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 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

  • With Lawsuits, New Jersey Signals Tougher Stance on the Environment. https://t.co/1Zcrce6Cur
    5 days ago
  • EPA Proposes Action to Enhance Cleanup Work Already Underway at the Fair Lawn Well Field Superfund Site. https://t.co/KGU9JE2nJC
    1 week ago
  • Giant sea gate proposed by Army Corps for New Jersey and New York. https://t.co/xSGA9D4eAV
    3 weeks ago
  • Environmental groups criticize the NJDEP's issuance of permits for the Meadowlands power plant. https://t.co/QhZxRtTBkk
    1 month ago

Recent Blog Posts

NJ Supreme Court Sees Standing in Tax Lienholders to Challenge Municipal Approval

On August 2, 2018, New Jersey’s Supreme Court held that a holder of a municipal tax lien may have standing to challenge a local planning board’s approval for a neighboring
Read More
NJ Supreme Court Sees Standing in Tax Lienholders to Challenge Municipal Approval

The Downside to Higher Ground: Appellate Division affirms finding of a townhome owner’s negligence and responsibility for water damage to a below unit caused by a prolonged leaking washing machine hose

On August 1, 2018, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division ruled in favor of plaintiff in the matter captioned Joseph S. D’Elia v. Joyce Campisi and Liberty Mutual
Read More
The Downside to Higher Ground: Appellate Division affirms finding of a townhome owner’s negligence and responsibility for water damage to a below unit caused by a prolonged leaking washing machine hose

United States Supreme Court Tackles Key Clean Water Act Judicial Review Issue

National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense, et al. 583 U.S. ____ (2018) Decided January 22, 2018 Since the passing of the Clean Water Act in 1972, the definition of “the waters
Read More
United States Supreme Court Tackles Key Clean Water Act Judicial Review Issue

New Jersey Voters to Decide Important State Constitutional Amendment concerning the Environment

On Tuesday, November 7, 2017, New Jersey voters will be asked to decide on a state constitutional amendment regarding the use of natural resource damages collected by the State in
Read More
New Jersey Voters to Decide Important State Constitutional Amendment  concerning the Environment

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

Quick Contact Form