Wyoming Supreme Court decision (December 30,2014)

In this case, the owners of a separate interest in a common interest community filed suit against the association seeking an order compelling the association to allow the inspection and copying of certain association documents and also sought an award of costs and attorney fees. After finding that the owners were entitled to the documents, the lower court declined to award the owners their costs and fees incurred because the court concluded that the association had made “reasonable efforts” to comply with the request and provided a reasonable explanation for the delay in providing the documents. The applicable state statute provides that, if the court orders inspection and copying of demanded records, it shall also order payment of the member’s costs and reasonable attorney fees unless the association’s refusal was “in good faith because it had reasonable basis for doubt about the right of the member to inspect the records demanded.”

The owners appealed the denial of the requested costs and fees contending that the lower court’s finding that the association had made “reasonable efforts” to satisfy the owners’ requests was erroneous. The appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision that the association had a reasonable basis for the delay in providing documents. Acknowledging that the legal standard requires a showing of “good faith” on the part of the association, the reviewing court concluded that a finding that the association had not acted in bad faith was the equivalent to a conclusion that it had acted in good faith.

See case decision: Clark_v._Ryan_Park_Prop._&_H