Berkeley senior co-op litigants return to mediation

Attorneys for the plaintiff and defendants in a lawsuit involving a Berkeley senior housing cooperative reported last week that they had made progress in negotiating a settlement but had agreed to obtain additional help from a San Francisco mediator.

The lawsuit, filed in March by Jonathan Pool, a shareholder in Berkeley Town House Cooperative Corporation, alleges that several of its officials had paid Danville contractor Garry Secrest $224,000 for a bungled waterproofing and exterior construction job performed with no license, no insurance, no building permit, and no signed contract. Pool’s complaint also alleges neglect of seismic risks in the 60-unit 9-story building and numerous procedural violations by the corporation’s directors. The cooperative filed a cross-complaint against Secrest and American Pacific Coatings, claiming they should pay for any damages the court might award.

In a joint statement, Pool’s attorney David H. Schwartz and defendant attorney Fred M. Feller reported that they had been negotiating to finalize a tentative settlement reached during a mediation session in June with retired judge Richard Hodge, but that “some unresolved issues” still prevented agreement. The statement reported that the parties had agreed to see Hodge for additional mediation.

Today Alameda County Superior Court Judge Steven Brick postponed the next hearing in the case from 19 November to 31 January “in light of the proposed settlement”.

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