An order by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Winne Carvill challenging both sides’ positions in a lawsuit involving a Berkeley senior housing cooperative became public today.
Carvill ordered plaintiff Jonathan Pool to show why his suit isn’t duplicative of another suit that is currently before another judge of the same court, also involving the co-op, named Berkeley Town House, and the same parties.
The judge also ordered defendants Almalee Henderson, Judith Wehlau, Charles Tuggle, Katherine Miles, Nancy Epanchin, Raymond Dirodis, and Rita Zwerdling, former directors of the co-op, to justify their request for the replacement of the judge assigned to the case. They had objected to Judge George C. Hernandez, claiming that he was biased against them, whereupon the case had been transfered to Carvill. In his order, however, Carvill pointed to prior rulings that objections to judges for bias are invalid when a case is a continuation of another ongoing case.
In the suit, filed in late July, Pool claims that the former directors 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.
Carvill ordered the parties to present their arguments by 6 November for a hearing on 13 November. If the case is not dismissed on that date, Carvill wrote that a new date will be set for a decision on the defendants’ procedural objections to the lawsuit itself. These were followed by successive rebuttals by the plaintiff and the defendants.