Tom Ware is a partner of Kulik Gottesman Siegel & Ware LLP. Since 1989, Mr. Ware’s practice has focused on the representation of nonprofit homeowners associations, their volunteer directors and officers, and HOA property managers. He has extensive experience in representing common interest developments, non-profit homeowners associations, and their volunteer directors in connection with general corporate issues, real estate matters, litigation, insurance, fidelity bond claims, and appellate matters. Mr. Ware was one of the attorneys of record for the prevailing parties in the landmark California Supreme Court case Nahrstedt v. Lakeside Village Condominium Association which established the legal framework and standards for enforcing CC&R provisions.
LITIGATION TRIAL EXPERIENCE
Mr. Ware has extensive litigation and trial experience and has successfully represented homeowners associations and/or their directors and officers in numerous construction defect cases, developer disputes, CC&R enforcement matters, land use disputes, title issues, controversies involving architectural modifications and other use restrictions, disputes involving alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, assessment collection, lender and contractor disputes, corporate matters, and insurance related matters.
After a 25 day bench trial, Tom successfully defended Erna Parth, a former homeowners’ association volunteer director and President, against a multi-million dollar damage breach of fiduciary duty claim brought against her by her own homeowners association. As the prevailing party, Ms. Parth was awarded attorney’s fees and costs in excess of $900,000. In its April 12, 2019 Verdicts & Settlements edition, the Daily Journal© identified this defense judgment as one of its “Top Verdicts.”
Mr. Ware has handled over twenty appeals and represents homeowners associations and their directors and officers in published and unpublished appellate matters before both federal and state appellate courts. Mr. Ware has litigated in the California Supreme Court, including some pivotal cases governing the duties and liabilities of all homeowners associations. In addition to being one of the attorneys representing the prevailing homeowners association in the landmark Supreme Court decision, Nahrstedt v. Lakeside Village Condominium Assn., 8 Cal.4th 361 (1994), which established the legal standard for enforcing CC&R restrictions, Mr. Ware was also appellate counsel for the prevailing party in Martin v. Bridgeport Community Assn., 173 Cal.App.4th 1024 (2009), which holds that CC&Rs can be enforced against tenants, but tenants lack standing to enforce the CC&Rs against the homeowners association.
FIDELITY BOND CLAIMS
Having developed a particular expertise in helping homeowners associations investigate and prosecute fidelity bond claims, Mr. Ware has successfully recovered embezzled association funds. Among other successes, he helped a group of homeowner association investigate and recoup approximately $1.5 million arising from a property manager’s misappropriation of association funds. Mr. Ware was a featured speaker on this subject at the 2020 Community Associate Institute’s Law Seminar, 2013 and 2016 CAI’s Annual National Conference, and the 2015 CAI Legal Forum California Communities.
HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION GENERAL COUNSEL
Mr. Ware has represented associations in connection with general corporate issues, CC&Rs and Bylaw provisions, preparation of amendments to governing documents, insurance matters, and general issues relating associations’ and directors’ fiduciary obligations. As a result of his extensive litigation, bond claim, and appellate experience, Mr. Ware has been influential in representing his clients’ best interests relating to the changing laws affecting common interest developments. He is extremely knowledgeable in forecasting how Board of Directors’ business and management decisions will be received if a matter is brought to litigation. He counsels his clients to avoid common pit falls and exposure issues facing the Association and its volunteer directors.
Having incorporated and advised non-profit 501(c) (3) and 501(c) (4) corporations, Mr. Ware has helped numerous organizations register as a charity with the California Attorney General. He also counsels his client in securing Federal and State Tax Exempt Status.
CAI – CALIFORNIA LEGISLATIVE ACTION COMMITTEE
Mr. Ware is actively involved in the Community Association Institute’s legislation advocacy efforts on behalf of common interest developments. He is currently the Legislative Co-Chair of the Community Association Institute – California Legislative Action Committee.
Selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers 2009-2021, published in Los Angeles Magazine. Awarded the highest peer review rating issued by Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent. Fellow of CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers
Former Pali Quarterback Club Board Member and Incorporator – 501(c) (3) charity set up to support and fundraise for the Palisades Charter High School football program. Former President of Pacific Palisades Lacrosse Association, Inc. – 501(c)(3) charity set up to support and fundraise for the Palisades Charter High School lacrosse program and lacrosse in the Pacific Palisades community.