When you bought your condo or apartment in New York, the board members gave you a document that stipulated the responsibilities and rights of each party. This document, commonly known as the bylaws, binds both parties to certain obligations. For example, the board must ensure that common areas are well-maintained, and members must pay their monthly fees promptly and adhere to a certain standard of conduct. I
In case of disputes, most contracts have clear methods for conflict resolution, from how to report a complaint to the steps leading up to potential litigation. If these methods do not yield results, then it is possible to sue the co-op board members.
Grounds for suing co-op board members
You can sue condominiums & cooperatives board members for breach of fiduciary duty, failure to follow proper procedures, discrimination or retaliation against a member and other illegal actions. The specific bylaws of each co-op will outline the duties and responsibilities of board members, as well as the consequences for not fulfilling them.
Given the complexity of lawsuits, it is important to gather sufficient evidence before taking legal action against the board. This may include documents such as minutes from board meetings, financial statements, emails or correspondence with board members. If you can get witness statements from other members, that can also be helpful.
You can initiate the lawsuit by filing a petition with your local court. The city court clerk will issue a summons to the board members, which they must respond to within a specific timeframe, usually not more than 30 days. After that, the court will set a trial date where both parties can present their evidence and arguments. If the court rules in your favor, the board members will be held liable for their actions and may have to pay damages or face other forms of legal consequences.
While the journey to challenge co-op board members can potentially be complex, it provides an avenue for you to defend your rights as a member and hold the board accountable for their actions. Understanding the grounds for suing, gathering sufficient evidence and following the proper legal steps can increase your chances of winning a lawsuit against co-op board members.