Search Site
Menu

Court Permits Condo Association to Pursue Contractors for Common Area Damage Absent Unit Owner Approval

In Port Liberte II Condominium Association v. New Liberty Residential Urban Renewal Company, the NJ Appellate Division reinstated a condominium association’s multi-million dollar lawsuit over construction defects, holding that the contractors sued by the Association lacked standing to enforce a bylaw requiring unit owners to approve the litigation before it is filed. The Court further held that the trial court had misconstrued the bylaws in holding that the owners could not ratify the Association’s action after the lawsuit was filed.

The Port Liberte II Condominium Association consists of 225 units in Jersey City and was completed in 2004. In 2008, the Association filed suit against numerous contractors after discovering construction defects during the transition period. Due to the Statute of Limitations, the Association filed the lawsuit without first obtaining the approval of the unit owners as required under the Association’s bylaws. The Association attempted to negotiate a settlement with the contractors, but after that failed the Association sought and obtained approval of the unit owners in a meeting held in 2009.

In May 2011, the contractors filed a summary judgment motion seeking to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that the Association had not properly obtained the unit owners’ authorization before filing the lawsuit. The trial judge granted the motion, holding that the Association lacked standing to file the lawsuit.

On October 24, 2011, the Association held another meeting of the unit owners, for the purpose of ratifying the filing of the lawsuit. After the members approved the ratification, the Association moved to reinstate the complaint. The trial court denied the motion on the grounds that the lack of standing could not be cured. In addition, the trial court also dismissed a second lawsuit which was also the subject of the 2011 ratification vote by the unit owners on the grounds that the Association lacked standing to file it.

On appeal, the Court found that precluding the Association from filing suit on the grounds that it lacked standing violated the Condominium Act, which authorizes a condominium association to file suit against third parties for damage to common areas. Furthermore, the Court said that the Association correctly remedied the lack of authorization by having unit owners approve the filing of the suit. Finally, the Court held that that the interests of the defendant contractors were adverse to the unit owners, so that “letting them enforce the unit owners’ interests would be akin to letting the proverbial fox protect the interests of the chickens.”

At Lieberman Blecher & Sinkevich our attorneys are skilled in many facets of Condominium and Homeowner Association representation, such as collections matters, liability issues, and association formation. Our firm also serves as general counsel for multiple Community Associations; if your association is in need of assistance with legal issues, please don’t hesitate to contact our office to discuss how we can help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Attorneys

Recent Twitter Posts

  • Trenton Water Works has removed 25 percent of lead pipes throughout its service area. https://t.co/KUvhMsJlvU
    5 days ago
  • Opposition grows to big warehouses in small NJ towns. https://t.co/CMjgYaPMRP
    5 days ago
  • Groups plead with Governor Murphy to stop plans for new gas-fired power plant along the Passaic River in Newark. https://t.co/0yODyXEI3C
    5 days ago
  • Murphy Administration releases mapping tool to help NJ residents identify lead exposure risks in housing. https://t.co/oRL7gPVoeq
    2 months ago

Recent Blog Posts

Environmental Insurance Dispute to be Heard in New Jersey courts

On December 30, 2021 the Appellate Division of the Superior Court decided Getty Prop. Corp. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. Getty Properties Corp. (“Getty”) filed an appeal
Read More
Environmental Insurance Dispute to be Heard in New Jersey courts

Governor Murphy’s NJDEP Proposes New Rule to Limit Carbon Dioxide Emissions

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s administration proposed a new rule to combat greenhouse gas emissions, just before the start of his second term in office. The New Jersey Department of
Read More
Governor Murphy’s NJDEP Proposes New Rule to Limit Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Municipal Clerk can Accept Electronic Signatures

On November 30, 2021, the Appellate Division further enforced and upheld a new staple of the Covid-19 world: electronic signatures. In Township Of Montclair Committee of Petitioners et al. v.
Read More
Municipal Clerk can Accept Electronic Signatures

Appellate Division Declines to Allow Developer’s Four-Month-Late DOT Permit Appeal, Citing No Change in Circumstances

A Maple Shade Township developer’s appeal of permit conditions was untimely when they appealed four months past the deadline and without any change in circumstances justifying deadline relaxation, the Appellate
Read More
Appellate Division Declines to Allow Developer’s Four-Month-Late DOT Permit Appeal, Citing No Change in Circumstances

In the media

  • Gulf Coast Town Center facing foreclosure

    Naples Daily News, September 16, 2015

    Wells Fargo filed a lawsuit Sept. 8 against an affiliate of CBL & Associates, the owners of the decadeold, 1.2 million-square-foot mall in south Fort Myers for a $190.9 million unpaid loan. The center has 94 stores on 204 acres, with such anchors as Super Target, Belk, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshalls and Costco...

    Read More
  • Town liable for private company's leaking underground tanks, court rules

    NJ.com Jul 26, 2017

    CRANFORD -- A couple that owned a businesses in town and became sick from leaking underground tanks owned by an adjacent business can sue the township for damages because the tanks were partially ...

    Read More
  • Dark Waters: How a Class Action Catapulted NJ to Forefront of 'Forever Chemicals' Battle

    NJ Law Journal Jan 09, 2020

    As property owners become increasingly aware of PFAS contamination, and as individuals exposed to PFAS learn of the health risks associated with exposure, liability will likely affect entire supply chains.

    Read More
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
Contact Our Firm

Quick Contact Form