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CAI Defends Condo, Homeowner Associations in Three 'Friend of the Court' Briefs

3/18/1999  -  Alexandria, VA

Municipal services equalization, setoffs and the business judgement rule were the key issues in the Community Associations Institute's latest amicus curiae briefs defending condominium, cooperative and homeowner associations. CAI filed briefs in cases in Ohio, New Jersey and California that challenged community association operations and decision-making processes.

In Woodhawk Club Condominium Owners Association v. City of Mayfield Heights (Ohio), the association had successfully asserted in district court that the municipality had violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in failing to provide garbage collection services to the association. The municipality appealed, and CAI filed an amicus brief in support of the association with the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The brief was prepared by CAI Amicus Curiae Team members Karyn Kennedy Esq., Mark Makower Esq., Stephen Marcus Esq., Tom Moriarty Esq. and J. David Ramsey Esq.

A New Jersey case, Ledgewood Village Condominium Association v. Lowe, involved the issue of whether an owner can assert that the association failed to provide services as a defense to an assessment collection case. CAI filed a brief supporting the association's position that this setoff not permissible. The brief was prepared by CAI Amicus Curiae Team members Thomas Hindman Esq., Karyn Kennedy Esq., Thomas Moriarty Esq., J. David Ramsey Esq. and Wendell Smith Esq.

In an appeal to the California Supreme Court, CAI argued that the business judgement rule should be the standard in evaluating a board of directors' actions rather than the rule of reasonableness, as a lower court ruled in Lamden v. La Jolla Clubdominium Association. The business judgement rule permits a court to determine whether a board's decision was made according to proper business practices, while the rule of reasonableness evaluates whether the board actually made the reasonable decision. The brief was prepared by CAI Amicus Curiae Team members Michael Banzhaf Esq., Robert Diamond Esq., Machael Dingman Esq., Pamela Dunn Esq., James Lingl Esq., David Swedelson Esq. and Steven Weil Esq.

For more information on CAI's amicus curiae briefs, visit the Government & Public Affairs section of the Institute's web, call 703/548-8600 or send e-mail to g&pa(at)caionline.org. The Community Associations Institute is a nonprofit association created in 1973 to educate and represent the nation's 205,000 community associations—condominium associations, homeowner associations and cooperatives. CAI members include homeowners, associations and related professionals and service providers.


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