An Alameda County Superior Court judge today ordered a halt to litigation activities in two complex lawsuits involving a Berkeley senior housing cooperative.
Attorneys representing Berkeley Town House, a 60-unit co-op apartment building near the U.C. Berkeley campus, and 8 current and former members of the co-op, appeared in court and by telephone before Judge George C. Hernandez, Jr., to report progress in efforts to settle the lawsuits, which include claims of wasted funds, defective construction, earthquake hazards, violations of co-op members’ rights, and breach of contract. They informed Hernandez that the settlement terms had been orally agreed to in mid-December with the aid of mediator David J. Meadows in a session lasting more than 12 hours.
The attorneys reported that the settlement would require the co-op board’s approval by 15 February and then the court’s approval after co-op members had an opportunity to express their opinions about the terms. Hernandez confirmed that, because of the representative nature of some claims in these cases (with the plaintiff claiming to sue on behalf of the co-op itself), the court’s approval would be a necessary condition of a settlement going into force.
Hernandez told the attorneys to return to court on 25 February, after the board’s approval deadline, and ordered the parties until then to suspend their discovery activities and any motions they intended to file.