Judge denies Hidden Valley Lake Association's motion to avoid posting bond while appealing judgment

By Sandra Lane | Jun 5, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. District Court of Northern California has denied a motion by a homeowners association to stay enforcement of a judgment without posting a supersedeas bond, or defendant's appeal bond.

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. District Court of Northern California has denied a motion by a homeowners association to stay enforcement of a judgment without posting a supersedeas bond, or defendant's appeal bond.

U.S. Judge Susan Illston wrote the order in the case of Wayne Clark v. Hidden Valley Lake Association on May 29.

According to the order, the association was the defendant in a legal action filed by plaintiff Wayne Clark, a golf professional hired in 2011 as the director of golf for Hidden Valley Lake Association and terminated in April 2015. The defendant is a homeowners association with approximately 3,300 members.

On Jan. 30, Clark's suit over allegations of defamation, labor code violations and other issues went to trial, and on Feb. 8, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Clark on all claims and awarded lost wages and noneconomic damages totaling $2 million

As a result, the defendant association filed a motion to stay enforcement of the judgment without posting a supersedeas bond. 

“...The court denies the motion. The court orders defendant to post a supersedeas bond equal to 125 percent of the judgment if it wishes to stay execution of the judgment pending appeal," the order stated.

On May 10, the defendant filed the present motion to stay enforcement of the judgment without posting a supersedeas bond, and the plaintiff filed a proposed writ of execution.

The court wrote that the purpose of the bond was to be a viable way to protect the plaintiff from the risk of a later uncollectible judgment and in addition, it compensates him for delay in the entry of the final judgment.

Illston cited former Rule 73(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which states “When the judgment is for the recovery of money not otherwise secured, the amount of the bond shall be fixed at such sum as will cover the whole amount of the judgment remaining unsatisfied, costs on the appeal, interest, and damages for delay, unless the court after notice and hearing and for good cause shown fixes a different amount or orders security other than the bond.”

In conclusion, Illston ruled, “For the foregoing reasons, the court denies defendant Hidden Valley Lake Association’s motion to stay enforcement of the judgment without posting a supersedeas bond or, in the alternative, setting the amount of security and permitting defendant to post alternative security in lieu of a supersedeas bond.”

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