dish war may be near end
By JO ANN ZUNIGA
Article Courtesy of the Houston Chronicle
Lawyer Rick Daly fought his condominium association for four years and through two trials so he could install a satellite dish to watch football.
But Daly said last week he may walk away from the case after a jury awarded more than $16,000 in attorneys' fees to the River Oaks Place Council of Co-Owners.
The association sued Daly in 1998 after he installed a satellite dish on his roof in violation of homeowners' restrictions.
Daly said he was able to watch only one season before being ordered to take down the dish.
The case went before a jury this past week for the second time. Daly lost the first case in 2000 and appealed. The case was then sent back before state District Judge John Donovan.
During the second trial, Daly noted that the homeowners association had allowed another resident to install a satellite dish on his patio wall.
"I think it's because he said `pretty please' and I didn't," Daly said.
But the association's attorney, Bill Chesney, said the other resident followed procedure, placing his request in writing to the council. Daly failed to do so, he said.
"He basically thumbed his nose at the association," Chesney told jurors.
The safety concerns also were different between the two residents, Chesney said. In order to receive the best reception, Daly wanted to place the satellite dish on the roof or a second option of several feet high on a pole on his patio that overlooked common grounds with the other 120 or so residents, he said.
But the resident who was granted the dish installation placed his dish low on a patio wall, Chesney said.
"It's silly," said Ruth Simmons, council vice president, who testified during the trial.
"I'm really tired of it," she said of the case.