Bocchino v. Fountain Shadows Homeowners Ass’n – 4/3/2018

April 17, 2018

Arizona Court of Appeals Division One holds that homeowners association (“HOA”) may not unilaterally assess attorney fees against homeowner where HOA did not seek attorney fees and no attorney fees were assessed by the court.

An HOA obtained an injunction for workplace harassment against homeowner in an ex parte proceeding in justice court, without seeking an award of attorney fees, and without the justice court awarding fees.  The HOA proceeded to nonetheless assess attorney fees, and homeowner sued.  The superior court granted summary judgment to the homeowner and the HOA appealed.

The Court of Appeals affirmed.  Under A.R.S. § 12-810(O), a party that obtains an injunction against workplace harassment may be awarded attorney fees after notice to the affected party and a hearing on the fee amount.  A party that does not request attorney fees waives any claim for those fees.  This rule is not altered by a contractual entitlement to attorney fees that does not expressly state fees may be assessed without court order.

Judge Gemmill delivered the unanimous opinion of the court; Judge Brown and Judge Cruz joined.