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The Welk Group, operators of the Welk Resort San Diego, has lost its right to force owners into binding arbitration over mold damage to the property, Courthouse News Service reports. The time share community was originally opened by television personality Lawrence Welk in northern Escondido in 1964

Hermengildo "Jay" Martinez originally filed a class action suit in 2009 on behalf of time share owners at the property, alleging Welk Group and three partners concealed water leaks that led to serious mold and fungus damages at the site. His complaint has since been amended four times, and now that he has an operative lawsuit, the defendants have asked the court to compel owners into arbitration due to an agreement all owners are forced to sign.

Though the agreement is indeed binding, U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia ruled that the defendants had waived their right to force the action out of court and into the hands of an arbitrator. “It is indisputable that they knew of their right to seek arbitration,” Battaglia wrote in his decision, noting that the Welk Group waited through several rounds of complaints before attempting to force the arbitration only after receiving an “unwelcome” order from the court.

“The purpose of the [Federal Arbitration Act], and arbitration in general, is to promote quick, informal, and streamlined resolution of issues between parties,” Battaglia continued. “It is not to be used as a back-up plan for litigation strategies.”

Martinez has yet to file to have his class of owners certified, a move Welk Group will likely attempt to block due to an alleged conflict of interest concerning lawyers for the class and Wade Brent, a former engineer the defendants are pursuing with counter claims.

Bandleader Welk

Comments
4

That ruling is a novel one. Courts can find some very unexpected ways to void contracts, and this is just one of those. As to whether the legal system should recognize arbitration clauses in such matters is another question. When there is a gross imbalance in legal expertise and size between parties to a contract, they should be unenforceable. Will that ever happen? I doubt it.

Jan. 17, 2012

Lawrence Welk would probably have approved, as he was a notorious cheapskate. His TV show talent kept leaving, as he wouldn't give them a raise.

Jan. 17, 2012

All the "stars" on the Welk show who quit over money never made any after they left the show. Big Tiny Little Jr. was a big star on the Welk show, but after he quit over money issues he wound up playing the piano at bowling alley lounges.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRFiyM5aSAA

Jan. 18, 2012

Mold can cause serious health problems. For accurate information about the health effects of mold, go to http://truthaboutmold.info and check out the Global Indoor Health Network at http://globalindoorhealthnetwork.com.

Jan. 17, 2012

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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