Applying both the deference to a homeowners association’s board of directors’ discretionary decisions required by Lamden v. La Jolla Shores Clubdominium Homeowners Assn. (1999) 21 Cal.4th 249 and its independent judgment in interpreting the CC&Rs, this court holds that a CC&R provision banning “any business or commercial activity” did not prevent a homeowner from maintaining a vineyard on his property. The vineyard did not change the residential character of the land and instead added an aesthetically pleasing element. All of the commercial activity of pressing the grapes, making and selling the wine was done off-site. The CC&R should be interpreted to promote its evident purpose of maintaining the residential character of the neighborhood, not so as to impose any added restrictions not needed for that purpose. A lawyer’s invoice is hearsay as to the hours allegedly spent and tasks performed. The client can introduce the invoice to corroborate his testimony that he paid that amount of attorney fees. However, unless one of the billing attorneys authenticates the invoice and establishes a business record or other exception to the hearsay rule, the invoice is inadmissible to prove that the billed services were actually performed. So, in this case, where only the client testified to the invoice, the trial court properly denied fees.
California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 6 (Gilbert, P.J.; Peren, J., concurring; Yegan, J., dissenting); December 17, 2018 (modified January 14, 2019); 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 1239