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  • Writer's pictureKarel Costa-Armas

Standard of Care - Lawsuits in Community Association Management

If you’ve ever been involved in a civil lawsuit, you may have heard of this term. The standard of care refers to the degree of care a prudent and reasonable person would exercise under the circumstances. Most of the time, a civil lawsuit is brought when someone wants to protect, enforce, or to be compensated for a violation of private rights. A civil lawsuit can be brought when a person or business claims that another person, business, or government agency failed to meet a legal duty.

My involvement with the standard of care falls into the realm of community association management. I am involved in lawsuits when a management company is being sued or when an employee of an association is involved in said lawsuit. I am brought in to assist legal counsel in determining several things. The process of making those determination can take dozens of hours of research. It often boils down to “could have this prevented by the defendant?” and “was the defendant in a position that would have obligated them to take preventative measures under the circumstances?”.

The determination whether an association, a manager / employee, or the management company did the right thing can be a web of factors that will stem from hundreds of questions. The main points at play will usually be:

·        What happened that this case is now before us?

·        Did the management contract’s terms and the manager’s qualifications qualify them to act in a way that would have prevented the problem that occurred?

·        Based on the contracted agreement for services, could the management company or manager have prevented what happened from occurring?

·        Were the employees properly trained in taking action that would have prevented “what occurred”?

·        Who, if anyone had a duty to inform the parties involved?

·        Would communication to the plaintiff’s (or others) have prevented the problem (injury, crime, circumstances) from having occurred?

·        Was there anyone else or another contractor, employee, or business that was expected to have acted in a way that would have led to the prevention of this act from occurring?

As most know, lawsuits are often very messy and there are usually multiple defendants. When a civil lawsuit begins, the plaintiffs will list as many defendants as possible.

The best advice I can give to managers, management companies, and board members is to do the right thing. Do not take short cuts. Do not take the cheap way out. Communicate well with homeowners and make sure that all expectations and obligations are in writing.


*** Note: I am not an attorney and any legal clarification you may need should be directed to a legal firm.

Standard of Care - Lawsuits in Community Association Management


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