Judge rejects ex-directors’ bias claim in Berkeley lawsuit

Seven former directors of a Berkeley senior housing co-op lost their bid today to get a lawsuit against them either dismissed or moved to a new judge.

An Alameda County Judge today ruled against 7 former directors of a Berkeley senior housing cooperative and sent a breach-of-contract lawsuit against them back to a judge that their attorney had labeled “prejudiced”.

In today’s hearing, Judge Wynne S. Carvill of Alameda County Superior Court announced his decision not to let the lawsuit continue in his court, but left some details open to discussion. David L. Jordan, representing the ex-directors of Berkeley Town House, a 60-unit co-op south of the UC Berkeley campus, proposed that Judge Carvill dismiss the lawsuit entirely. David H. Schwartz, representing plaintiff Jonathan Pool, a co-op member, argued against dismissing or even pausing the case, but instead urged Carvill to invalidate the prejudice claim against the previous judge, George C. Hernandez, Jr., and send the case back to Hernandez.

Later today Carvill ordered what Pool’s attorney had proposed. Carvill ruled the prejudice claim invalid, sent the case back to Hernandez, and dropped an objection of the ex-directors to the lawsuit that Carvill had been scheduled to conduct a hearing on.

During today’s hearing, a stylistic difference between the two attorneys was evident. Schwartz exhibited a quiet, matter-of-fact demeanor, sticking to the questions asked by the judge and dealing mainly with the technical details. Jordan was more expressive and accused Pool of filing an utterly meritless suit imposing extra costs on insurance companies, purely as a pressure tactic in a companion suit. Jordan said he was at a loss to understand any genuine basis for the filing of a new case instead of an amendment of the related case. At one point, Carvill told Jordan he was “muddying the waters” by bringing past actions and alleged motives into a future-oriented discussion of how to dispose of the case.

The defendants in the lawsuit are Almalee Henderson, Judith Wehlau, Charles Tuggle, Katherine Miles, Nancy Epanchin, Raymond Dirodis, and Rita Zwerdling. Pool’s complaint claims they promised to pay $224,415 to the co-op to settle claims in the related lawsuit but broke that promise by getting the co-op to use its own funds to pay their debt.

2 thoughts on “Judge rejects ex-directors’ bias claim in Berkeley lawsuit

  1. BTH’s CPA followed this pattern when it answered my questions about errors in its 2011 financial disclosure. The law says BTH must tell us whether it has any outstanding loans. Levy Erlanger, CPA, omitted that from its disclosure. I complained. Levy Erlanger replied, “Section 1365(a)(3)(0) of the Civil Code does require disclosure of any outstanding loans with an original term of more than one year that the Cooperative may have. It does not, however, require an affirmative statement that no such loans exist. Should the latter have been a requirement, the statute probably would have been worded “Whether or not” instead of just “Whether.”” Utter rubbish. And BTH still uses the same CPA.

  2. Hi John,
    Reading the above 5 paragraphs (and other info regarding this
    never ending lawsuit) reminds me of the comments of an
    accounting professor I had. He essentially described how
    a CPA puts together a footnote to his financial statements.
    The CPA first describes the situation in 10 or so simple sentences.
    Then he adds many ‘ifs, ands, buts, howevers, etc’ until
    the 10 simple sentences become 1 very long complex sentence
    which no one can understand unless he reads the sentence
    10 times at least. The CPA protects himself from lawsuits
    by basically confusing the issue. Lawyers do the same.

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