By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Gregory and Michele White’s condo horror story began in 2014, when they replaced the light colored carpet in their 2nd floor condo townhouse unit with dark wood floors.
Kenolio Condo Association has a rule that requires 2nd floor unit owners to install carpeting, in order to prevent noise disturbances to residents on the first floor.
Greg White is visually impaired. He explained that hardwood floors help him to move from room to room more easily, and even provided the requisite doctor’s orders.
Residents of the first floor unit did not complain about noise. (See comment threads in the links below)
But board member Jason Strahn still continued to deny the reality of White’s disability.
So White was fined daily for 850 days — a total of $170,000. Then in 2015, the condo association attempted to foreclose on the White’s condo unit, in order to collect accumulated fines and attorney fees.
White’s attorney, Eric Ferrer, called the condo association’s actions ‘egregious.’
What an understatement!
A jury agreed, and awarded the Whites $1.7 million. There’s a good reason that HOA and condo association attorneys hate jury trials. It’s hard to find a jury that is sympathetic to an HOA.
Jury awards Kihei couple $1.7 million in disability lawsuit
Villas at Kenolio condo AOAO fined owners $200 a day in carpeting dispute
The Maui News, July 22, 2018
A 2nd Circuit Court jury awarded a $1.7 million judgment to a Kihei couple in a disability discrimination lawsuit against their condo association over uncarpeted floors in their unit, $170,000 in fines levied for those floors and an attempt to have the unit sold in foreclosure, the couple’s attorney said Wednesday.
Plaintiffs Gregory and Michele White received the verdicts in their favor from the jury Tuesday in their lawsuit against the Villas at Kenolio Association of Apartment Owners. Of the award, $170,000 was for punitive damages. The jury deliberated for about four hours before rendering its verdict.
The amount was what they asked for from the jury, said plaintiff’s attorney Eric Ferrer in an email Wednesday.
“Condo associations wield a great deal of power over their owners,” he said.
It never ceases to amaze me when homeowners, condo, and co-op associations blatantly ignore disability claims, denying reasonable accommodations.
For some community leaders, power and control rule the day. Their own biases create bitter legal battles that take on a life of their own.
Just imagine being a homeowner or resident that must live through this stress for four (or more) years, until finally vindicated.
Even if you “win” in court, you have already lost years of your life, taking a toll on your health in the process.
Yet, the way association-governed communities are designed, virtually anyone can serve on the board and wreak havoc upon the lives of owners and residents.
Jury awards Maui couple $1.7M in suit against their condo association
(Hawaii News Now VIDEO)
Jury sides with couple in disability discrimination lawsuit (AP News)
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