This case involved a dispute between the owners of a condominium (“Owners”) and their homeowners association (“Association”) over HOA damages allegedly caused to Owners’ condominium unit as a result of water leakage from a water heater in a unit located above Owners’ unit. In a lawsuit filed by Owners against Association, Owners claimed that Association was responsible for their HOA damages because it failed to properly maintain the common area plumbing system in the building where the condominium units were located. Thus, Owners contended that Association’s failure to maintain the common area plumbing components was the cause of the leak that resulted in the damage to their unit.

In their lawsuit, Owners claimed that Association breached its duty imposed by the CC&Rs to “maintain the common areas in first class condition,” and also that Association’s handling of the HOA damages from the water leak created a “private nuisance” that impacted Owners’ unit. The trial court found in favor of Association and awarded Association $425,000 in attorney fees, paralegal fees, and costs incurred in connection with the lawsuit. Owners then appealed the trial court’s judgment.

The appellate court found that there was substantial evidence to support the judgment of the trial court and ruled against Owners on the various grounds of their appeal and further ruled that the $425,000 judgment against Owners for Association’s legal expenses was not an abuse of discretion by the trial court, and affirmed the award. As a final blow to Owners, the appellate court awarded costs to Association in an unspecified amount that were incurred by Association in responding to the appeal filed by Owners.

California Appellate Court decision (November 7, 2018).

See Case Decision: Bakas_v._Mountainback_Condo._Owners_Ass’n_(Cal._App._2018)1