August 29, 2023

Washington Court of Appeals Upholds Condo Declaration's Exculpatory Clause

The Washington Court of Appeals recently ruled in an unpublished opinion that a condominium's declaration exculpated the condominium association from any liability arising out of an owner's claim that the association neglected to maintain a common element. It based that ruling on a common limitation of liability clause in the condominium's declaration that broadly exculpated the association from such claims except to the extent covered by the association's insurance. The Court summarized its reasoning as follows:

"As in Scott, the exculpation from liability from water from outside or from any parts of the buildings logically includes liability based on the Association's negligence. That the exception to the exculpation exists when the Association has insurance to cover the liability implies the clause was intended to exculpate the Association from liability for damages for its own negligence."

If your condominium or homeowners association board has questions or concerns about the association's liability for an owner's claim against it, then the board should consider contacting my office.