Article – Court Awards Condo Association over $1 million from Unit Owner and his Attorney for Frivolous Lawsuits

In a victory for Illinois community associations, a Cook County Court judge awarded a Wilmette condominium association and its attorneys over $1 million in sanctions from a unit owner and his attorney who had filed a host of frivolous claims against the association and its board which, per the Court, had “no basis in law or fact.” The unit owner and his attorney have until May 1st, 2019 to pay the full amount.

A unit owner filed a complaint against the 1618 Sheridan Road Condominium Association which included allegations ranging from the placement of empty water bottles in front of his doorway, voicemails left on his answering machine, association purchase of lawn furniture, to a prohibition on his ability to enjoy “shirtless massages near the pool.” The complaint also included a claim that the board had failed to conduct an open meeting for adoption of association rules even though, the Court found, “the [unit owner] was present at the meeting.”

The Circuit Court Judge stated in her ruling that both the unit owner and his attorney (to whom she referred as a “willful enabler”) had filed the complaint “without any factual basis” and that the unit owner and his attorney had displayed “a complete disregard for judicial process through their egregious conduct.”

The money awarded to the condominium association and its attorneys will be used to offset the significant sums incurred in defending the spurious lawsuit. The Court granted the amounts under Rule 137 of the Illinois Supreme Court Rules, which gives the court the discretion to penalize parties (including litigants and their attorneys) for failing to make a reasonable inquiry into the facts and law of their case before filing a complaint (in short, draining court resources by filing dubious claims).

For more details on the case and the ruling, see the link here.