M.M. from Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Do owners have to be notified if the association becomes a party in a legal action or lawsuit, either as plaintiff or defendant?
Mister Condo replies:
M.M., I am not an attorney and offer no legal advice in this column. If the association is involved in a lawsuit, it is certainly the right of association members to know about the suit but the notification is not a requirement that I am aware of. The lawsuit would likely appear in the Minutes of the Board meetings, which are available to all unit owners. Ideally, the Board would handle the matter with the association attorney and alert unit owners as to any potential liability. Lawsuits for uninsured liabilities can be substantial and may put owners at risk if the association loses the suit. There are times when these matters are simply handled in executive session (for instance if an association employee is suing the association). In those cases, notice to unit owners might be less visible. If the association is the plaintiff, it is less likely that the members of the association would be notified unless entering into the lawsuit was particularly expensive. At the end of the day, you have elected Board members to handle the business of governing the association and its assets. Managing lawsuits is one of those duties that falls to the Board. All the best!