In The Circuit Court In And For The Sixth Judicial Circuit

Pinellas County, Florida, Civil Division

Case No. 04-000250-CI-15

Caribay Condominium Association, Inc. vs. Alysia S. Ross 

An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. 

August 24, 2006

This court battle deals with a window.  The association claims the unit owner was not authorized to replace that window. 

The CARIBAY CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC. in Clearwater filed suit against unit owner Alysia Ross, claiming that she replaced a window without the association’s permission.

The real argument, as usual, was the question if the window was common element -- or not?

And -- again as usual -- the judge finds that the language of the governing documents contains “sufficient ambiguity” -- and ruled in favor of the defendant -- the unit owner. Please read the

transcript of the court's ruling for more details.

Look at this lawsuit and the ruling by the judge, who even stated, "the window in question is not observable and does not change the uniformity.” 

James DeFurio, attorney for the condo association, clearly failed to convince the judge that the unit owner violated the deed restrictions. The Final Declaratory Judgment makes it very plain that the judge considered the lawsuit brought by the association had absolutely no merits. The judge even issued the DIRECTED VERDICT without listening to the attorneys for the defendant! In my opinion that demonstrates that this case was really without any merit!

Which leaves us again with the question:  Why file these lawsuits in the first place?

The judge grants the unit owner, who was sued by the association, an
award of legal fees in the amount of $51,000. Considering that the attorney for the association didn't work for free, one can estimate that this lawsuit has cost the members of the association about $100,000.


$100,000 to fight over a window the judge even considered (quote) "not observable"?

When will we finally see reforms created that will prevent these kinds of outrageous costs for lawsuits that in my opinion are frivolous?

From Day One this lawsuit had no winners.  The only losers were the condo owners who had to pay the legal costs!

Board members have to realize that filing any lawsuit costs money, and -- win or lose -- the owners always pay the price!  Plainly, this has to stop!