The normal emotions that rise to the surface when served with a lawsuit are fear and anger, but this is not a time to allow emotions to take control. There are clear actions that the association should take to protect the board and the association.
1. Immediately contact the association’s attorney and insurance carrier. This will allow the attorney time to investigate and prepare the appropriate response within the appropriate time limit. It also places the insurance carrier on notice.
2. Information provided to the attorney should include the most complete compilation of the facts surrounding the dispute. Include any and all communication and acts regarding the case and actions taken by the board and or members of the board.
3. Establish a direct line of communication between the association board members and the attorney. Direct communication will help ensure accurate information. It is best that the management company not act as the intermediary. Direct communication also allows the attorney quick accurate information and could help facilitate an early settlement or motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
4. Preserve all written and electronic records related to the dispute. Additionally, all other evidence to include recording of meetings, photographs, etc should be preserved and stored in a safe place. Loss or destruction of evidence could result actions by the court to include possible monetary fines or possibly a default judgment against the association.
At no other time is it so important to rely on the association attorney and the insurance professionals. The board has hired these professionals to protect them so now is the time to follow their advice.
If your association needs help with meetings, our attorneys are available to train board members. Please contact the Mulcahy Law Firm, P.C. for assistance on all topics pertaining to Community Associations. 602.241.1093.