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5925 - 5965 Alternative Dispute Resolution Prerequisite to Civil Action

SECTION 5925-5965 

lternative Dispute Resolution Prerequisite to Civil Action

5925. As used in this article: 

(a) "Alternative dispute resolution" means mediation, arbitration, conciliation, or other nonjudicial procedure that involves a neutral party in the decisionmaking process. The form of alternative dispute resolution chosen pursuant to this article may be binding or nonbinding, with the voluntary consent of the parties. 

(b) "Enforcement action" means a civil action or proceeding, other than a cross-complaint, for any of the following purposes: 

(1) Enforcement of this act. 

(2) Enforcement of the Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation Law (Part 3 (commencing with Section 7110) of Division 2 of Title 1 of the Corporations Code). 

(3) Enforcement of the governing documents. 

5930. (a) An association or a member may not file an enforcement action in the superior court unless the parties have endeavored to submit their dispute to alternative dispute resolution pursuant to this article. 

(b) This section applies only to an enforcement action that is solely for declaratory, injunctive, or writ relief, or for that relief in conjunction with a claim for monetary damages not in excess of the jurisdictional limits stated in Sections 116.220 and 116.221 of the Code of Civil Procedure. 

(c) This section does not apply to a small claims action. 

(d) Except as otherwise provided by law, this section does not apply to an assessment dispute. 5935. 

(a) Any party to a dispute may initiate the process required by Section 5930 by serving on all other parties to the dispute a Request for Resolution. The Request for Resolution shall include all of the following: 

(1) A brief description of the dispute between the parties.

 (2) A request for alternative dispute resolution.

 (3) A notice that the party receiving the Request for Resolution is required to respond within 30 days of receipt or the request will be deemed rejected. 

(4) If the party on whom the request is served is the member, a copy of this article. 

(b) Service of the Request for Resolution shall be by personal delivery, first-class mail, express mail, facsimile transmission, or other means reasonably calculated to provide the party on whom the request is served actual notice of the request. 

(c) A party on whom a Request for Resolution is served has 30 days following service to accept or reject the request. If a party does not accept the request within that period, the request is deemed rejected by the party. 

5940. (a) If the party on whom a Request for Resolution is served accepts the request, the parties shall complete the alternative dispute resolution within 90 days after the party initiating the request receives the acceptance, unless this period is extended by written stipulation signed by both parties. 

(b) Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 1115) of Division 9 of the Evidence Code applies to any form of alternative dispute resolution initiated by a Request for Resolution under this article, other than arbitration. 

(c) The costs of the alternative dispute resolution shall be borne by the parties. 

5945. If a Request for Resolution is served before the end of the applicable time limitation for commencing an enforcement action, the time limitation is tolled during the following periods: (a) The period provided in Section 5935 for response to a Request for Resolution. 

(b) If the Request for Resolution is accepted, the period provided by Section 5940 for completion of alternative dispute resolution, including any extension of time stipulated to by the parties pursuant to Section 5940. 5950. 

(a) At the time of commencement of an enforcement action, the party commencing the action shall file with the initial pleading a certificate stating that one or more of the following conditions are satisfied:

 (1) Alternative dispute resolution has been completed in compliance with this article. 

(2) One of the other parties to the dispute did not accept the terms offered for alternative dispute resolution. 

(3) Preliminary or temporary injunctive relief is necessary. 

(b) Failure to file a certificate pursuant to subdivision 

(a) is grounds for a demurrer or a motion to strike unless the court finds that dismissal of the action for failure to comply with this article would result in substantial prejudice to one of the parties. 

5955. (a) After an enforcement action is commenced, on written stipulation of the parties, the matter may be referred to alternative dispute resolution. The referred action is stayed. During the stay, the action is not subject to the rules implementing subdivision 

(c) of Section 68603 of the Government Code. 

(b) The costs of the alternative dispute resolution shall be borne by the parties. 

5960. In an enforcement action in which attorney's fees and costs may be awarded, the court, in determining the amount of the award, may consider whether a party's refusal to participate in alternative dispute resolution before commencement of the action was reasonable. 

5965. (a) An association shall annually provide its members a summary of the provisions of this article that specifically references this article. The summary shall include the following language: "Failure of a member of the association to comply with the alternative dispute resolution requirements of Section 5930 of the Civil Code may result in the loss of the member's right to sue the association or another member of the association regarding enforcement of the governing documents or the applicable law." 

(b) The summary shall be included in the annual policy statement prepared pursuant to Section 5310.

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