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Legal Action Fund Guidelines

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Important Note:  The Legal Action Fund is not an Insurance Defense Fund for Realtors®.

The Legal Action Fund was established to promote preventative law programs, assist in cases of importance to the real estate industry, provide legal defense to Association of REALTORS® of statewide importance and finance cases that CAR initiates or supports.  The Amicus Brief Program is one of the functions of C.A.R.'s Legal Action Fund which oversees real estate related issues affecting REALTORS®, the real estate industry, and California's property owners.  Parties that ask for an amicus curiae brief feel that C.A.R.'s influence before the court is strong and, therefore, they want C.A.R.'s support to bolster their position.

REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE

Most requests are for an amicus brief on a case on appeal.  Due to the lack of statewide impact, the C.A.R. Trustees rarely support requests on a trial level or an arbitration.  The request may also include a request for funding for significant cases.  Any funding is subject to review and approval of the bills submitted and incurred at C.A.R.'s discretion.

The Fund is intended for legal costs and fees of the party supported and may not in any case be used to pay judgments for damages or fines, or to pay any settlement amount, whether before or after trial, or to pay any costs or fees of opposing counsel or any other party.  The Legal Action Fund does not reimburse fees or costs incurred in making a request.

All request for monetary or amicus support from the Fund must be made in writing and signed by the requesting party or his/her counsel.  Each request should include the following:

  • Case Name
  • Identification of Parties/Counsel/Real Estate Expert Witnesses (both sides)
  • Case Facts & Summary of Proceedings (to date)
  • Parties to be supported
  • Local Association Support & Support of other organizations
  • Description of Statewide Legal Impact
  • Request seeking: Financial (amount, proposed budget)  or Amicus Curiae Brief Only
  • Any insurance funding available
  • Relevant filings (complaint, answer, key motions, key rulings, etc. from both sides of the case)

You may submit your request to [email protected] or mail your requests to the attention of June Barlow, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, California Association of REALTORS ®, 525 S. Virgil Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90020.

Generally requests are considered by the Trustees during the regularly schedule C.A.R. business meetings.  At the discretion of the Trustees Chairman or C.A.R. legal staff requests not received at least 30 days prior to the next scheduled meeting of the Trustees may be deferred for consideration to the following scheduled meeting or a special telephone conference may be setup for immediate consideration of the request.  The Trustees shall then consider the matter in executive session and make a decision.  Decisions to fund or support a brief are generally reported to the Executive Committee and the C.A.R. Board of Directors.

When deciding if a case merits financial assistance for legal expenses and/or filing an amicus curiae brief, the Legal Action Fund Trustees in collaboration with C.A.R. legal staff and outside counsel as deemed necessary, evaluate all cases to insure that each meets all the following criteria:

  • The case represents a statewide issue that affects organized real estate or private property rights.  Particular emphasis is placed on cases that affect real estate brokerage practices.
  • The case is at the appeals court level, not the trial court level.
  • Existing adverse case precedents are not deemed to be insurmountable; the likelihood of success and an evaluation of what the impact will be if the case is not successful.
  • Winning the case would enhance the professional stature of C.A.R.'s members and C.A.R.
  • The facts of the case provide the best avenue to appeal the particular issue.
  • Consistency with C.A.R.’s policies as adopted by its Board of Directors; the Trustees cannot act to set a new policy or change an existing one.
  • An evaluation of the efforts already made by the parties to provide their own support and obtain support from affiliated and interested associations.

The requesting party may be required at the discretion of the Trustees Chairman and/or C.A.R. legal staff to appear before the Trustees to support the request and answer any questions posed by the Trustees. 

The Trustees may condition their approval of support on retention of counsel deemed most experienced in the issues and controversies presented, on financial assistance being provided by one or more local association, or on other appropriate conditions.

All support by the Fund is conditioned on the requirement that the Trustees through the C.A.R. legal staff assigned to administer the Fund, be consulted on a continuing basis by the requesting party and their counsel concerning decisions relating to the legal action which is being supported, including but not limited to: the theories and strategies of the case; the procedural steps to be taken; the parties to the litigation; the issues to be raised; the time of discovery, motions and other matters; and the nature and scope of research to be performed.

Failure to consult as required, or failure to cooperate with the Trustees, may result in the immediate suspension of all support of the litigation and the termination of such support if the local association, member, or other recipient support fails to justify such failures or otherwise satisfy the Trustees, in their sole discretion, that support should be continued.

All appropriations from the Fund shall be disbursed as authorized by the Trustees upon the satisfaction of all contingencies, conditions or prerequisites imposed and upon receipt of verified statements of fees and expenses in the amount of the requested disbursement.

If the Trustees decide that a C.A.R. amicus curiae brief is appropriate, the General Counsel assigns the task of preparing it to one of C.A.R.'s attorneys on staff.  On rare occasions, briefs are prepared by outside law firms.

Contact June Barlow, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, by phone (213) 739-8277 or email [email protected] for any additional questions.

Copyright© 2019 CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.). Permission is granted to C.A.R. members to reprint this material in hardcopy or PDF format only for personal use or with individual clients. This material may not be used or reproduced for commercial purposes. Other reproduction or use is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of the C.A.R Legal Department. All rights reserved.


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