On January 6, 2016 the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), filed a complaint (Eugene and Galina Ovsishcher v. Trump village Section IV Inc.) against a housing cooperative in New York seeking not less than $48,000 in penalties in addition to damages and attorney fees. The claim is based on failing to grant a reasonable accomodation under the Fair Housing Act. The complainants were a husband and wife and the husband, a combat military veteran of afghanistan and Kosovo, had received a recommendation from his psychiatrist to obtain an animal to assist with psychiatric disabilities related to his service. Not only did the cooperative and its leader refuse to allow the dog, they immediately began retaliating against the couple because of their request. The Association, or its insurance company, is likelely to spend tens of thousands of dollars in the defense of this claim and will also likely end up paying attorney fees, penalties, and damages. With a little competent legal advice early on, this matter would likely have been handled completely different and the association could have avoided this claim and the bad publicity it created. Morris Sperry always recommends seeking competent legal advice when an association receives a request for service or emotional support animals or other requests for accomodation related to any claimed or apparent disability.
Morris Sperry lawyers appeared on Park City Television this morning to talk about Morris Sperry's two days of board member training seminars. To watch the story, click HERE.
Morris Sperry supported research to cure stomach cancer with a jeans day pledge.
In a packed house at the Park City Red Rock Brewery, Morris Sperry lawyers Ryan Connelly, Melyssa Davidson,and John Morris presented on the nuances of management contracts and the relationship between the manager and an HOA. They addressed some of the thorny issues like indemnification, fidelity bonds, and hidden fees. Manager and board member attendees commented that the seminar was extremely valuable and how much they appreciated the information. Morris Sperry remains committed to training and education in the community association industry and has already scheduled a Seminar in January to continue this education.
Morris Sperry has confirmed their continuing sponsorship of the local Community Association Institute Chapter. Morris Sperry once again agreed to sponsor the local Chapter at the highest level - a diamond Sponsorship. Morris Sperry stands behind the local chapter and its mission to educate board members and industry participants.
Morris Sperry lawyers Melyssa Davidson, Robert Rosing, and John Morris appeared on Park City TV Mountain Morning Show to talk about Morris Sperry's upcoming law seminar on condominium and hoa management contracts. To view the entire show, click HERE.
John Morris appeared on ABC 4 news this morning on the Good Morning Utah show with Emily Clark to talk about Morris Sperry's HOA (condominium, PUD, community association, homeowners association) management contract seminar in Park City. To watch the story click HERE.
Morris Sperry lawyers including John Morris were on the The Local View last week and on the Morning Edition with Leslie Thatcher this morning. KPCW Park City radio hosted the Morris Sperry lawyers to talk about HOA management contracts and Morris Sperry's upcoming seminar tomorrow night. Morris Sperry is looking forward to an exciting evening talking about legal pitfalls and issues that can come up in a community association's most important contract, the contract with its manager. Condominium, Condo Hotel, Townhome, and HOA managers and board members are welcome to attend for free at Red Rock Brewing in Kimball Junction.
In a lively discussion, the lawyers at Morris Sperry and the managers at Community Solutions and Sales discussed the practical and legal side of reserves and the applicable laws. Everyone left the discussion better educated and better situated to serve our association clients. Morris Sperry looks forward to the next meeting with the Community Solutions managers so that we can continue to sharpen our skills and exchange ideas and experiences.
John Morris, a lawyer at Morris Sperry, testified with Representative Gage Froerer before a joint session of the House and Senate Business and Labor Committees at the Utah State Capitol. They presented an overview of HOA legislation that will likely be up for passage in the 2015 legislative session. John gave a brief summary of potential laws impacting rentals in community associations, open board meetings, condominium declaration amendments, fines and warnings, utility shutoffs in condominiums and townhomes, and the hierarchy of governing documents and HOA laws including the declaration, bylaws, plat, articles of incorporation, Utah Condominium Ownership Act, Utah Community Association Act, and the Revised Nonprofit Corporations Act. These laws will impact associations throughout the state including in many cities and counties with high numbers of HOAs such as Salt Lake City, Park City, Heber, Ogden, St. George, Provo, Salt Lake County, Summit County, Wasatch County, and Washington County. Through the volunteer time of its attorneys, Morris Sperry continues its effort and dedication to create balanced and sensible community association and HOA laws. This is only one of the reasons that Morris Sperry remains Utah's best HOA law firm to be general counsel to homeowners associations and to represent homeowners and developers with HOA legal matters. You can listen to the testimony by following this link: http://utahlegislature.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=14&clip_id=1...
John Morris, Tanner Blackburn of Property Management Systems, and others sat on a panel discussing bidding community association services. The event was well-attended and the facilities and food at Stonebridge golf club were excellent. A good time was had by all.
John Morris appeared with other members of the Utah Community Association Institute Legislative Action Committee (CAI LAC) at the capitol on Thursday, February 14, 2013. SB 64 was introduced in a committee hearing. The CAI LAC opposes this bill and John Morris, along with two other members of the CAI LAC, testified against the bill. SB 64's purpose is to unnecessarily punish associations that have not yet complied with reserve requirements already existing in Utah law. Even more problematic, this bill would punish associations by creating a legal trap that could be used to invalidate special assessments for much needed repair projects or delay repair projects. SB 64 would also define "special assessment" in the statute differently than in existing governing documents, leading to confusion and legal expense for associations as they try to figure out what this definition means for them. This bill is a nightmare for associations, managers, developers, and builders. On behalf of the community association industry, John Morris is working tirelessly to prevent this bill from becoming law or to see it modified to eliminate all of its problems.
John Morris gave a presentation on a new mediation program that he has been working on and that is to be proposed to the Chapter. He was also presented with a plaque honoring his three years of service as the Chair of the Legislative Action Committee.
John Morris and Quinn Sperry attended the CAI National Law Conference in Tucson Arizona. This conference is the largest conference in the United States focusing exclusively on community association law and issues. The attorneys at Morris Sperry continue to update their knowledge and training and to network with lawyers around the country, all in an effort to continue to provide the best service and value to their clients.
Morris Sperry is excited to announce that Brandon Myers will be joining the firm as a partner. He brings tremendous litigation experience to the community association litigation practice at Morris Sperry. With his expertise and skill, Morris Sperry is even better positioned to handle the immediate demands of complex litigation matters involving community associations. He also brings significant experience in insurance defense litigation, allowing Morris Sperry to provide even more comfort for insurance companies who appoint Morris Sperry to handle the defense of D&O and other claims against community associations.
Morris Sperry commits to a Diamond Sponsorship (the highest sponsorship level available) of the Local CAI Chapter in furtherance of the firm's long-term commitment to the industry. Morris Sperry is proud to assist the local chapter through both sponsorship and volunteer time. The Chapter provides educational opportunities for owners and board members and a forum for attorneys and other vendors in the industry to talk, test ideas, and generally work for the advancement of the expertise and sophistication of the industry. Morris Sperry is pleased to provide the critical support needed to accomplish these goals.
Morris Sperry is pleased to announce that John Morris has been selected by his peers for inclusion in Utah Business magazine's 2013 Utah Legal Elite™. Utah Business magazine surveyed thousands of Utah State Bar members and asked them to nominate attorneys they deemed above and beyond in Utah and whose legal services they would recommend to others. John Morris is honored to be selected for inclusion.
This was an active session for community association legislation. Several bills were proposed but only three bills made it through the gauntlet. SB 90 has significant amendments to both the Condominium Ownership Act and the Community Association Act. It also incorporates SB 64 (completely substituted version). Careful attention will need to be paid to SB 90 because most of the new laws have a delayed implementation date. While some of the new laws go into effect on May 14, 2013, most of the new laws in SB 90 go into effect on July 1, 2014. The important section that goes into effect immediately is the insurance section update applicable to all community associations. Most of these are technical updates that will not have much effect on current operations, but mixed use condominium projects (projects with commercial and residential units) and commercial condominium projects will need to pay careful attention to this bill because it substantially changes the application of the insurance laws. HB 101 softens the effect of the failure to properly register associations by allowing associations to avoid the effects of the failure to properly register under some circumstances. For complete text of the new laws with highlighting explaining which sections have delayed implementation in SB 90, refer to the "Resources" page on this website.
Under tremendous pressure from homeowners, board members, and industry participants, the sponsor of SB64 relented and adopted a complete substitution of the language in SB64 drafted entirely by members of the CAI Legislative Action Committee. The bill is back on the senate calendar and we now hope it passes! Thank you to everyone who contacted their legislators and derailed what could have been one of the worst bills for community associations to ever pass in Utah.