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Ian Lind • Online daily from Kaaawa, Hawaii

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Molokai condo lawsuit gets big result, lots of news

April 2nd, 2012 · 4 Comments

Speaking of condominium issues, that Maui jury award of nearly $3.9 million to a Molokai couple who were harassed by their condominium’s board of directors has probably rattled a lot of volunteer board members in condos across the state.

Intense political wars within condominium boards are all too common, although in this case things certainly went to the extreme!

There were several good news stores from the Star-Advertiser, Maui News, The Molokai News, and the Molokai Dispatch.

The case was also picked up by a number of mainland blogs that deal with condominium legal issues, including the HOA Law Blog, Court.us (which links to an MSNBC story), Ward Lucas’s Blog (with a catchy headline, ‘Think Las Vegas HOA Crime is Bad? Try Hawaii!’), and The Privatopia Papers (written by Evan McKenzie, author of “Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government”).

For more of the gory details, check out the plaintiff’s trial memo. It’s in legalese, but it has some graphic descriptions of what went on at this Molokai condo.

A comment on the Privatopia blog raises a significant issue:

Anonymous said…

According to a story at themolokainews.com/2012/03/27/ke-nani-kai-residents-receive-3-87-million-jury-award-against-condo-association/

“Aldrich, who didn’t join the Bevills lawsuit because he couldn’t afford the $900,000 of attorney fees…”

Unless you literally have a million dollars to spend, it is unlikely you will receive justice from a court of law when being abused by your HOA.

As Professor McKenzie said two years ago:

“The transaction costs of enforcing an owner’s rights are so great that they are hardly ever able to do it.”

With so many people living in condominiums, and such potential for conflict and abuse, is there a need for more places where people can turn for assistance without having to hire lawyers and go to court?

Just asking….

Tags: Business · Consumer issues · Media · Politics

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 zzzzzz // Apr 2, 2012 at 11:31 am

    I’ve often mused in the past about downsizing to a condo in town when I’m a retired empty nester, but this issue, as well as the PEX plumbing issues and HOAs getting hit hard by foreclosures have made that a much less attractive thought.

  • 2 LikaNui // Apr 2, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    This has been coming there for a long time, and also reminds of the Board being sued at Bluestone in Lanikai. Appeals will no doubt drag this out for quite a while unless the Board’s insurance feels it more financially suitable to settle the matter.
    Interesting that the Resident Manager was also in that lawsuit. And yes, in the past few days many Boards have been shaken up about this.

  • 3 bigbraddah // Apr 2, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Any way we can get more o dese fakkin haoles to screw with the islands even more?! JeSUZZZ! Molokai even.

  • 4 bigbraddah // Apr 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    “Bluestone in Lanikai” ?! Or “Bluestone beHIND Lanikai”?

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