Corporations Code Section 8331. Petition to Set Aside Demand for Membership List.

(a) Where the corporation, in good faith, and with a substantial basis, believes that the membership list, demanded under Section 8330 by the authorized number (Section 5036), will be used for a purpose not reasonably related to the interests as members of the person or persons making the demand (hereinafter called the requesting parties) as members or provides a reasonable alternative pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 8330, it may petition the superior court of the proper county for an order setting aside the demand.

(b) Except as provided in subdivision (c), a petition for an order to show cause why a protective order pursuant to subdivision (d) should not issue shall be filed within 10 business days after the demand by the authorized number under Section 8330 or receipt of a written rejection by the authorized number of an offer made pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 8330, whichever is later. The petition shall be accompanied by an application for a hearing on the petition. Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall issue a protective order staying production of the list demanded until the hearing on the order to show cause. The court shall set the hearing on the order to show cause not more than 20 days from the date of the filing of the petition. The order to show cause shall be granted unless the court finds that there is no reasonable probability that the corporation will make the showing required under subdivision (f).

(c) A corporation may file a petition under this section more than 10 business days after the demand or rejection under Section 8330, but only upon a showing the delay was caused by excusable neglect. In no event, however, may any petition under this section be considered if filed more than 30 days after the requesting parties’ demand or rejection, whichever is later.

(d) Upon the return day of the order to show cause, the court may issue a protective order staying production of the list demanded until final adjudication of the petition filed pursuant to this section. No protective order shall issue under this subdivision unless the court finds that the rights of the requesting parties can reasonably be preserved and that the corporation is likely to make the showing required by subdivision (f) or the court is likely to issue a protective order pursuant to subdivision (g).

(e) If the corporation fails to file a petition within the time allowed by subdivision (b) or (c), whichever is applicable, or fails to obtain a protective order under subdivision (d), then the corporation shall comply with the demand, and no further action may be brought by the corporation under this section.

(f) The court shall issue the final order setting aside the demand only if the corporation proves:

(1) That there is a reasonable probability that the requesting parties will permit use of the membership list for a purpose unrelated to their interests as members; or

(2) That the method offered by the corporation is a reasonable alternative in that it reasonably achieves the proper purpose set forth in the requesting parties’ demand and that the corporation intends and is able to effectuate the reasonable alternative.

(g) In the final order, the court may, in its discretion, order an alternate mechanism for achieving the proper purposes of the requesting parties, or impose just and proper conditions upon the use of the membership list which reasonably assures compliance with Section 8330 and Section 8338.

(h) The court shall award reasonable costs and expenses including reasonable attorneys’ fees, to requesting parties who successfully oppose any petition or application filed pursuant to this section.

(i) Where the corporation has neither, within the time allowed, complied with a demand by the authorized number (Section 5036) under Section 8330, nor obtained a protective order staying production of the list, or a final order setting aside the demand, which is then in effect, the requesting parties may petition the superior court of the proper county for a writ of mandamus pursuant to Section 1085 of the Code of Civil Procedure compelling the corporation to comply with the demand. At the hearing, the court shall hear the parties summarily, by affidavit or otherwise, and shall issue a peremptory writ of mandamus unless it appears that the demand was not made by an authorized number (Section 5036), that the demand has been complied with, that the corporation, pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 8330, made an offer which was not rejected in writing within a reasonable time, or that a protective or final order properly issued under subdivision (d), (f) or (g) is then in effect. No inquiry may be made in such proceeding into the use for which the authorized number seek the list. The court shall award reasonable costs and expenses, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, to persons granted an order under this subdivision.

(j) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the right of the corporation to obtain damages for any misuse of a membership list obtained under Section 8330, or otherwise, or to obtain injunctive relief necessary to restrain misuse of a member list. A corporation shall be entitled to recover reasonable costs and expenses, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, incurred in successfully bringing any such action.

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Related Case Law

  • Tract No. 7260 Association, Inc. v. Parker
    (2017) Cal. App. LEXIS 265 *

    [Membership List; Inspection Denial] A homeowners association (HOA) may restrict a member’s request for access to the HOA’s membership list when the request is for an improper purpose.

  • Worldmark v. Wyndham Resort Dev. Corp.
    (2010) 187 Cal.App.4th 1017

    [Membership List; Email Addresses] The “addresses” of members which must be disclosed with a member’s request to inspect the membership list pursuant to Corp. Code § 8330(a) includes the members’ email addresses.

Related Links

Access to HOA Membership List Must be for a Proper PurposePublished on HOA Lawyer Blog (April, 2017)