Homeowners and homeowner associations are not necessarily bound by arbitration provisions in a declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions, or in a related purchase agreement, where the developer is the initial and only declarant. That is the implication of a July 30th ruling of the Fourth District of the California Court of Appeal. In Pinnacle Museum Tower Association v. Pinnacle Market Development (US) LLC, a homeowner association brought a construction defect suit on behalf of itself and its members for damage to common areas. The developer of the condominium project attempted to block the suit, claiming the plaintiff was bound to an arbitration provision recorded in the project CC&R's. It argued the provision committed the Association to resolve all construction disputes through arbitration and waived the Association’s right to a jury trial. The purchase and sale agreements signed by the individual condominium owners also contained a jury waiver and a provision compelling owners to comply with the arbitration provision in the CC&R's. But the court concluded that the provision in the CC&R’s did not constitute an agreement sufficient to wave the Association's constitutional right to a jury trial. And it found the corresponding provision in the purchase and sale agreement unconscionable and unenforceable against the individual owners.
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