Litigation by unit owners against condo associations is fairly common. Regardless of the claims’ merit, boards often find themselves having to expend significant resources to defend against claims or to avoid potential litigation. However, recent case law may help reduce the number of meritless claims that associations have to defend against.

In 1618 Sheridan Rd. Condominium Association v. Marshall Spiegel, a Cook County Circuit judge imposed a $1 million sanction against a lawyer and his client for filing a frivolous lawsuit. This penalty against the owner may help to deter other frivolous lawsuits.

Additionally, in Georgia Peters v. The Royalton Condominium Homes, Inc. the court refused to set a precedent that would require associations to exercise a higher standard to discover defects or dangers on their property. In this case, a member of an association was struck by another member's vehicle in the parking lot. It seemed like a simple personal injury case, until the Plaintiff raised 18 allegations of negligence against the association.

The Plaintiff claimed the association failed to properly address safety concerns in a parking lot. The court found that the Plaintiff “was in the best position to prevent the injury and placing a burden on the defendant to guard against the negligence of others ‘would place an intolerable burden on society.’”

While associations should always act to mitigate any potential safety issues on community property, this decision may help to prevent them from being held to unreasonable standards.

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