Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Board and management company sued for failing to enforce community restrictions
We often hear of community residents upset about “condo commandos” overzealously enforcing the community’s rules and regulations. What about those times when a board chooses not to make an issue over rule infractions? Sometimes you’re darned if you do and darned if you don’t.
An 83-year-old Port St. Lucie man died more than two months after being attacked by a pit bull in February 2009 and his widow and adult son are suing the dog’s owners for wrongful death.
The civil suit filed last week in the 19th Circuit Court of St. Lucie County also names Cascade at St. Lucie West Residents’ Association and the association’s management company as defendants for allegedly failing to enforce dog weight limits and leash laws in the subdivision’s covenants. It also names insurance companies representing the Cutlers, the homeowners association and the management company as defendants for allegedly failing to pay Mr. Klatch’s medical bills.
According to the complaint, Robert J. Klatch was riding in a golf cart Feb. 11, 2009, in the Cascades at St. Lucie West neighborhood when his shih tzu, Shayna, was attacked by a pit bull owned by Harvey and Jane Cutler. The lawsuit states the Cutlers’ dog, named Buddy, was “unleashed and running loose.”
Klatch was thrown from the cart and bitten as he tried unsuccessfully to save his dog, according to the lawsuit. He died April 21, 2009, as a result of the injuries, according to the family’s attorney.
In Cascades at St. Lucie West, the board and manager allegedly failed to take owners to task for having overweight dogs off leash in the community. If the association and/or manager were in the process of addressing Mr. Cutler’s violation and have letters to demonstrate their intention to enforce the restriction, it could make a difference in the outcome of this litigation.
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