South Florida Condo Association Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Makers of Pokémon Go

The South Florida condominium association that I wrote about in this blog recently after it was featured in a local TV news report on its problems being caused by Pokémon Go players has now filed a class action lawsuit against the makers of the immensely popular game app.

As was documented in the recent report that appeared on Local 10 News (WPLG-ABC) in Miami-Dade and Broward, the oceanfront Villas of Positano in Hollywood, Fla. has essentially been besieged by crowds of people every night who are playing the “augmented reality” game.  The 62-unit condominium tower has been designated as a PokéStop in the game, which the lawsuit alleges has led to “out of control crowds” behaving “like zombies, walking around bumping into things” where the property adjoins the public boardwalk along the beach.

The complaint, which was filed recently in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is one of several similar new lawsuits against San Francisco-based game developer Niantic and the two other companies behind the game.

pokemonThe lawsuit states that players have been drawn to the Villas to capture rare Pokémon characters that are programmed to spawn when they are first released to the public at 3 a.m. EST.

The suit states that the Pokémon Go players linger for hours, litter, and many even use “the Villas’ landscaping as a toilet during their nightly incursions.”  It notes that the association has made multiple requests to Niantic for the property to be removed as a PokéStop but has only received form responses.

For now, the community has hired off-duty police officers to patrol the premises from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Similar to the other lawsuits that were filed by a New Jersey homeowner and a Michigan couple, this lawsuit seeks to be certified as a class action on behalf of all U.S. real estate owners whose property lies on or near the GPS coordinates of a PokéStop or Pokémon Gym.  The attorneys for the association have also noted that these in-game sites, where the players capture and feed Pokémon or fight virtual “battles” with other players, have been located in cemeteries and at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

As I noted in my prior article, there are a number of measures that community association boards of directors are now considering and implementing to address the growing nuisance, safety and security issues being caused by the game’s players.  Many are starting by issuing a bulletin to all of the owners, residents and staff reminding them that excessive noise in any of the common areas – including from Pokémon Go players – creates nuisances that are in violation of association rules, and building management/security should be contacted if any such nuisances arise so that immediate action may be taken.

Management, security and valet staff are also being tasked to maintain a high level of vigilance for nonresident players attempting to infiltrate communities as well as for residents and their guests creating disturbances while they are playing.  Other considerations include restricting access to lobbies and common areas at night, and even adopting rules governing the times of day that the game (and others like it which are sure to come) can be played in the common areas.

Click here to read the 19-page complaint, which includes screenshots of the Pokémon characters that are spawning at the property.