Agenda Item 3
June 18,2013
Introduction
MEMORANDUM
June 14,2013
TO:
FROM:
County Council
Robert
H.
Drummer, Senior Legislative
Attomey~
SUBJECT:
Introduction:
Bill 19-13, Common Ownership Communities - Administrative
Hearing - Attorney's Fees
Bill 19-13, Common Ownership Communities - Administrative Hearing - Attorney's
Fees, sponsored by Councilmember Leventhal, is scheduled to be introduced on June 18. A
public hearing is scheduled for July 9 at 1:30 p.m.
Bill 19-13 would expand the authority of the Commission on Common Ownership
Communities to award attorney's fees to a prevailing party in certain disputes. Under current
law, the Commission can award attorney's fees to the prevailing party if the opposing party acts
in bad faith or if the association documents permit the award of attorney's fees. Since the
association documents normally only permit an award of attorney's fees to the association if it
prevails in a case enforcing the association documents, a unit owner or occupant who prevails in
a case against the association is rarely eligible for an award of attorney's fees. Bill 19-13 would
permit the Commission to award attorney's fees to a unit owner or occupant who prevails in a
dispute to enforce the association documents or a State or County law regulating common
ownership communities.
The Bill would expire on September 1, 2016 in order to permit the Council to evaluate
the Commission's new authority.
This packet contains:
Bill 19-13
Legislative Request Report
Circle
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Award Of Attorney's Fees\Intro Memo.Doc
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Bill No.
19-13
Concerning: Common
Ownership
Communities
Administrative
Hearing - Attorney's Fees
Revised: June 6, 2013
Draft No. _2_
Introduced:
June 18, 2013
Expires:
December 18,2014
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Ch. _ _, Laws of Mont. Co. _ _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
By: Councilmember Leventhal
AN
ACT to:
(1)
(2)
expand the authority of the Commission on Common Ownership Communities to
award attorney's fees to a prevailing party in certain disputes; and
generally amend the law governing common ownership communities.
By amending
Montgomery County Code
Chapter lOB, Common Ownership Communities
Section IOB-13
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
* * *
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deletedfrom existing law by original bill.
Added by amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existing law unaffected by bill.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act:
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BILL No. 19-13
1
Sec. 1. Section IOB-13 is amended as follows:
IOB-13.
Administrative hearing.
2
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*
(d)
*
*
The hearing panel may award costs, including [a] reasonable attorney's
[fee] fees, to any prevailing party
if~
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6
7
ill
[another] the losing party:
[(1)]
CA) filed or maintained a frivolous dispute, or filed or
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maintained a dispute in [other than good] bad faith;
[(2)]
an
unreasonably refused to [accept] participate
In
mediation of a dispute, or unreasonably withdrew from
ongoing mediation; or
[(3)]
(Q
substantially delayed or hindered the dispute resolution
process without good
cause[.]~
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ill
[The hearing panel may also award costs or attorney's fees if] an
association document so requires and the award is reasonable
under the
circumstances~
or
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19
ill
the prevailing
Pill!Y
is an owner or occupant of
£!
dwelling unit
who filed the dispute to enforce the association documents or
~
State or County law regulating common ownership communities.
The hearing panel may also require the losing party in a dispute to pay
all or part of the filing fee.
*
20
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*
*
Sec.2. The Amendments to Section 10B-I3 contained in Section 1 of this Act
apply to any dispute filed with the Commission after the date this Act takes effect.
Sec. 3. The Amendments to Section IOB-I3 contained in Section 1 ofthis Act
expire on September 1,2016.
(2)
t\law\bills\1319 eeoc - award of attorney's fees\bill 2.doc
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LEGISLATIVE REQUEST REPORT
Bill 19-13
Common Ownership Communities
-
Administrative Hearing Attorney's Fees
DESCRIPTION:
Bill 19-13 would expand the authority of the Commission on
Common Ownership Communities to award attorney's fees to a
prevailing party in certain disputes.
Under current law, an association is often eligible for an award of
attorney's fees if it prevails, but a unit owner or occupant is not.
.
Level the playing field between the association and a unit owner or
occupant in a dispute before the Commission.
Office of Consumer Protection and the Commission on Common
Ownership Communities.
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be researched.
Robert H. Drummer, 240-777-7895
To be researched.
PROBLEM:
GOALS AND
OBJECTIVES:
COORDINATION:
FISCAL IMPACT:
ECONOMIC
IMPACT:
EVALUATION:
EXPERIENCE
ELSEWHERE:
SOURCE OF
INFORMATION:
APPLICATION
WITHIN
MUNICIPALITIES:
PENALTIES:
Not applicable
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(j)