Defense Win
HWS Law Group
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
by: Tony Scisciani & Chris Luhrs

Section: Summer 2023

Tony Scisciani and Chris Luhrs of HWS Law Group recently obtained a defense verdict for their client, a condominium homeowners association, in a jury trial in King County Superior Court. In 2018, condominium owners (“Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint against their HOA (“Defendant”) after their unit experienced water intrusion.  Plaintiffs brought several claims against Defendant. First, Plaintiffs alleged the HOA breached its duty to timely replace the condominium roof and thereby proximately caused Plaintiffs to suffer damages from water intrusion.  Second, Plaintiffs alleged the HOA breached one or more provisions of the relevant Condominium Declaration and that the breach(es) of the Condominium Declaration proximately caused the Plaintiffs and their unit to suffer damages.  Third, Plaintiffs sought an award of their reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs along with statutory attorney’s fees and costs. As a part of their claims, Plaintiffs alleged their radiant heating system was damaged and that Defendant was responsible for the costs associated with replacement of that heating system.  When Plaintiffs sold their unit in 2022, they represented that all repairs necessitated by the roof leak had been completed – but those repairs were minimal.  In the end, it did not matter, as the jury concluded that Plaintiffs were estopped from bringing any claims because of Plaintiffs' role on the HOA Board and involvement in the roof replacement process. This case was driven not only by meritless claims, but by exaggerated damages claims and a hope by Plaintiffs for prevailing party attorneys’ fees, and Defendant was forced to defend against Plaintiffs’ claims for over four (4) years, incurring an extraordinary amount of attorney’s fees along the way. However, all fees were deemed reasonable when the Court granted Defendant’s Petition for Fees, in full.