It is not required to add 500 other unit owners in Owner v. HOA suit

In Accetta v. Brooks Towers Residences Condominium Association, Inc., — P.3d —, 2019 CO 11 (Colo. 2019), the Colorado Supreme Court determined that a single unit owner was not required to join all other unit owners of a condominium building in pursuing claims against the condominium association for dues allegedly improperly assessed. Mr. Accetta, a unit owner within the Brooks Tower Condominiums consisting of 566 residential units, 13 commercial units, and 297 garage units filed suit against the Brooks Tower Condominium Owners’ Association alleging his unit was being charged a disproportionate share of Association dues under a provision of the Brooks Tower Condominium Declaration that violates the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA). The Association moved the court to dismiss Mr. Accetta’s claims arguing Mr. Accetta failed to join all of the other unit owners of Brooks Tower whose interests would be affected by Mr. Accetta’s requested relief.

The district court held that the nearly 500 other Brooks Tower unit owners were required to be joined in the lawsuit. The Colorado Supreme Court held that joinder of parties is not required when the interests of the absent parties were aligned with those of any present party to the case. ¶ 20. The court found (1) the interests of the absent Brooks Tower unit owners were adequately represented by the Association; (2) Colorado law permits the Association to represent the interests of its members; and (3) the Association is defending Mr. Accetta’s claims which would align with absent unit owners who wanted to preserve the status quo. ¶ 24-26.

The Colorado Supreme Court reasoned that a requirement to add over 500 parties to a case could complicate and otherwise prohibit access to justice in pursuit of Mr. Accetta’s claims effectively making his claims cost prohibitive. The court also reasoned that such a holding could affect condominium litigation throughout the state and was an issue of first impression. ¶ 12.

The legal rights and remedies of unit owners in condominium associations and the associations themselves are complex and numerous. Should you have questions about a condominium unit you own or conflicts with an association you belong, contact the attorneys at Johnson Law today to discuss the unique facts of your case.

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