If you are a condominium unit owner, you might find this to be of interest. If you are not a condominium unit owner, you likely will not.
In a recent case, an issue was whether a particular provision of the Florida Condominium Act provided a private cause of action between unit owners. Stated differently, the issue was whether one owner could sue another owner for a statutory violation. The appellate court held it did not: “Nothing in the language of this [particular] statute or in the statutory structure indicates that a private cause of action between unit owners was contemplated by the legislature in enacting this statute.” Universal Property & Casualty Ins. Co. v. Loftus, 2019 WL 3676433, *3 (Fla. 4thDCA 2019).
The point is that if a unit owner is being sued by another unit owner for a violation of specific provision in Florida’s Condominium Act, they may be doing so purely to create a private statutory cause of action that does not otherwise exist in order to support statutory attorney’s fees. However, this does not make it right. Sure, there may be a basis in ordinary negligence, but there is a difference between a unit owner suing another unit owner in negligence versus a statutory violation in a private cause of action under the statute that may give rise to attorney’s fees. Potentially, this is a big difference.
If you are a condominium unit owner sued by another unit owner in a private statutory cause of action under Florida’s Condominium Act, make sure you consult with counsel. Do not concede that a unit owner can sue you in a statutory private cause of action if no such right exists.
Please contact David Adelstein at firstname.lastname@example.org or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.