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My condo building was destroyed by fire, can association president be sued?

Chicago, IL |

The fire happened in the president's utility closet where the furnace was housed. The fire was so intense in that area that the cause could not be determined. This president has a history of not maintaining furnaces; an earlier fire happened in the furnace room of the basement because of lack of maintenance. The president also voted against a hardwired alarm which is required by law in Chicago. Can a by-law that protects the president against being sued be circumvented?

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Attorney answers 3


Usually, members of the board are protected, unless their actions are willful and wanton. Hopefully, you have been made whole (or at least close) via your homeowner's insurance. See an attorney.


If your homeowners insurer suspects that your president was negligent, it may take appropriate action on your behalf.

DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.


Generally members of the board/officers are only protected to the extent that their actions (or inactions) do not amount to gross negligence or willful/wanton misconduct. Whether or not the president’s failure to regularly maintain the furnace rises to the level of gross negligence would be something for a court to determine and, as stated, I would leave it to your Homeowner’s insurance company to initiate that investigation/litigation. That being said, to the extent you are not made whole by the insurance I would consult an attorney and (if the deficient amount is the result of an estimate you do not agree with) get an independent estimate of the damage and file an errors and omissions claim against the insurance company. If you would like to discuss the matter in detail we can give you a complimentary consultation. Either way, Good luck!

Anthony J. Zeoli
Attorney At Law
Hecht & Seidman, LLC
(773) 983-9133

DISCLAIMER. The above post is provided solely for general informational purposes. Any information in the above post is NOT intended to be specific legal advice and should NOT be relied upon as such. NO attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of the above posting and I strongly urge you to seek the advice of competent legal counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.

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