Violation of local ordinance may give rise to cause of action against Condominium.

In Spigner v Yarmouth Commons Association, a non-co-owner resident slipped and fell in the snow on the roadway of the association as she was attempting to access her mailbox.  She alleged a claim against the condominium and the management company under MCLA §559.241, which provides that a "condominium project shall comply with applicable local law, ordinances, and regulations.”  She alleged that the condominium violated a local ordinance which provides that a property owner shall keep "sidewalks, walkways, stairs, driveways, parking spaces and similar areas shall be kept in a proper state of repair, and maintained free from hazardous conditions, by failing clear the snow away from the mailboxes.

The court of appeals noted that there was no issue of fact that she fell in the roadway, not on a sidewalk, walkway, stair, driveway, or parking space and thus the local ordinance did not apply.  The court held that it need not reach the issue of whether MCLA §559.241 provides a private cause of action.

Frankly, this author thinks that the association got a big pass on this issue, as the court could just as easily have held that the private road within the condominium was a driveway or parking space or similar area which the association had a duty to maintain.  This section of the Michigan Condominium Act will undoubtedly be used by personal injury lawyers again.


© Steve Sowell 2017