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Articles Posted in Community Association Litigation

susanodess-srhl-224x300A major part of our firm’s work on behalf of community associations focuses on representing them in disputes over property damage and loss claims against their insurance carriers. We regularly counsel and represent associations in claims involving weather/wind and nonweather water damage, fire/smoke damage, and damage to common elements such as pools, parking garages, elevators, roofs, etc.

Only rarely do such cases go to trial, but in recent months two of our firm’s insurance attorneys secured jury verdicts in favor of two claimants involving very typical nonweather water losses. Shareholder Susan C. Odess and associate Zachary T. Smith won these cases against State Farm and Universal over the insurers’ refusals to adequately cover damages stemming from broken water pipes and leaks.

These judgments for more than $53,000 from State Farm and $37,000 from Universal in Miami-Dade Circuit Court are excellent examples of the types of cases that our firm’s insurance attorneys successfully mount for our property claimant clients. While associations were not involved in these, we often secure similar results for condominium associations and HOAs for comparable water-loss claims.

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EvonneAndris-srhl-law-200x300The firm’s latest Miami Herald “Real Estate Counselor” column authored by partner Evonne Andris appears in today’s edition of the newspaper and is titled “The Costs of Community Association Lawsuits, And How to Avoid Them.”  Evonne’s article focuses on the potential impacts of community association litigation, and the benefits of alternative options for resolving association disputes.  It reads:

. . . In such an environment where emotions can run high, boards of directors and the owners they represent should always strive to let cooler heads prevail. While in certain situations litigation is a necessary tool to assist in the governance of a community, it is a tool that should be used with the understanding that escalating conflicts into litigation is almost always detrimental for both sides in association disputes, including those who eventually prevail in the matter.

Litigation is a disruptor of community harmony, and it could lead to very public squabbles that often make the local news. Such coverage can have long-term negative impacts for communities with their indefinite online lifespan via internet searches under a community’s name, making them potentially detrimental for property values.

EAndris-Herald-clip-for-blog-8-14-22-100x300Real estate brokers can also become keenly aware of communities that are rife with conflicts, and they will steer their clients elsewhere. Some lenders will also inquire about pending litigation in their loan pre-approval questionnaires, and they may become reluctant to approve mortgages for prospective buyers in communities involved in potentially significant lawsuits, or in those that regularly attempt to enforce their rules, policies and decisions through litigation as opposed to other forms of dispute resolution.

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