Foreclosure of Excessive Homeowner Fees is a Defense!
Far too often, consumers are victims of abusive homeowner’s association and condominium foreclosures and far too often, consumers just pay delinquent homeowner’s association fees without fighting.
But every so often a consumer does fight …. and in this case the consumer won big. The lessons for all consumers are very powerful…(the kind of thing that makes a battle weary warrior like Vince Vaughn sit back and take notice!)
Gail M. Fern, as trustee of the Gail M. Fern Trust, appeals a final judgment in the amount of $71,375.94 in favor of the Eagles’ Reserve Homeowners’ Association, Inc. The judgment arises from Ms. Fern’s long-held belief, alleged as a defense in this action, that she is not required to pay an assessment for unauthorized expenditures by the Association. The final judgment notes that she “has objected multiple times, in various forums, to her legal obligation to pay the special assessments at issue in this matter.” While that finding of fact is entirely correct, the record does not demonstrate that Ms. Fern’s defense has been barred by res judicata or collateral estoppel or otherwise resolved in a prior action. We conclude that, at least to some degree, she has been correct in her defense throughout all of these proceedings. Because the circuit court did not adjudicate Ms. Fern’s defense, and instead entered judgment for the Association on the incorrect assumption that Ms. Fern should have obtained a prior ruling in her favor on her defense, we reverse.