Sunday, February 19, 2006

Turf war lines lawyers' pockets

You've got to wonder how things get to such a sorry state. What I'm referring to is a lawsuit and a resulting countersuit involving a homeowners association in Tampa, FL, and one of the resident homeowners. It seems the homeowner wasn't maintaining his lawn. Or at least not to the satisfaction of the HOA board, which took it upon itself to have the homeowner's lawn replaced in 2002, and to bill him $2,212 for sod and labor.

The homeowner claims that his lawn was no worse than anybody else's in the deed-restricted community. Oh contrar, says the HOA board. The yard was brown and weed infested.

You guessed it. The homeowner told the HOA to take its bill and shove it. The HOA responded by placing a lien on his house. Then the real fun begins. The two sides arm themselves with lawyers and for the past four years the legal fur has been flying.

To date the two parties, through their counsel, have generated motions heard by five county judges. Finally an end to the disagreement may be near. Mercifully, the case is set to come before a jury soon.

The way I see it, you've got two big losers here, the HOA and the homeowner. But I bet their attorneys are smiling. The two combatant parties have churned more than $100,000 in attorney fees — all of this over a simple residential lawn.

The search for intelligent life on planet Earth continues. — Ron Hall

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