This case involved a dispute between a condominium owner (Owner) and his condominium association (Association) over HOA denied boat lift installation. After HOA denied boat lift installation, the Owner filed suit against Association contending that HOA denied boat lift installation was unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious.
In defense of Owners claims, Association contended that the proposed lift would create a disharmonious appearance within the marina and obstruct the views of other residents. As such, Association contended that its denial of Owners application was reasonable and not subject to review by the court because the denial by Associations board of directors was protected by the business judgment rule.
In the trial for the HOA denied boat lift inatallation, the court awarded summary judgment in favor of Owner based on a determination that there were already other lifts that created a disharmonious appearance. Association then filed an appeal of the trial courts judgment.
The appellate court stated that the business judgment rule is a policy of judicial restraint that is based on the recognition that an associations board of directors are, in most cases, more qualified to make business decisions than the courts so long as the decision is within the scope of the associations authority and reasonablemeaning that the decision is not arbitrary, capricious, or in bad faith. The appellate court further stated that a determination of whether a decision was reasonable under the business judgment rule is an issue of fact that must be decided by the trier of fact. Because there was conflicting evidence presented to the trial court on the congruency, or lack thereof, of the existing boat lifts, there was an issue of fact that the trial judge should not have decided on summary judgment. Accordingly, the appellate court reversed the trial courts judgment in favor of Owner and remanded the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.
Florida Appellate Court decision (March 18, 2020).
See case decision: Royal_Harbour_Yacht_Club_Marina_Condo._Ass’n,_Inc._v._Maresma