that each year funnels billions of dollars into litigation and legal representation of Homeowners Associations. Billions and billions and billions of dollars.

Now let’s revise our original headline:

Does the Average Homeowner Believe There’s an Honest Lawyer?

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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2 Comments

Filed under HOA, HOA Horror Stories, Homeowners Association

2 responses to “Is There Such a Thing as an Honest Lawyer?

  1. anonymous

    > Finally, let’s toss one final ingredient into the stew.

    You ended your list to early. There are several more ingredients to toss into the stew.

    1. The HOA is using your own money against you. Your assessments (more commonly known as “HOA dues”) are being used to fund the association’s attorneys.

    Meanwhile, you are also responsible for funding your own legal costs up-front. Unless you have at least $50,000 in the bank to spare, you cannot afford justice.

    The association has no incentive to control legal costs — none whatsoever. They know they can outspend, and they know they can grind you down and financially ruin you, even when you are in the right.

    And the association’s lawyers, who get paid first, have every incentive to litigate and run up legal costs. They encourage their clients to do so.

    2. As the folks at http://www.ColoradoHoaForum.com have pointed out, the law provides for no penalty if an HOA breaks the law.

    In the extremely unlikely event that you prevail in court, you may not be entitled to monetary “damages,” or even be compensated for your legal costs or the value of your time. All you may get is an order from the court ordering the HOA to comply with its governing documents and/or law. And if the HOA fails to obey that order, you’ll have to go back to court to make them comply with the court order.

    Because of this, no attorney is going to represent a homeowner on a contingency basis. Again, no matter how right your case is, you’re going to need at least $50,000 to start.

    The HOA, however, is always entitled to monetary damages, since they have the power to fine you. Those fines, and the associated late fees and attorney fees, are considered monetary “damages” that the HOA has “suffered”. By failing to pay any fees or fines, you have “damaged” the association and the other home owners. It’s not common sense, but that’s how contract law works.

    3. In the even more unlikely event that you are awarded monetary damages from the association, the association will simply pass that cost on to the homeowners, including yourself. As the old saying goes, suing your HOA is like suing yourself.

    HOAs are like the face-hugger parasite from the movie “Alien”. Once they attach themselves to you, the creature’s “wonderful defense mechanism” makes it impossible to protect yourself from it.

  2. “HOAs are like the face-hugger parasite from the movie “Alien”. Once they attach themselves to you, the creature’s “wonderful defense mechanism” makes it impossible to protect yourself from it.”

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so

    http://www.righttoown.org/_/rsrc/1329070288546/home/defective-product/HOA_Alien_parasite_01.jpg

    ( published at http://www.RightToOwn.org on the “Defective Product” page )

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