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Litigation Update

Litigation Update
Please recall that on July 31, 2019, the Walnut Country Swim Team Committee filed a lawsuit against the Cowell Homeowners Association to stop the Board and the Association Members from deciding whether WCST’s exclusive use of the Association’s main pool and kiddie pool interfered with the Members’ property rights to access and use the pool facilities.  Because WCST initiated this litigation, the Association must participate in the legal proceedings.  The Association has no power to dismiss this lawsuit and has no choice but to defend the rights of all Members in this community.
On August 15, 2019, legal counsel for the Cowell Homeowners Association and the Walnut Country Swim Team (“WCST”) appeared in Contra Costa Superior Court to attend a hearing on the Walnut Country Swim Team’s request for a preliminary injunction.  An injunction is an order issued by the Court telling a party to do – or not do – something.  Injunctions can be issued on a temporary, preliminary or permanent basis.  The WCST requested that the Court issue an order preliminarily halting the Board’s decision to (1) require that the WCST establish a legal business entity that would relieve the Association of any associated liabilities, (2) put the exclusive use of the Common Area issue to a membership vote, and (3) otherwise change the “status quo” until the legal issues could be resolved through a trial on the merits.  Both sides filed documents and declarations in support of their positions. At the hearing, the Judge ruled in favor of the WCST and granted the preliminary injunction while the case continues.  The judge’s ruling stated: “If denial of an injunction would result in great harm to the plaintiff, and the defendants would suffer little harm if it were granted, then it is an abuse of discretion to fail to grant the preliminary injunction.”
We encourage Members to consider the source of all information they are receiving, and in particular avoid relying upon the biased opinions of third parties who have reached inaccurate conclusions about the details of this ruling.  The Court was definitely concerned about the immediate impact of the Board’s decisions on WCST.  However, there was no discussion regarding the validity of the exclusive use of Common Area ballot that has been distributed to the membership.  There was no discussion regarding WCST’s violation of the Members’ non-exclusive easement rights to use the main pool and kiddie pool.  Similarly, there was no determination made on whether the WCST has a legal right to continue to function as a committee of the Association. Furthermore, WCST has acknowledged that it cannot continue to pay WCST’s attorney fees out of the Association’s bank accounts.  While we understand WCST’s interest in advocating for its position, we do not believe that anyone benefits from the dissemination of inaccurate or outright false information.
As indicated before, court records are public and are capable of being reviewed by the members.  The Association has every intention of respecting the Judge’s ruling on this matter.  Having said that, the Board wants the Members to decide whether WCST can continue to monopolize the pool during the spring and summer months.  The Association will make every effort to reach a mediated result in this matter, but WCST needs to respect that every Member has a right to use the pools and the Membership should not be subsidizing a swim team largely comprised of non-members.  The Board thanks the Membership for its continued patience through this difficult process.