Current and former members of the Renaissance Tower homeowners’ association being sued in the aftermath of an October evacuation are immune from legal action under the state law.

That’s what attorneys representing property management companies and nine past and current HOA members argued in federal court this week in pushing to get the lawsuit tossed.

Residents of the 22-story complex in Myrtle Beach were ordered to clear out of the high rise Oct. 7 by Horry County code enforcement officials after weaknesses in the steel frame of its foundation were discovered.

Elliotte Quinn, a lawyer representing the displaced residents, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The defendants are:
William Douglas Management
Brent. M Whitesell
Catherine M. Gregor
Dennis J. Sassa
Jeffrey L. Richardson
Laurie Z. Wunderley
Madeline R. Mercer
Peter A. Grusaukus
William S. Spears

“We take the safety of buildings in South Carolina very seriously. Builders and building owners who fail to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and structural integrity of their buildings should and will be held accountable,” Quinn said in a statement posted to his firm’s website.

Residents have been evacuated from the 22-story Renaissance Tower at Myrtle Beach Resort after structural engineers found the building unsafe. A section of the busy beach front also also been closed. October 14, 2022.

A week later, residents filed a federal class action suit against the Renaissance Tower board of directors and property management companies responsible for maintaining the building, saying they ignored earlier warnings about its structural integrity.

But the state’s Nonprofit Corporation Act exempts the board from liability unless it can be proven members intentionally violated the law, its lawyers said in a Dec. 13 motion to dismiss the suit.

The board’s legal team also said too much time passed between initial reports of the building’s foundational problems and when the suit was filed.

Attorneys said Renaissance Tower residents had two opportunities to press forward with legal action: First in 2018 when the homeowners’ association learned about the damaged support beams and then August 2020 when they were alerted to the problem by a newsletter.

“Even viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, plaintiffs’ allegations simply cannot support a legal conclusion that plaintiffs’ alleged damages caused by defendants’ delay in initiating repairs was foreseeable,”

John Ford Connell Jr., a partner at Greenville-based Burr and Foreman LLP, wrote in the motion.