Washington Appellate Court decision (July 19, 2016).
This case involved a dispute between association member homeowners and the HOA and its individual board members. The dispute involved the right to use a trail that crossed over the homeowners property and joined two different streets in the development. The homeowners contended that the trail was on their property and that other homeowners and their guests did not have a right to use it. Nevertheless, there were repeated incidents where other HOA members crossed over the trail despite efforts by the owners of the property to prevent that from happening.
The Plaintiffs in the action were homeowners who tried to impose vicarious liability on the association and individual board members for alleged tortious actions committed by other association members, one of which was the treasurer of the association. Both the trial court and the appellate court found that there was no evidence to support a claim that the association authorized any of the alleged wrongful acts that were carried out by other individual homeowners and there was no evidence that the individuals in questions were acting on behalf of the association. Although one of the individual homeowners alleged to have committed tortious acts was the treasurer of the association, the Plaintiffs did not present any evidence to show that she was not acting on her own when she committed the acts that gave rise to the lawsuit. Furthermore, the alleged wrongful acts committed by the treasurer were pursued for that persons personal objectives and not those of the association. Thus, the courts concluded that, based on the facts, there were no viable claims against the homeowners association based on a theory of vicarious liability.
See case decision: Johnston_v._Hidden_Cove_Prop