The Opera Plaza Homeowner’s Association CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) prohibit satellite TV dishes in common areas of the condo complex, including balconies and patios. But condo owners Betty and Tuan Hoang installed a satellite dish on the exterior of their condo residence.

The homeowner’s association filed this lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking (1) declaratory relief stating the homeowner’s association policy is valid, (2) a permanent injunction requiring the Hoangs to remove their satellite dish, and (3) damages for breach of contract.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

But the Hoangs argued the homeowner’s association has no legal right to bring this case in federal court because no federal issue is involved.

However, the homeowner association replied it is very likely the Hoangs will cite the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 as a defense because it prohibits private or public restrictions that impair a viewer’s ability to receive video programming.

If you were the judge would you rule the federal court has jurisdiction to hear this homeowner association verses resident dispute regarding a satellite dish?

The judge said no!

This dispute did not arise under federal law, the judge began. Just because the defendant condo homeowner might cite the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 as a defense does not create federal jurisdiction, he continued.

If a lawsuit is not authorized by federal law or there is not a federal issue involved, the federal courts lack jurisdiction, the judge ruled. Although the Federal Communications Commission has authority to issue regulations regarding satellite TV dishes, that does not confer federal court jurisdiction in this case, the judge concluded.

Based on the 2004 U.S Court of Appeals decision in Opera Plaza Homeowner’s Association v. Hoang, 376 Fed.3d 831.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center
).

***

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