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News/Blog

News/Blog

May 18, 2018

 

Quinn Sperry presented on disaster preparedness at the local CAI education event in Midvale, Utah. With Quinn's unique experience as a member of the Midvale City Counsel, he spoke on the intersection between local government and HOAs and the cutting-edge efforts by his city to ensure that HOAs can take advantage of federal funds after a natural disaster. Without proactive efforts like this, condominiums and PUDs suffering from earthquake, storm, or other natural disaster damage may be unable to obtain federal funds for cleanup. Morris Sperry lawyers are always looking for an angle to help their community association clients and all HOAs in Utah. That is why the Morris Sperry law firm is the best HOA law firm in Utah.

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May 16, 2018

On April 18, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission issued a Declaratory Ruling that reiterates the limitations on controls private and public entities can impose on the installation of satellite dishes and antennas. The FCC struck down a Philadelphia ordinance that attempted to impose limitations on the installation of satellite dishes on the front of homes and buildings. In its ruling, the FCC reiterated many well established principles from its Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule, 47 C.F.R. § 1.4000, the (“OTARD Rule"). These principles apply directly in condominiums, townhomes, PUDs, and other community associations. In short, the OTARD Rule applies to direct broadcast satellite antennas that are one meter or less in diameter or diagonal measurement (except in Alaska) and are designed to receive or transmit video programming services through multipoint distribution services. The OTARD Rule also applies to antennas used to receive fixed wireless or broadband Internet signals. For the OTARD Rule to apply, the antenna must be installed “on property within the exclusive use or control of the antenna user where the user has a direct or indirect ownership or leasehold interest in the property” upon which the antenna is located. The OTARD Rule does not apply to restrictions on installations in common areas or elements. It provides that a restriction impairs installation, maintenance, or use of a protected antenna if it: (1) unreasonably delays or prevents installation, maintenance, or use; (2) unreasonably increases the cost of installation, maintenance, or use; or (3) precludes reception of an acceptable quality signal. There are exceptions to the rule for restrictions necessary to address clearly defined, legitimate safety or historic preservation issues, provided such restrictions are as narrowly tailored as possible, impose as little burden as necessary to achieve the foregoing objectives, and apply in a nondiscriminatory manner throughout the regulated area.

If you are unsure whether the OTARD Rule is implicated in a rule governing satellite dish installations in a Utah condominium association, townhome, PUD, or other community association, contact the HOA attorneys at Morris Sperry for advice. The Morris Sperry HOA law firm stays current on the law and has the best HOA lawyers in Utah to help you with these issues.

 

 

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April 20, 2018

The 2018 Legal Elite is a listing of the top attorneys in Utah as voted by their peers. The Legal Elite highlights top attorneys in 27 categories. Active members of the Utah State Bar were invited to cast votes for peers whom they consider the state’s best attorneys. To quality to be on the list, attorneys must have at least five years of practice. Utah Business received thousands of votes. The top vote-getters were further vetted by a panel of senior attorneys from several firms covering multiple practice areas, representing a wealth of knowledge regarding Utah’s legal community. The final selection were the Utah Legal Elite attorneys.  John Morris and Quinn Sperry have both been selected for multiple years to this prestigious list. 

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January 25, 2018

 

Three Morris Sperry lawyers attended the national community association law seminar to continue to hone their skills and remain the most qualified HOA lawyers in Utah. The Conference covered cutting edge aspects of community association law along with in-depth seminars on new approaches to old issues. Morris Sperry attorneys take the time to attend this seminar in a continuing effort to remain the leading lawyers in the Utah HOA legal community.  

 

 

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November 16, 2017

John Morris presented today on new Fair Housing Act regulations that could dramatically change how HOAs look at housing discrimination. In the modification to the regulations, [81 FR 63074, Sept. 14, 2016], at 24 CFR § 100.7 - LIABILITY FOR DISCRIMINATORY HOUSING PRACTICES, HUD for the first time clearly defines the potential for direct liability for an HOA for the discriminatory actions of an Owner in the Association. A condominium association or homeowners association could be liable for "Failing to take prompt action to correct and end a discriminatory housing practice by a third party, where it knew or should have known of the conduct and had the power to correct it." It is now left to the HOAs to determine who the third parties are, what it means to "have the power to correct," and to figure out how to exercise that power in a way that satisfies the requirements of the Fair Housing Act. HUD also issued new regulations on Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment found at 24 CFR § 100.600. These new regulations made it clear that Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment  is illegal under the Fair Housing Act.  John Morris discussed these issues at the CAI luncheon presentation along with other panelists who included Chris Robison from the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division. Morris Sperry has as much or more experience with defending and prosecuting HOA Fair Housing complaints that any firm in Utah, and offers their homeowners association clients and owner clients solid advice and legal representation in these complicated and fact intensive matters.   

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October 28, 2017

Quinn Sperry of Morris Sperry was elected by his industry peers as the President-Elect of the Utah Chapter of the Community Association Institute. His service as President will start in one year. This continues Quinn's long standing service in the local Utah Chapter of CAI and his dedication to making HOAs better in Utah. Quinn has served as the Chair and a long standing member of the Communications Committee of the local chapter in Utah and is widely recognized in the industry for his work on bringing the local newsletter to Utah Board Members and Owners.

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August 31, 2017

 

Quinn Sperry was elected by his peers to serve as the Treasurer of the Community Association Law Section of the Utah State Bar for the 2017 through 2018 year. He was elected at the 2017 annual meeting of the section. This further demonstrates Morris Sperry's commitment to service. Quinn served on a committee of the section since 2016 and will continue to support the section that was Morris Sperry's idea and that Morris Sperry applied to create with the Utah State Bar in 2015. Quinn is looking forward to helping the section fulfil its mission and goals.

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August 31, 2017

 

On August 31, 2017, John Morris teamed up with Matt Liapis, a GIS expert, to discuss GIS and digital mapping technology and how it can be used in litigation. Specifically, John explained how this technology was used by Morris Sperry in obtaining a fifteen million dollar judgment. GIS presents a new opportunity for visualizing and analyzing property ownership on a massive scale and in a way that simplifies and quantifies a tremendous amount of data in simple to see and understand maps. Mat Liapis testified as a GIS expert in the trial and was able to effectively and efficiently demonstrate on digital maps the ownership of thousands of parcels of property at several different time periods. He was further able to visualize and quantify hundreds of lots upon which certain documents had been recorded. Using alternative methods of quantifying and presenting this data such as through traditional title searches and reports would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In contrast, the GIS analysis and mapping was more persuasive, easily understood, and cost a small faction of that amount. Morris Sperry uses cutting edge technology in litigation and trial both to increase the persuasiveness of their arguments and to keep costs down. 

 

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May 31, 2017

 

In what is almost certainly the largest wrongful lien verdict in Utah and perhaps the largest in the United States, Morris Sperry lawyers obtained a $15,110,000 wrongful lien judgment (pursuant to the Utah Wrongful Lien Act beginning at Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-101) for their clients after a week-long trial. The judgment out of the Fourth District Court includes over fourteen million dollars in wrongful lien statutory damages and over half a million dollars in attorney fees. The trial judgment included both an award of $3,000 per interest holder under Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-203(1) and an award of $10,000 per interest holder under Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-203(2). The judgment was obtained for three association clients, Cold Springs, Rock Creek, and Willow Springs in the Ranches at Eagle Mountain. In addition to the massive verdict, Morris Sperry obtained an order of quiet title eliminating forever any obligation of the owners in Morris Sperry's client associations to pay assessments to the Ranches master association and clearing the title to their homes of any CC&Rs, declarations, bylaws, notices of liens, and other documents previously recorded by the Ranches.

It started when Morris Sperry was retained to review some irregularities in the amendment procedures used by the Ranches master association. Morris Sperry lawyers figured out that the Ranches documents had serious legal defects and could potentially be invalidated, freeing Morris Sperry's clients from any obligations of the master association and eliminating over ten thousand dollars a month in assessments being paid by the owners in Morris Sperry's client associations. Based on the detailed and extensive analysis of the legal issues prepared by Morris Sperry, their clients were confident going forward with an extraordinary challenge to the Ranches authority even though the master association had operated for more than ten years. When the Ranches refused to release its documents, Morris Sperry filed and prosecuted a lawsuit that involved complicated legal and equitable issues.The Morris Sperry attorneys' unparallelled understanding of HOA law and extensive complex litigation experience allowed their clients to achieve this amazing trial result and huge verdict. When you have an HOA legal problem and you really want the right answer, this case is just one more example of why Morris Sperry is the only choice in Utah.

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January 17, 2017

 

For the fourth straight year, more Morris Sperry lawyers attended the largest and most important HOA law seminar in the nation than any other Utah law firm. Six lawyers from Morris Sperry spent four days in seminars on topics such as drones, hot HOA topics, amending governing documents, pets in HOAs, fiduciary duties, and several other community association topics. The law seminar put on by the College of Community Association Lawyers is the best opportunity for serious HOA lawyers to talk about HOA issues and strategies with hundreds of lawyers from around the country focused in this complex area of law. Morris Sperry lawyers attending and presenting at this seminar fine tune cutting edge strategies and ideas for inclusion in new governing documents and implementation throughout their practice. Morris Sperry invests in this training because they remain the only law firm in Utah focused exclusively on representing associations, owners, and developers in the complex area of community association law (condominiums, HOAs, townhomes, PUDS, and homeowner associations). Who do you want representing your condominium, townhome, or HOA, the lawyer who spends part of their time on HOA law or the lawyers at Morris Sperry who invest the time and effort to stay on the cutting edge of legal issues in the complex area of community association law?

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May 18, 2018

 

Quinn Sperry presented on disaster preparedness at the local CAI education event in Midvale, Utah. With Quinn's unique experience as a member of the Midvale City Counsel, he spoke on the intersection between local government and HOAs and the cutting-edge efforts by his city to ensure that HOAs can take advantage of federal funds after a natural disaster. Without proactive efforts like this, condominiums and PUDs suffering from earthquake, storm, or other natural disaster damage may be unable to obtain federal funds for cleanup. Morris Sperry lawyers are always looking for an angle to help their community association clients and all HOAs in Utah. That is why the Morris Sperry law firm is the best HOA law firm in Utah.

Comments 0   Add new comment
April 20, 2018

The 2018 Legal Elite is a listing of the top attorneys in Utah as voted by their peers. The Legal Elite highlights top attorneys in 27 categories. Active members of the Utah State Bar were invited to cast votes for peers whom they consider the state’s best attorneys. To quality to be on the list, attorneys must have at least five years of practice. Utah Business received thousands of votes. The top vote-getters were further vetted by a panel of senior attorneys from several firms covering multiple practice areas, representing a wealth of knowledge regarding Utah’s legal community. The final selection were the Utah Legal Elite attorneys.  John Morris and Quinn Sperry have both been selected for multiple years to this prestigious list. 

Comments 0   Add new comment
January 25, 2018

 

Three Morris Sperry lawyers attended the national community association law seminar to continue to hone their skills and remain the most qualified HOA lawyers in Utah. The Conference covered cutting edge aspects of community association law along with in-depth seminars on new approaches to old issues. Morris Sperry attorneys take the time to attend this seminar in a continuing effort to remain the leading lawyers in the Utah HOA legal community.  

 

 

Comments 0   Add new comment
November 16, 2017

John Morris presented today on new Fair Housing Act regulations that could dramatically change how HOAs look at housing discrimination. In the modification to the regulations, [81 FR 63074, Sept. 14, 2016], at 24 CFR § 100.7 - LIABILITY FOR DISCRIMINATORY HOUSING PRACTICES, HUD for the first time clearly defines the potential for direct liability for an HOA for the discriminatory actions of an Owner in the Association. A condominium association or homeowners association could be liable for "Failing to take prompt action to correct and end a discriminatory housing practice by a third party, where it knew or should have known of the conduct and had the power to correct it." It is now left to the HOAs to determine who the third parties are, what it means to "have the power to correct," and to figure out how to exercise that power in a way that satisfies the requirements of the Fair Housing Act. HUD also issued new regulations on Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment found at 24 CFR § 100.600. These new regulations made it clear that Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment  is illegal under the Fair Housing Act.  John Morris discussed these issues at the CAI luncheon presentation along with other panelists who included Chris Robison from the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division. Morris Sperry has as much or more experience with defending and prosecuting HOA Fair Housing complaints that any firm in Utah, and offers their homeowners association clients and owner clients solid advice and legal representation in these complicated and fact intensive matters.   

Comments 0   Add new comment
October 28, 2017

Quinn Sperry of Morris Sperry was elected by his industry peers as the President-Elect of the Utah Chapter of the Community Association Institute. His service as President will start in one year. This continues Quinn's long standing service in the local Utah Chapter of CAI and his dedication to making HOAs better in Utah. Quinn has served as the Chair and a long standing member of the Communications Committee of the local chapter in Utah and is widely recognized in the industry for his work on bringing the local newsletter to Utah Board Members and Owners.

Comments 0   Add new comment
August 31, 2017

 

On August 31, 2017, John Morris teamed up with Matt Liapis, a GIS expert, to discuss GIS and digital mapping technology and how it can be used in litigation. Specifically, John explained how this technology was used by Morris Sperry in obtaining a fifteen million dollar judgment. GIS presents a new opportunity for visualizing and analyzing property ownership on a massive scale and in a way that simplifies and quantifies a tremendous amount of data in simple to see and understand maps. Mat Liapis testified as a GIS expert in the trial and was able to effectively and efficiently demonstrate on digital maps the ownership of thousands of parcels of property at several different time periods. He was further able to visualize and quantify hundreds of lots upon which certain documents had been recorded. Using alternative methods of quantifying and presenting this data such as through traditional title searches and reports would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In contrast, the GIS analysis and mapping was more persuasive, easily understood, and cost a small faction of that amount. Morris Sperry uses cutting edge technology in litigation and trial both to increase the persuasiveness of their arguments and to keep costs down. 

 

Comments 0   Add new comment
August 31, 2017

 

Quinn Sperry was elected by his peers to serve as the Treasurer of the Community Association Law Section of the Utah State Bar for the 2017 through 2018 year. He was elected at the 2017 annual meeting of the section. This further demonstrates Morris Sperry's commitment to service. Quinn served on a committee of the section since 2016 and will continue to support the section that was Morris Sperry's idea and that Morris Sperry applied to create with the Utah State Bar in 2015. Quinn is looking forward to helping the section fulfil its mission and goals.

Comments 0   Add new comment
May 31, 2017

 

In what is almost certainly the largest wrongful lien verdict in Utah and perhaps the largest in the United States, Morris Sperry lawyers obtained a $15,110,000 wrongful lien judgment (pursuant to the Utah Wrongful Lien Act beginning at Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-101) for their clients after a week-long trial. The judgment out of the Fourth District Court includes over fourteen million dollars in wrongful lien statutory damages and over half a million dollars in attorney fees. The trial judgment included both an award of $3,000 per interest holder under Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-203(1) and an award of $10,000 per interest holder under Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-203(2). The judgment was obtained for three association clients, Cold Springs, Rock Creek, and Willow Springs in the Ranches at Eagle Mountain. In addition to the massive verdict, Morris Sperry obtained an order of quiet title eliminating forever any obligation of the owners in Morris Sperry's client associations to pay assessments to the Ranches master association and clearing the title to their homes of any CC&Rs, declarations, bylaws, notices of liens, and other documents previously recorded by the Ranches.

It started when Morris Sperry was retained to review some irregularities in the amendment procedures used by the Ranches master association. Morris Sperry lawyers figured out that the Ranches documents had serious legal defects and could potentially be invalidated, freeing Morris Sperry's clients from any obligations of the master association and eliminating over ten thousand dollars a month in assessments being paid by the owners in Morris Sperry's client associations. Based on the detailed and extensive analysis of the legal issues prepared by Morris Sperry, their clients were confident going forward with an extraordinary challenge to the Ranches authority even though the master association had operated for more than ten years. When the Ranches refused to release its documents, Morris Sperry filed and prosecuted a lawsuit that involved complicated legal and equitable issues.The Morris Sperry attorneys' unparallelled understanding of HOA law and extensive complex litigation experience allowed their clients to achieve this amazing trial result and huge verdict. When you have an HOA legal problem and you really want the right answer, this case is just one more example of why Morris Sperry is the only choice in Utah.

Comments 0   Add new comment
January 17, 2017

 

For the fourth straight year, more Morris Sperry lawyers attended the largest and most important HOA law seminar in the nation than any other Utah law firm. Six lawyers from Morris Sperry spent four days in seminars on topics such as drones, hot HOA topics, amending governing documents, pets in HOAs, fiduciary duties, and several other community association topics. The law seminar put on by the College of Community Association Lawyers is the best opportunity for serious HOA lawyers to talk about HOA issues and strategies with hundreds of lawyers from around the country focused in this complex area of law. Morris Sperry lawyers attending and presenting at this seminar fine tune cutting edge strategies and ideas for inclusion in new governing documents and implementation throughout their practice. Morris Sperry invests in this training because they remain the only law firm in Utah focused exclusively on representing associations, owners, and developers in the complex area of community association law (condominiums, HOAs, townhomes, PUDS, and homeowner associations). Who do you want representing your condominium, townhome, or HOA, the lawyer who spends part of their time on HOA law or the lawyers at Morris Sperry who invest the time and effort to stay on the cutting edge of legal issues in the complex area of community association law?

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September 20, 2016

 

John Morris of Morris Sperry took time out of his busy schedule to visit Ms. Peck's class at McMillan elementary school to talk about the judicial system and put on a mock trial in which the students participated. With a prosecutor, judge, jury, defense lawyer, and multiple witnesses, the children all played their parts and had a great time. Morris Sperry lawyers are always looking for a way to participate in the community.

 

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May 18, 2018

 

Quinn Sperry presented on disaster preparedness at the local CAI education event in Midvale, Utah. With Quinn's unique experience as a member of the Midvale City Counsel, he spoke on the intersection between local government and HOAs and the cutting-edge efforts by his city to ensure that HOAs can take advantage of federal funds after a natural disaster. Without proactive efforts like this, condominiums and PUDs suffering from earthquake, storm, or other natural disaster damage may be unable to obtain federal funds for cleanup. Morris Sperry lawyers are always looking for an angle to help their community association clients and all HOAs in Utah. That is why the Morris Sperry law firm is the best HOA law firm in Utah.

Comments 0   Add new comment
May 16, 2018

On April 18, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission issued a Declaratory Ruling that reiterates the limitations on controls private and public entities can impose on the installation of satellite dishes and antennas. The FCC struck down a Philadelphia ordinance that attempted to impose limitations on the installation of satellite dishes on the front of homes and buildings. In its ruling, the FCC reiterated many well established principles from its Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule, 47 C.F.R. § 1.4000, the (“OTARD Rule"). These principles apply directly in condominiums, townhomes, PUDs, and other community associations. In short, the OTARD Rule applies to direct broadcast satellite antennas that are one meter or less in diameter or diagonal measurement (except in Alaska) and are designed to receive or transmit video programming services through multipoint distribution services. The OTARD Rule also applies to antennas used to receive fixed wireless or broadband Internet signals. For the OTARD Rule to apply, the antenna must be installed “on property within the exclusive use or control of the antenna user where the user has a direct or indirect ownership or leasehold interest in the property” upon which the antenna is located. The OTARD Rule does not apply to restrictions on installations in common areas or elements. It provides that a restriction impairs installation, maintenance, or use of a protected antenna if it: (1) unreasonably delays or prevents installation, maintenance, or use; (2) unreasonably increases the cost of installation, maintenance, or use; or (3) precludes reception of an acceptable quality signal. There are exceptions to the rule for restrictions necessary to address clearly defined, legitimate safety or historic preservation issues, provided such restrictions are as narrowly tailored as possible, impose as little burden as necessary to achieve the foregoing objectives, and apply in a nondiscriminatory manner throughout the regulated area.

If you are unsure whether the OTARD Rule is implicated in a rule governing satellite dish installations in a Utah condominium association, townhome, PUD, or other community association, contact the HOA attorneys at Morris Sperry for advice. The Morris Sperry HOA law firm stays current on the law and has the best HOA lawyers in Utah to help you with these issues.

 

 

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April 20, 2018

The 2018 Legal Elite is a listing of the top attorneys in Utah as voted by their peers. The Legal Elite highlights top attorneys in 27 categories. Active members of the Utah State Bar were invited to cast votes for peers whom they consider the state’s best attorneys. To quality to be on the list, attorneys must have at least five years of practice. Utah Business received thousands of votes. The top vote-getters were further vetted by a panel of senior attorneys from several firms covering multiple practice areas, representing a wealth of knowledge regarding Utah’s legal community. The final selection were the Utah Legal Elite attorneys.  John Morris and Quinn Sperry have both been selected for multiple years to this prestigious list. 

Comments 0   Add new comment
November 16, 2017

John Morris presented today on new Fair Housing Act regulations that could dramatically change how HOAs look at housing discrimination. In the modification to the regulations, [81 FR 63074, Sept. 14, 2016], at 24 CFR § 100.7 - LIABILITY FOR DISCRIMINATORY HOUSING PRACTICES, HUD for the first time clearly defines the potential for direct liability for an HOA for the discriminatory actions of an Owner in the Association. A condominium association or homeowners association could be liable for "Failing to take prompt action to correct and end a discriminatory housing practice by a third party, where it knew or should have known of the conduct and had the power to correct it." It is now left to the HOAs to determine who the third parties are, what it means to "have the power to correct," and to figure out how to exercise that power in a way that satisfies the requirements of the Fair Housing Act. HUD also issued new regulations on Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment found at 24 CFR § 100.600. These new regulations made it clear that Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment  is illegal under the Fair Housing Act.  John Morris discussed these issues at the CAI luncheon presentation along with other panelists who included Chris Robison from the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division. Morris Sperry has as much or more experience with defending and prosecuting HOA Fair Housing complaints that any firm in Utah, and offers their homeowners association clients and owner clients solid advice and legal representation in these complicated and fact intensive matters.   

Comments 0   Add new comment
October 28, 2017

Quinn Sperry of Morris Sperry was elected by his industry peers as the President-Elect of the Utah Chapter of the Community Association Institute. His service as President will start in one year. This continues Quinn's long standing service in the local Utah Chapter of CAI and his dedication to making HOAs better in Utah. Quinn has served as the Chair and a long standing member of the Communications Committee of the local chapter in Utah and is widely recognized in the industry for his work on bringing the local newsletter to Utah Board Members and Owners.

Comments 0   Add new comment
August 31, 2017

 

Quinn Sperry was elected by his peers to serve as the Treasurer of the Community Association Law Section of the Utah State Bar for the 2017 through 2018 year. He was elected at the 2017 annual meeting of the section. This further demonstrates Morris Sperry's commitment to service. Quinn served on a committee of the section since 2016 and will continue to support the section that was Morris Sperry's idea and that Morris Sperry applied to create with the Utah State Bar in 2015. Quinn is looking forward to helping the section fulfil its mission and goals.

Comments 0   Add new comment
August 31, 2017

 

On August 31, 2017, John Morris teamed up with Matt Liapis, a GIS expert, to discuss GIS and digital mapping technology and how it can be used in litigation. Specifically, John explained how this technology was used by Morris Sperry in obtaining a fifteen million dollar judgment. GIS presents a new opportunity for visualizing and analyzing property ownership on a massive scale and in a way that simplifies and quantifies a tremendous amount of data in simple to see and understand maps. Mat Liapis testified as a GIS expert in the trial and was able to effectively and efficiently demonstrate on digital maps the ownership of thousands of parcels of property at several different time periods. He was further able to visualize and quantify hundreds of lots upon which certain documents had been recorded. Using alternative methods of quantifying and presenting this data such as through traditional title searches and reports would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In contrast, the GIS analysis and mapping was more persuasive, easily understood, and cost a small faction of that amount. Morris Sperry uses cutting edge technology in litigation and trial both to increase the persuasiveness of their arguments and to keep costs down. 

 

Comments 0   Add new comment
May 31, 2017

 

In what is almost certainly the largest wrongful lien verdict in Utah and perhaps the largest in the United States, Morris Sperry lawyers obtained a $15,110,000 wrongful lien judgment (pursuant to the Utah Wrongful Lien Act beginning at Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-101) for their clients after a week-long trial. The judgment out of the Fourth District Court includes over fourteen million dollars in wrongful lien statutory damages and over half a million dollars in attorney fees. The trial judgment included both an award of $3,000 per interest holder under Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-203(1) and an award of $10,000 per interest holder under Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-203(2). The judgment was obtained for three association clients, Cold Springs, Rock Creek, and Willow Springs in the Ranches at Eagle Mountain. In addition to the massive verdict, Morris Sperry obtained an order of quiet title eliminating forever any obligation of the owners in Morris Sperry's client associations to pay assessments to the Ranches master association and clearing the title to their homes of any CC&Rs, declarations, bylaws, notices of liens, and other documents previously recorded by the Ranches.

It started when Morris Sperry was retained to review some irregularities in the amendment procedures used by the Ranches master association. Morris Sperry lawyers figured out that the Ranches documents had serious legal defects and could potentially be invalidated, freeing Morris Sperry's clients from any obligations of the master association and eliminating over ten thousand dollars a month in assessments being paid by the owners in Morris Sperry's client associations. Based on the detailed and extensive analysis of the legal issues prepared by Morris Sperry, their clients were confident going forward with an extraordinary challenge to the Ranches authority even though the master association had operated for more than ten years. When the Ranches refused to release its documents, Morris Sperry filed and prosecuted a lawsuit that involved complicated legal and equitable issues.The Morris Sperry attorneys' unparallelled understanding of HOA law and extensive complex litigation experience allowed their clients to achieve this amazing trial result and huge verdict. When you have an HOA legal problem and you really want the right answer, this case is just one more example of why Morris Sperry is the only choice in Utah.

Comments 0   Add new comment
January 17, 2017

 

For the fourth straight year, more Morris Sperry lawyers attended the largest and most important HOA law seminar in the nation than any other Utah law firm. Six lawyers from Morris Sperry spent four days in seminars on topics such as drones, hot HOA topics, amending governing documents, pets in HOAs, fiduciary duties, and several other community association topics. The law seminar put on by the College of Community Association Lawyers is the best opportunity for serious HOA lawyers to talk about HOA issues and strategies with hundreds of lawyers from around the country focused in this complex area of law. Morris Sperry lawyers attending and presenting at this seminar fine tune cutting edge strategies and ideas for inclusion in new governing documents and implementation throughout their practice. Morris Sperry invests in this training because they remain the only law firm in Utah focused exclusively on representing associations, owners, and developers in the complex area of community association law (condominiums, HOAs, townhomes, PUDS, and homeowner associations). Who do you want representing your condominium, townhome, or HOA, the lawyer who spends part of their time on HOA law or the lawyers at Morris Sperry who invest the time and effort to stay on the cutting edge of legal issues in the complex area of community association law?

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May 24, 2016

While we generally trust in the integrity of owners, managers, and board members counting votes by owners at HOA board elections, that trust must have limits in the form of good controls. Investigations into condominium election fraud in Florida highlight the problem.  In one case, 115% of the owners voted in the annual election! In another, multiple people have confirmed that ballots submitted on their behalf were entirely fraudulent and do not contain their signature. The goal of this fraud is different in different community associations. Sometimes it is a misguided but innocent effort on the part of board members to keep election costs down. Other times it is an effort by entrenched board members to remain in power.  Even worse, sometimes it is part of a concerted effort to rob the assocaition of funds starting with the people on the board remaining in control and sometimes with the collusion of the manager. Hundreds of other complaints of election fraud were submitted in Florida in the last few years.   

It would be delusional to think this type of association electrion fraud never occurs in Utah, even if it is rare. Morris Sperry can help implement processes on behalf of associations and owners to minimize this risk when owners are concerned about election fraud or to proactively prevent any concerns. We have successfully participated in several hotly contested elections and implemented mutually agreeable procedures for collecting and counting ballots. These procedures gave everyone confidence in the results. Morris Sperry has the experience to advise associations and owners about elections, voting, counting procedures, and safeguards to ensure the integrity of the voting process.  

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May 18, 2018

 

Quinn Sperry presented on disaster preparedness at the local CAI education event in Midvale, Utah. With Quinn's unique experience as a member of the Midvale City Counsel, he spoke on the intersection between local government and HOAs and the cutting-edge efforts by his city to ensure that HOAs can take advantage of federal funds after a natural disaster. Without proactive efforts like this, condominiums and PUDs suffering from earthquake, storm, or other natural disaster damage may be unable to obtain federal funds for cleanup. Morris Sperry lawyers are always looking for an angle to help their community association clients and all HOAs in Utah. That is why the Morris Sperry law firm is the best HOA law firm in Utah.

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May 16, 2018

On April 18, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission issued a Declaratory Ruling that reiterates the limitations on controls private and public entities can impose on the installation of satellite dishes and antennas. The FCC struck down a Philadelphia ordinance that attempted to impose limitations on the installation of satellite dishes on the front of homes and buildings. In its ruling, the FCC reiterated many well established principles from its Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule, 47 C.F.R. § 1.4000, the (“OTARD Rule"). These principles apply directly in condominiums, townhomes, PUDs, and other community associations. In short, the OTARD Rule applies to direct broadcast satellite antennas that are one meter or less in diameter or diagonal measurement (except in Alaska) and are designed to receive or transmit video programming services through multipoint distribution services. The OTARD Rule also applies to antennas used to receive fixed wireless or broadband Internet signals. For the OTARD Rule to apply, the antenna must be installed “on property within the exclusive use or control of the antenna user where the user has a direct or indirect ownership or leasehold interest in the property” upon which the antenna is located. The OTARD Rule does not apply to restrictions on installations in common areas or elements. It provides that a restriction impairs installation, maintenance, or use of a protected antenna if it: (1) unreasonably delays or prevents installation, maintenance, or use; (2) unreasonably increases the cost of installation, maintenance, or use; or (3) precludes reception of an acceptable quality signal. There are exceptions to the rule for restrictions necessary to address clearly defined, legitimate safety or historic preservation issues, provided such restrictions are as narrowly tailored as possible, impose as little burden as necessary to achieve the foregoing objectives, and apply in a nondiscriminatory manner throughout the regulated area.

If you are unsure whether the OTARD Rule is implicated in a rule governing satellite dish installations in a Utah condominium association, townhome, PUD, or other community association, contact the HOA attorneys at Morris Sperry for advice. The Morris Sperry HOA law firm stays current on the law and has the best HOA lawyers in Utah to help you with these issues.

 

 

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November 16, 2017

John Morris presented today on new Fair Housing Act regulations that could dramatically change how HOAs look at housing discrimination. In the modification to the regulations, [81 FR 63074, Sept. 14, 2016], at 24 CFR § 100.7 - LIABILITY FOR DISCRIMINATORY HOUSING PRACTICES, HUD for the first time clearly defines the potential for direct liability for an HOA for the discriminatory actions of an Owner in the Association. A condominium association or homeowners association could be liable for "Failing to take prompt action to correct and end a discriminatory housing practice by a third party, where it knew or should have known of the conduct and had the power to correct it." It is now left to the HOAs to determine who the third parties are, what it means to "have the power to correct," and to figure out how to exercise that power in a way that satisfies the requirements of the Fair Housing Act. HUD also issued new regulations on Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment found at 24 CFR § 100.600. These new regulations made it clear that Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment  is illegal under the Fair Housing Act.  John Morris discussed these issues at the CAI luncheon presentation along with other panelists who included Chris Robison from the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division. Morris Sperry has as much or more experience with defending and prosecuting HOA Fair Housing complaints that any firm in Utah, and offers their homeowners association clients and owner clients solid advice and legal representation in these complicated and fact intensive matters.   

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August 31, 2017

 

Quinn Sperry was elected by his peers to serve as the Treasurer of the Community Association Law Section of the Utah State Bar for the 2017 through 2018 year. He was elected at the 2017 annual meeting of the section. This further demonstrates Morris Sperry's commitment to service. Quinn served on a committee of the section since 2016 and will continue to support the section that was Morris Sperry's idea and that Morris Sperry applied to create with the Utah State Bar in 2015. Quinn is looking forward to helping the section fulfil its mission and goals.

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August 31, 2017

 

On August 31, 2017, John Morris teamed up with Matt Liapis, a GIS expert, to discuss GIS and digital mapping technology and how it can be used in litigation. Specifically, John explained how this technology was used by Morris Sperry in obtaining a fifteen million dollar judgment. GIS presents a new opportunity for visualizing and analyzing property ownership on a massive scale and in a way that simplifies and quantifies a tremendous amount of data in simple to see and understand maps. Mat Liapis testified as a GIS expert in the trial and was able to effectively and efficiently demonstrate on digital maps the ownership of thousands of parcels of property at several different time periods. He was further able to visualize and quantify hundreds of lots upon which certain documents had been recorded. Using alternative methods of quantifying and presenting this data such as through traditional title searches and reports would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In contrast, the GIS analysis and mapping was more persuasive, easily understood, and cost a small faction of that amount. Morris Sperry uses cutting edge technology in litigation and trial both to increase the persuasiveness of their arguments and to keep costs down. 

 

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May 31, 2017

 

In what is almost certainly the largest wrongful lien verdict in Utah and perhaps the largest in the United States, Morris Sperry lawyers obtained a $15,110,000 wrongful lien judgment (pursuant to the Utah Wrongful Lien Act beginning at Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-101) for their clients after a week-long trial. The judgment out of the Fourth District Court includes over fourteen million dollars in wrongful lien statutory damages and over half a million dollars in attorney fees. The trial judgment included both an award of $3,000 per interest holder under Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-203(1) and an award of $10,000 per interest holder under Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-203(2). The judgment was obtained for three association clients, Cold Springs, Rock Creek, and Willow Springs in the Ranches at Eagle Mountain. In addition to the massive verdict, Morris Sperry obtained an order of quiet title eliminating forever any obligation of the owners in Morris Sperry's client associations to pay assessments to the Ranches master association and clearing the title to their homes of any CC&Rs, declarations, bylaws, notices of liens, and other documents previously recorded by the Ranches.

It started when Morris Sperry was retained to review some irregularities in the amendment procedures used by the Ranches master association. Morris Sperry lawyers figured out that the Ranches documents had serious legal defects and could potentially be invalidated, freeing Morris Sperry's clients from any obligations of the master association and eliminating over ten thousand dollars a month in assessments being paid by the owners in Morris Sperry's client associations. Based on the detailed and extensive analysis of the legal issues prepared by Morris Sperry, their clients were confident going forward with an extraordinary challenge to the Ranches authority even though the master association had operated for more than ten years. When the Ranches refused to release its documents, Morris Sperry filed and prosecuted a lawsuit that involved complicated legal and equitable issues.The Morris Sperry attorneys' unparallelled understanding of HOA law and extensive complex litigation experience allowed their clients to achieve this amazing trial result and huge verdict. When you have an HOA legal problem and you really want the right answer, this case is just one more example of why Morris Sperry is the only choice in Utah.

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May 24, 2016

While we generally trust in the integrity of owners, managers, and board members counting votes by owners at HOA board elections, that trust must have limits in the form of good controls. Investigations into condominium election fraud in Florida highlight the problem.  In one case, 115% of the owners voted in the annual election! In another, multiple people have confirmed that ballots submitted on their behalf were entirely fraudulent and do not contain their signature. The goal of this fraud is different in different community associations. Sometimes it is a misguided but innocent effort on the part of board members to keep election costs down. Other times it is an effort by entrenched board members to remain in power.  Even worse, sometimes it is part of a concerted effort to rob the assocaition of funds starting with the people on the board remaining in control and sometimes with the collusion of the manager. Hundreds of other complaints of election fraud were submitted in Florida in the last few years.   

It would be delusional to think this type of association electrion fraud never occurs in Utah, even if it is rare. Morris Sperry can help implement processes on behalf of associations and owners to minimize this risk when owners are concerned about election fraud or to proactively prevent any concerns. We have successfully participated in several hotly contested elections and implemented mutually agreeable procedures for collecting and counting ballots. These procedures gave everyone confidence in the results. Morris Sperry has the experience to advise associations and owners about elections, voting, counting procedures, and safeguards to ensure the integrity of the voting process.  

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March 31, 2016

 

The Connecticut Supreme Court has heard but not decided a potentially precedent-setting case involving condominiums. A police dog in a condominium building hallway signaled for marijuana outside of the door of a condominium unit. The police then obtained a warrant for the unit and found marijuana plants, growing equipment, firearms, and seeds. A trial court judge dismissed the charges saying the original search in the common area hallway violated the condominium owner's constitutional rights. This decision seems consistent with an earlier United States Supreme Court decision in 2013 holding that police dogs cannot sniff for drugs in areas right outside of a private residence without a warrant. The counter-argument in this case is that the condominium hallways are common area accessible by any owner in the project. 

This case represents an interesting constitutional question and a very practical question for community associations trying to take action to root out suspected crime. This issue could come up anytime there is crime in a condominium, townhome project, homeowners association, or any other type of HOA. The type of crime varies and can include drug dealers, growing operations, prostitution, and theft rings. The neighbors and unit owners frequently expect the association to take some action and association boards and management committees are often motivated to stop the illegal activity.

At Morris Sperry we have dealt with these issues for years and have good advice for association boards when they encounter this problem. These problems have to be handled in a way that complies with the law and puts a stop to the crime in the community.  

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January 14, 2016

John Morris, Quinn Sperry, and Brandon Myers were all selected by their peers as one of Utah Business magazine's 2016 Utah Legal Elite. This select group of lawyers practicing in Utah is chosen by other lawyers. The list of winners is published in a special edition of Utah Business magazine. Legal Elite honorees are selected by their peers in a statewide balloting process. Each year, members of the Utah Bar are invited to participate by submitting a ballot of Utah lawyers they hold in the highest regard - lawyers they have observed firsthand and would recommend to others. Nominators are allowed to cast only one ballot and can not vote for themselves. Morris Sperry lawyers have been selected for this list for years, and this selection is just one measure of the good work and value that Morris Sperry lawyers provide to their clients.

 

 

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November 24, 2015

A Virginia association recently received an application from an eleven-year-old boy for an open board position. The bylaws and declaration don't have any minimum age requirements. The Association has engaged counsel and is scrambling to figure out if they must accept the application and put the boy on the ballot for the election. The application raises all sorts of interesting issues including whether a child with no capacity to enter into a contract can nonetheless vote on a board and make decisions. Practically, of course, it seems that an association who elects an eleven-year-old to the board deserves what they get! 

This funny example highlights the never-ending questions that can arise in the context of board elections. The Association is taking the right step in seeking legal advice to resolve this issue before an annual meeting and before an election dispute turns into something more serious. Morris Sperry attorneys can turn around these types of questions quickly and efficiently to keep associations on track with their board elections.

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April 8, 2015

Governor Herbert signed the ceremonial copy of H.B. 98 today at the Capitol. John Morris of Morris Sperry, members of the apartment association, and the sponsor Representative Gage Froerer attended. John Morris appeared representing the Utah CAI Legislative Action Committee, members of whom worked on this bill. This new HOA law in Utah further defines the relationship between landlords in condominium associations and community associations. It also adds needed clarity to the law applicable to HOA fines and warning letters. John Morris and the other members of the Utah CAI LAC worked hard on this bill and it represents a good compromise between all of the interests involved.

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April 3, 2015

The governor signed the remaining new HOA law, S.B. 118, on the last day allowed. Signficant changes to the procedure for requesting association documents now takes effect along with help for association amendments and the fine and attorney fee provision for associations who fail to comply with the new open meeting laws. All of the new 2015 condominium laws and PUD laws will now take effect. Watch for future articles on the Morris Sperry website analyzing the new legislation and providing specific implementation dates.

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April 1, 2015

Governor Herbert signed three more new condo laws and new community association laws in the last few days. H.B. 98 dealing with association rentals and fines will become law. S.B. 80 making minor modifications to the reserve statute will become law. Finally, S.B. 206 making significant changes the the revised nonprofit corporations act will become law. Keep updated on the Morris Sperry's website for more information on these important new hoa laws.

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March 31, 2015

Governor Gary Herbert signed H.B. 304 into law. H.B. 304 contains important new homeowners association laws and condo laws that will help associations minimize damage from flooding and freezing pipes. In short, the bill now allows community associations to give notice the electric and gas companies, stating that the association wants notice before the utility shuts off either eletrical or natural gas service. Upon receiving notice from the gas or electric company, the condominium association or HOA can take action to winterize the unit or pay the utilitites so that the pipes don't freeze. The Utah Community Association Institute Legislative Action Committee successfully introduced this bill in an effort to help with this destructive problem. Contact Morris Sperry for a complete outline of the new 2015 HOA laws. 

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March 23, 2015

On Friday March 20, 2015, the Department of Justice announced that the Greenbrier Condominiums in Minnesota agreed to pay $100,000 in compensatory damages to six families that suffered discrimination and $10,000 in penalties to the United States. The settlement ends a Fair Housing Act case started by the Department of Justice against the Association and one of its employees. The Association also has to establish new non-discrimination policies and end discriminatory behavior. The Greenbrier and its employee were alleged to have created and enforced rules that prevented children from equally enjoying the common areas and to have made statements indicating a preference against families with children. This case highlights the importance of an annual review of a Condo or hoa's rules and policies by a qualified HOA lawyer - such as those from Morris Sperry. The lawyers at Morris Sperry have significant experience dealing with Utah Fair Housing issues and complaints, including successfully defending several complaints brought against Condominium Associations. More importantly, Morris Sperry can advise associations on how to avoid these complaints in the first place and comply with what can sometimes be very subtle Fair Housing laws.  

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March 15, 2015

The 2015 Utah legislative session ended Friday.New Utah laws on hundreds of topics including new HOA laws for 2015 all await the Governor's signature. With the passage of 528 bills, the Governor has started the long process of signing bills. None of the new community association laws have been signed yet, but there is no reason to believe they would be subject to a veto. For now, community associations in Utah just wait and see to find out which new 2015 HOA laws the governor will sign. The governor has 20 days from the end of the session to veto or sign a bill. If he vetos the bill, it obviously does not become law. However, whether he signs the bill, or does not sign it but does not veto, it becomes law.

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March 11, 2015

 

HB 304, a new Utah HOA law for 2015, is one step closer to passage. The bill, explained in a prior Morris Sperry news articles, passed the senate and is now waiting for the governor's signature along with several other new HOA laws for 2015.  

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March 7, 2015

After an unpredictable and wild legislative process that saw the bill transform several times, SB 118 finally passed the Senate and the House. It now awaits the governor's signature. This bill took more turns than a blind mouse in a mile long maze. In its final form, this bill is a compilation of three different concepts. First, community associations now have even better tools to get past mistakes and roadblocks in the governing documents that prevent amendments. Second, this bill ended up with owner protections against associations who fail to comply with the new open meeting laws in HB 99. The Utah Senate committee required these changes but, through simple inadvertence, they didn't make it into HB 99 before it passed both houses. So, they ended up in SB 118. Finally, SB 118 was amended to include significant clarifications to the procedures for an owner requesting association documents and a new penalty provision if condominium associations or other community associations fail to comply with owner document requests. These provisions came instead of another bill the Sponsor intended to run and were also part of a cooperative drafting effort between the CAI LAC and the senator.

This bill reflects a careful balance between owner and association rights. Those associations who take the "high road" of transparency and compliance with the law, will see no problems with these new penalty provisions. On the other hand, those management companies, HOA attorneys, and associations who tend to view HOA relationships with owners as an "us" - the board and its advisors, against "them" - the owners, had better beware. The days of obstructing owners who want to attend meetings or see association records are coming to an end. Owners in townhomes, condominiums, and homeowners associations will no longer have to stand for stonewalling, unexplained delay, exorbitant document copying charges, and other common strategies employed by the "low road" associations and their advisors who try to obstruct owners in their legitimate requests for association documents. Without needing an attorney, owners will be able to file a claim in small claims court and obtain a $500 damage award if the association fails to comply with either the open meeting or the document production laws. If an owner gets an attorney, he or she has a right to recover reasonable attorney fees.

This bill faced opposition from the "low road" attorneys who think that every law granting HOA owner rights is a threat to associations. And for those associations they advise, it probably is. Fortunately, that narrow minded opposition was fleeting, weak, and had no impact on the passage of the bill. The Utah legislature understood the importance of these types of balanced laws that support owners’ rights. How could they not – the same types of disclosure and access laws apply to the government they serve in!

John Morris, an attorney at Morris Sperry, is proud to have helped written the laws in this bill and to have testified in favor of this bill at the capitol. Morris Sperry applauds and supports this type of legislation. This new HOA law respects the balance between HOAs and their owners and helps remind as all who the HOA serves – the owners! The Utah community association institute HOA LAC (legislative action committee) worked hard on this bill with senators who have encountered the "low road" HOAs and were set on punishing them. The result was an excellent balance that good HOAs and their advisors will appreciate and respect. The work on this bill also continued and strengthened a good working relationship between the LAC and the Utah legislature.

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March 6, 2015

HB 304 passed through the Utah Senate Transportation and Public Utilities and Technology Committee and was placed on the Senate consent calendar yesterday. The odds of this bill passing just went up significantly. Community Associations could soon have a tool that allows them to get notice from utility companies before power and natural gas are shut off by the utility company for lack of payment. The board or management committee will have a chance to either enter the unit and winterize the unit or pay the bill and keep the utilities on. The Utah Legislative Action Committee of the Utah chapter of the Community Association Institute worked on and proposed this bill to help reduce damage from freezing pipes and flooding in community associations. Hopefully, this will turn into a valuable tool for Utah condominium associations and PUDs. 

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February 26, 2015

Senate Bill 80 passed the Utah Senate yesterday and will now start its journey through the House of Representatives. SB 80, entitled "Homeowners' Association Reserve Fund" will require developers during the period of administrative control (the time developers control a new project) to provide a copy of the HOA governing documents and the most recent financials for the association in any sale of a unit or home in the community.

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May 18, 2018

 

Quinn Sperry presented on disaster preparedness at the local CAI education event in Midvale, Utah. With Quinn's unique experience as a member of the Midvale City Counsel, he spoke on the intersection between local government and HOAs and the cutting-edge efforts by his city to ensure that HOAs can take advantage of federal funds after a natural disaster. Without proactive efforts like this, condominiums and PUDs suffering from earthquake, storm, or other natural disaster damage may be unable to obtain federal funds for cleanup. Morris Sperry lawyers are always looking for an angle to help their community association clients and all HOAs in Utah. That is why the Morris Sperry law firm is the best HOA law firm in Utah.

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April 20, 2018

The 2018 Legal Elite is a listing of the top attorneys in Utah as voted by their peers. The Legal Elite highlights top attorneys in 27 categories. Active members of the Utah State Bar were invited to cast votes for peers whom they consider the state’s best attorneys. To quality to be on the list, attorneys must have at least five years of practice. Utah Business received thousands of votes. The top vote-getters were further vetted by a panel of senior attorneys from several firms covering multiple practice areas, representing a wealth of knowledge regarding Utah’s legal community. The final selection were the Utah Legal Elite attorneys.  John Morris and Quinn Sperry have both been selected for multiple years to this prestigious list. 

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November 16, 2017

John Morris presented today on new Fair Housing Act regulations that could dramatically change how HOAs look at housing discrimination. In the modification to the regulations, [81 FR 63074, Sept. 14, 2016], at 24 CFR § 100.7 - LIABILITY FOR DISCRIMINATORY HOUSING PRACTICES, HUD for the first time clearly defines the potential for direct liability for an HOA for the discriminatory actions of an Owner in the Association. A condominium association or homeowners association could be liable for "Failing to take prompt action to correct and end a discriminatory housing practice by a third party, where it knew or should have known of the conduct and had the power to correct it." It is now left to the HOAs to determine who the third parties are, what it means to "have the power to correct," and to figure out how to exercise that power in a way that satisfies the requirements of the Fair Housing Act. HUD also issued new regulations on Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment found at 24 CFR § 100.600. These new regulations made it clear that Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment  is illegal under the Fair Housing Act.  John Morris discussed these issues at the CAI luncheon presentation along with other panelists who included Chris Robison from the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division. Morris Sperry has as much or more experience with defending and prosecuting HOA Fair Housing complaints that any firm in Utah, and offers their homeowners association clients and owner clients solid advice and legal representation in these complicated and fact intensive matters.   

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October 28, 2017

Quinn Sperry of Morris Sperry was elected by his industry peers as the President-Elect of the Utah Chapter of the Community Association Institute. His service as President will start in one year. This continues Quinn's long standing service in the local Utah Chapter of CAI and his dedication to making HOAs better in Utah. Quinn has served as the Chair and a long standing member of the Communications Committee of the local chapter in Utah and is widely recognized in the industry for his work on bringing the local newsletter to Utah Board Members and Owners.

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August 31, 2017

 

Quinn Sperry was elected by his peers to serve as the Treasurer of the Community Association Law Section of the Utah State Bar for the 2017 through 2018 year. He was elected at the 2017 annual meeting of the section. This further demonstrates Morris Sperry's commitment to service. Quinn served on a committee of the section since 2016 and will continue to support the section that was Morris Sperry's idea and that Morris Sperry applied to create with the Utah State Bar in 2015. Quinn is looking forward to helping the section fulfil its mission and goals.

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May 31, 2017

 

In what is almost certainly the largest wrongful lien verdict in Utah and perhaps the largest in the United States, Morris Sperry lawyers obtained a $15,110,000 wrongful lien judgment (pursuant to the Utah Wrongful Lien Act beginning at Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-101) for their clients after a week-long trial. The judgment out of the Fourth District Court includes over fourteen million dollars in wrongful lien statutory damages and over half a million dollars in attorney fees. The trial judgment included both an award of $3,000 per interest holder under Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-203(1) and an award of $10,000 per interest holder under Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-203(2). The judgment was obtained for three association clients, Cold Springs, Rock Creek, and Willow Springs in the Ranches at Eagle Mountain. In addition to the massive verdict, Morris Sperry obtained an order of quiet title eliminating forever any obligation of the owners in Morris Sperry's client associations to pay assessments to the Ranches master association and clearing the title to their homes of any CC&Rs, declarations, bylaws, notices of liens, and other documents previously recorded by the Ranches.

It started when Morris Sperry was retained to review some irregularities in the amendment procedures used by the Ranches master association. Morris Sperry lawyers figured out that the Ranches documents had serious legal defects and could potentially be invalidated, freeing Morris Sperry's clients from any obligations of the master association and eliminating over ten thousand dollars a month in assessments being paid by the owners in Morris Sperry's client associations. Based on the detailed and extensive analysis of the legal issues prepared by Morris Sperry, their clients were confident going forward with an extraordinary challenge to the Ranches authority even though the master association had operated for more than ten years. When the Ranches refused to release its documents, Morris Sperry filed and prosecuted a lawsuit that involved complicated legal and equitable issues.The Morris Sperry attorneys' unparallelled understanding of HOA law and extensive complex litigation experience allowed their clients to achieve this amazing trial result and huge verdict. When you have an HOA legal problem and you really want the right answer, this case is just one more example of why Morris Sperry is the only choice in Utah.

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September 20, 2016

 

John Morris of Morris Sperry took time out of his busy schedule to visit Ms. Peck's class at McMillan elementary school to talk about the judicial system and put on a mock trial in which the students participated. With a prosecutor, judge, jury, defense lawyer, and multiple witnesses, the children all played their parts and had a great time. Morris Sperry lawyers are always looking for a way to participate in the community.

 

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May 23, 2016

John Holland, the founder of Property Management Systems Inc., passed away May 17, 2016. Anyone who had the privilege of meeting John remembered him as a kind and thoughtful man who always made anyone he was speaking with feel special. He built a very successful property management business on hard work and his ability to build relationships. John and his son Joe introduced John Morris of Morris Sperry into the HOA world. Fresh out of law school, John Morris served on the board of his condominium association that Property Management Systems managed. After getting to know one another, Joe asked John Morris to help him with another association's legal issues. The rest is history as John Morris's practice included more and more HOA work until it become his sole focus. This culminated in the founding of Morris Sperry, the only law firm in Utah focused on HOA law. Joe and John Morris are still friends and still working together to solve problems for HOAs.

John Holland was a good man and he will be missed by his family, his employees, and those in the property management industry. We offer our deepest condolences from the lawyers and staff at Morris Sperry. 

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January 30, 2016

For the third straight year, more Morris Sperry lawyers attended the largest and most important HOA law seminar in the nation than any other Utah law firm. Five lawyers from Morris Sperry spent four days in seminars on topics such as aging communities, hot HOA topics, amending governing documents, pets in HOAs, plats, and several other community association topics. The law seminar put on by the College of Community Association Lawyers is the best opportunity for serious HOA lawyers to talk about HOA issues and strategies with hundreds of lawyers from around the country focused in this complex area of law. Morris Sperry lawyers attending and presenting at this seminar fine tune cutting edge strategies and ideas for inclusion in new governing documents and implementation throughout their practice. Morris Sperry can invest in this training because they remain the only law firm in Utah focused exclusively on representing associations, owners, and developers in the complex area of community association law (condominiums, HOAs, townhomes, PUDS, and homeowner associations). Who do you want representing your condominium, townhome, or HOA, the "jack of all trades" lawyer who would never invest the time in a seminar like this or the lawyers at Morris Sperry who invest the time and effort to stay on the cutting edge of legal issues impacting your assocaition?

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January 14, 2016

John Morris, Quinn Sperry, and Brandon Myers were all selected by their peers as one of Utah Business magazine's 2016 Utah Legal Elite. This select group of lawyers practicing in Utah is chosen by other lawyers. The list of winners is published in a special edition of Utah Business magazine. Legal Elite honorees are selected by their peers in a statewide balloting process. Each year, members of the Utah Bar are invited to participate by submitting a ballot of Utah lawyers they hold in the highest regard - lawyers they have observed firsthand and would recommend to others. Nominators are allowed to cast only one ballot and can not vote for themselves. Morris Sperry lawyers have been selected for this list for years, and this selection is just one measure of the good work and value that Morris Sperry lawyers provide to their clients.

 

 

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May 18, 2018

 

Quinn Sperry presented on disaster preparedness at the local CAI education event in Midvale, Utah. With Quinn's unique experience as a member of the Midvale City Counsel, he spoke on the intersection between local government and HOAs and the cutting-edge efforts by his city to ensure that HOAs can take advantage of federal funds after a natural disaster. Without proactive efforts like this, condominiums and PUDs suffering from earthquake, storm, or other natural disaster damage may be unable to obtain federal funds for cleanup. Morris Sperry lawyers are always looking for an angle to help their community association clients and all HOAs in Utah. That is why the Morris Sperry law firm is the best HOA law firm in Utah.

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November 16, 2017

John Morris presented today on new Fair Housing Act regulations that could dramatically change how HOAs look at housing discrimination. In the modification to the regulations, [81 FR 63074, Sept. 14, 2016], at 24 CFR § 100.7 - LIABILITY FOR DISCRIMINATORY HOUSING PRACTICES, HUD for the first time clearly defines the potential for direct liability for an HOA for the discriminatory actions of an Owner in the Association. A condominium association or homeowners association could be liable for "Failing to take prompt action to correct and end a discriminatory housing practice by a third party, where it knew or should have known of the conduct and had the power to correct it." It is now left to the HOAs to determine who the third parties are, what it means to "have the power to correct," and to figure out how to exercise that power in a way that satisfies the requirements of the Fair Housing Act. HUD also issued new regulations on Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment found at 24 CFR § 100.600. These new regulations made it clear that Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment  is illegal under the Fair Housing Act.  John Morris discussed these issues at the CAI luncheon presentation along with other panelists who included Chris Robison from the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division. Morris Sperry has as much or more experience with defending and prosecuting HOA Fair Housing complaints that any firm in Utah, and offers their homeowners association clients and owner clients solid advice and legal representation in these complicated and fact intensive matters.   

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October 28, 2017

Quinn Sperry of Morris Sperry was elected by his industry peers as the President-Elect of the Utah Chapter of the Community Association Institute. His service as President will start in one year. This continues Quinn's long standing service in the local Utah Chapter of CAI and his dedication to making HOAs better in Utah. Quinn has served as the Chair and a long standing member of the Communications Committee of the local chapter in Utah and is widely recognized in the industry for his work on bringing the local newsletter to Utah Board Members and Owners.

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August 31, 2017

 

On August 31, 2017, John Morris teamed up with Matt Liapis, a GIS expert, to discuss GIS and digital mapping technology and how it can be used in litigation. Specifically, John explained how this technology was used by Morris Sperry in obtaining a fifteen million dollar judgment. GIS presents a new opportunity for visualizing and analyzing property ownership on a massive scale and in a way that simplifies and quantifies a tremendous amount of data in simple to see and understand maps. Mat Liapis testified as a GIS expert in the trial and was able to effectively and efficiently demonstrate on digital maps the ownership of thousands of parcels of property at several different time periods. He was further able to visualize and quantify hundreds of lots upon which certain documents had been recorded. Using alternative methods of quantifying and presenting this data such as through traditional title searches and reports would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In contrast, the GIS analysis and mapping was more persuasive, easily understood, and cost a small faction of that amount. Morris Sperry uses cutting edge technology in litigation and trial both to increase the persuasiveness of their arguments and to keep costs down. 

 

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May 31, 2017

 

In what is almost certainly the largest wrongful lien verdict in Utah and perhaps the largest in the United States, Morris Sperry lawyers obtained a $15,110,000 wrongful lien judgment (pursuant to the Utah Wrongful Lien Act beginning at Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-101) for their clients after a week-long trial. The judgment out of the Fourth District Court includes over fourteen million dollars in wrongful lien statutory damages and over half a million dollars in attorney fees. The trial judgment included both an award of $3,000 per interest holder under Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-203(1) and an award of $10,000 per interest holder under Utah Code Ann. Section 38-9-203(2). The judgment was obtained for three association clients, Cold Springs, Rock Creek, and Willow Springs in the Ranches at Eagle Mountain. In addition to the massive verdict, Morris Sperry obtained an order of quiet title eliminating forever any obligation of the owners in Morris Sperry's client associations to pay assessments to the Ranches master association and clearing the title to their homes of any CC&Rs, declarations, bylaws, notices of liens, and other documents previously recorded by the Ranches.

It started when Morris Sperry was retained to review some irregularities in the amendment procedures used by the Ranches master association. Morris Sperry lawyers figured out that the Ranches documents had serious legal defects and could potentially be invalidated, freeing Morris Sperry's clients from any obligations of the master association and eliminating over ten thousand dollars a month in assessments being paid by the owners in Morris Sperry's client associations. Based on the detailed and extensive analysis of the legal issues prepared by Morris Sperry, their clients were confident going forward with an extraordinary challenge to the Ranches authority even though the master association had operated for more than ten years. When the Ranches refused to release its documents, Morris Sperry filed and prosecuted a lawsuit that involved complicated legal and equitable issues.The Morris Sperry attorneys' unparallelled understanding of HOA law and extensive complex litigation experience allowed their clients to achieve this amazing trial result and huge verdict. When you have an HOA legal problem and you really want the right answer, this case is just one more example of why Morris Sperry is the only choice in Utah.

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January 17, 2017

 

For the fourth straight year, more Morris Sperry lawyers attended the largest and most important HOA law seminar in the nation than any other Utah law firm. Six lawyers from Morris Sperry spent four days in seminars on topics such as drones, hot HOA topics, amending governing documents, pets in HOAs, fiduciary duties, and several other community association topics. The law seminar put on by the College of Community Association Lawyers is the best opportunity for serious HOA lawyers to talk about HOA issues and strategies with hundreds of lawyers from around the country focused in this complex area of law. Morris Sperry lawyers attending and presenting at this seminar fine tune cutting edge strategies and ideas for inclusion in new governing documents and implementation throughout their practice. Morris Sperry invests in this training because they remain the only law firm in Utah focused exclusively on representing associations, owners, and developers in the complex area of community association law (condominiums, HOAs, townhomes, PUDS, and homeowner associations). Who do you want representing your condominium, townhome, or HOA, the lawyer who spends part of their time on HOA law or the lawyers at Morris Sperry who invest the time and effort to stay on the cutting edge of legal issues in the complex area of community association law?

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May 24, 2016

While we generally trust in the integrity of owners, managers, and board members counting votes by owners at HOA board elections, that trust must have limits in the form of good controls. Investigations into condominium election fraud in Florida highlight the problem.  In one case, 115% of the owners voted in the annual election! In another, multiple people have confirmed that ballots submitted on their behalf were entirely fraudulent and do not contain their signature. The goal of this fraud is different in different community associations. Sometimes it is a misguided but innocent effort on the part of board members to keep election costs down. Other times it is an effort by entrenched board members to remain in power.  Even worse, sometimes it is part of a concerted effort to rob the assocaition of funds starting with the people on the board remaining in control and sometimes with the collusion of the manager. Hundreds of other complaints of election fraud were submitted in Florida in the last few years.   

It would be delusional to think this type of association electrion fraud never occurs in Utah, even if it is rare. Morris Sperry can help implement processes on behalf of associations and owners to minimize this risk when owners are concerned about election fraud or to proactively prevent any concerns. We have successfully participated in several hotly contested elections and implemented mutually agreeable procedures for collecting and counting ballots. These procedures gave everyone confidence in the results. Morris Sperry has the experience to advise associations and owners about elections, voting, counting procedures, and safeguards to ensure the integrity of the voting process.  

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May 23, 2016

John Holland, the founder of Property Management Systems Inc., passed away May 17, 2016. Anyone who had the privilege of meeting John remembered him as a kind and thoughtful man who always made anyone he was speaking with feel special. He built a very successful property management business on hard work and his ability to build relationships. John and his son Joe introduced John Morris of Morris Sperry into the HOA world. Fresh out of law school, John Morris served on the board of his condominium association that Property Management Systems managed. After getting to know one another, Joe asked John Morris to help him with another association's legal issues. The rest is history as John Morris's practice included more and more HOA work until it become his sole focus. This culminated in the founding of Morris Sperry, the only law firm in Utah focused on HOA law. Joe and John Morris are still friends and still working together to solve problems for HOAs.

John Holland was a good man and he will be missed by his family, his employees, and those in the property management industry. We offer our deepest condolences from the lawyers and staff at Morris Sperry. 

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March 31, 2016

 

The Connecticut Supreme Court has heard but not decided a potentially precedent-setting case involving condominiums. A police dog in a condominium building hallway signaled for marijuana outside of the door of a condominium unit. The police then obtained a warrant for the unit and found marijuana plants, growing equipment, firearms, and seeds. A trial court judge dismissed the charges saying the original search in the common area hallway violated the condominium owner's constitutional rights. This decision seems consistent with an earlier United States Supreme Court decision in 2013 holding that police dogs cannot sniff for drugs in areas right outside of a private residence without a warrant. The counter-argument in this case is that the condominium hallways are common area accessible by any owner in the project. 

This case represents an interesting constitutional question and a very practical question for community associations trying to take action to root out suspected crime. This issue could come up anytime there is crime in a condominium, townhome project, homeowners association, or any other type of HOA. The type of crime varies and can include drug dealers, growing operations, prostitution, and theft rings. The neighbors and unit owners frequently expect the association to take some action and association boards and management committees are often motivated to stop the illegal activity.

At Morris Sperry we have dealt with these issues for years and have good advice for association boards when they encounter this problem. These problems have to be handled in a way that complies with the law and puts a stop to the crime in the community.  

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January 30, 2016

For the third straight year, more Morris Sperry lawyers attended the largest and most important HOA law seminar in the nation than any other Utah law firm. Five lawyers from Morris Sperry spent four days in seminars on topics such as aging communities, hot HOA topics, amending governing documents, pets in HOAs, plats, and several other community association topics. The law seminar put on by the College of Community Association Lawyers is the best opportunity for serious HOA lawyers to talk about HOA issues and strategies with hundreds of lawyers from around the country focused in this complex area of law. Morris Sperry lawyers attending and presenting at this seminar fine tune cutting edge strategies and ideas for inclusion in new governing documents and implementation throughout their practice. Morris Sperry can invest in this training because they remain the only law firm in Utah focused exclusively on representing associations, owners, and developers in the complex area of community association law (condominiums, HOAs, townhomes, PUDS, and homeowner associations). Who do you want representing your condominium, townhome, or HOA, the "jack of all trades" lawyer who would never invest the time in a seminar like this or the lawyers at Morris Sperry who invest the time and effort to stay on the cutting edge of legal issues impacting your assocaition?

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