UNPUBLISHED North Carolina Appellate Court decision (April 7, 2015)
A homeowners association (HOA) and its board of directors filed suit against a homeowner and her parents based on claims for malicious prosecution, abuse of process and defamation. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendant engaged in a pattern of activity which constituted a nuisance and harassment of the HOA and its Board of Directors. The alleged conduct consisted of:
- A series of insulting and disturbing emails and letters that were sent to Board members, public officials and which related to the defendant’s and her parents’ membership in the HOA. The defendant sent copies of many of her communications to public officials, including North Carolina Senators and the President of the United States.
- Repeated telephone calls to the HOA’s property management company and leaving so many messages that the management company’s answering service was not able to accept other messages.
- Filing a complaint with the North Carolina Real Estate Commission alleging various improprieties by the management company which resulted in extensive investigations into the management company’s business.
The HOA sought and obtained an injunction against the defendant that prevented her from engaging in any direct communications with the Plaintiffs or the HOA’s management company, vendors or contractors during the pendency of the case. All communications were to go through the parties’ legal counsel. After repeated violations of the injunction, the plaintiffs sought to have the defendant held in contempt. The trial court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and entered an order finding the defendant in contempt and ordered that her answer to the plaintiffs’ complaint be stricken as a sanction for the contempt, and a default was entered against her. The trial court further order that the injunction against the defendant was to remain in place. Thereafter, the count granted the plaintiffs a default judgment that awarded the plaintiffs damages in the amount of $34,929.59 for increased insurance premiums, increased management fees, legal costs and other items. The judgment also awarded the plaintiffs $50,000 in punitive damages. The defendant appealed the injunction and the judgment for damages
The appellate court affirmed the lower court’s judgment.
See case decision: Elizabeth_Townes_Homeowners_