D.L. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
An owner in our condo claims part of his fender was stolen in our parking lot. There is no video surveillance of this event and he has been paid by his insurance company. He is suing in small claims court for the deductible. Our attorney cannot make the court appearance. Does he have a case or not?
Mister Condo replies:
D.L., for the most part, condo parking lots are owned and insured by the condominium. Automobile owners have their own insurance to protect their vehicles in the event of theft as in this case. The deductible, generally speaking, is the expense of the insurance holder, in this case the unit owner. Small Claims court is the place for such a small claim and the unit owner is certainly welcome to sue the association (or anyone else for that matter as that’s how it works) but he is not likely going to prevail, in my opinion. That being said, it is never a good idea to leave a lawsuit undefended against. Your attorney should have sent another attorney or legal representative to protect the association in the event the claimant made outrageous claims against the association (negligence, lack of security cameras, history of crime without preventative measures taken) that might influence the outcome. I am not an attorney so please do not construe anything I have said here as a legal opinion. I must say I am surprised the association’s attorney did not represent the association in court. That is a primary duty of the community association attorney. Best wishes!