COVID-19 Relief Law - HOA Lawsuit for Community Pools?
Business owners in particular face novel challenges when evaluating the risks associated with reopening and COVID-19. Rutger's Law Professor Bell weighed in on a Q&A session pannel on Home Owner Associations can face negligence law suits due to reopening community pools:
"Q: Our adults-only community does not want to open our pool this summer, claiming we could be sued if a resident contracts COVID-19 even if we follow all state guidelines. Is that a possibility?
A: Yes. Because the standard in personal injury cases is “reasonableness,” generally decided after-the-fact by juries, the outcome of such cases is notoriously difficult to predict. And getting personal injury cases dismissed quickly, without incurring considerable litigation expenses, is even more difficult.
“Following all state guidelines” is not necessarily a fool-proof defense, and leaves open vulnerabilities: Did the community adequately supervise the conduct of patrons to ensure they followed the rules? Did the community adequately act on information leading a reasonable person to believe that a patron had COVID-19, etc.? It is unlikely that such matters will be fully covered by state guidelines.
And adult communities have a particular reason for concern — their patrons are part of one of the populations most vulnerable to COVID-19. This would affect the conclusion regarding whether the pool opening and precaution taken were reasonable. Having patrons sign a liability waiver might be helpful, but also is not fool-proof and might not be enforceable."
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