Legal battle heats up between HOA collection agencies, investors
The First Amendment is now at issue in the bitter fight pitting collection agencies for Southern Nevada homeowner associations against homeowners and investors in foreclosed homes.
The fight already involves legislative hearings and numerous lawsuits in Las Vegas in which homeowners and investors say they’re being gouged by collection agencies for past-due HOA assessments, fines and collection costs; and that their properties are hit with liens for these charges – and counterclaims that the homeowners and the investors are failing to pay their fair share of HOA expenses.
The fight escalated in March when three big collection agencies sued Las Vegas attorney Puoy Premsrirut, who regularly litigates against collection agencies. She and her brother Rutt Premsrirut also were sued in their capacities as investors in foreclosed homes.
The suit charged the defendants were abusing the system by filing frivolous regulatory complaints and lawsuits against collection agencies.
Attorneys for the Premsriruts have now responded, saying the collection agencies’ lawsuit should be dismissed under Nevada’s "anti-SLAPP" law barring "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation" lawsuits.
"Defendants are the first real estate investors to take a hard stance against plaintiffs’ excessive and abuse collection practices of HOA assessment liens, post-foreclosure," said their filing by attorneys with the Las Vegas law firm Kung & Brown.
"Defendants’ exercise of their First Amendment Right to free speech, their right to petition and their lobbying efforts stand to cost plaintiffs (collection agencies) millions of dollars in lost revenue," the filing for the Premsriruts said. "To silence defendants, plaintiffs have initiated this frivolous and vexatious Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation to oppress, harass and to chill the defendants’ exercise of their First Amendment rights."
Attorneys for collection agencies Nevada Association Services, RMI Management LLC and Angius & Terry Collections LLC have not yet responded to these claims.