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Harrington v. Seaside Condominium Association

Superior Court of Maine, York

November 7, 2014

ROBERT G. HARRINGTON and BETH E. MCDERMOTT HARRINGTON, Plaintiffs,
v.
SEASIDE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION et al., Defendants.

ORDER

John O'Neil, Jr. Justice, Superior Court.

I. Background

A. Procedural Posture

Plaintiffs Robert G. Harrington and Beth E. McDermott Harrington ("the Harringtons") bring this suit against the Seaside Condominium Association ("Seaside" or "the Association") and several of its officers, alleging they violated provisions of the governing documents, improperly accounted for various fees assessed and assessed some in a discriminatory manner, and that use of an easement by other units for utility access damaged the Harringtons' unit. (Compl. 3.) The complaint further seeks injunctive relief ordering Seaside to comply with the governing documents. Seaside answered, counterclaimed for unpaid condominium fees, and moved to dismiss. Before the court is Seaside's motion for summary judgment on its counterclaim.

B. Facts

The parties agree on the following facts. Seaside Condominium is a condo complex in York, Maine. The Declaration of the Seaside Condominium Association is recorded in the York County Registry of Deeds ("the Registry") at Book 4554, Page 198-240. (Def.'s S.M.F. ¶ 1.) The Harringtons purchased Unit #1 ("the Harrington Unit") on March 18, 2008. (Def.'s S.M.F. ¶ 3.) The Harrington Unit deed is recorded at Book 15377, Page 139 and references the Seaside Condominium Declaration. (Def.'s S.M.F. ¶ 4.) On March 22, 2012, Seaside filed a lien on the Harrington Unit for unpaid assessments. (Def.'s S.MF. ¶ 6.)[1]

Article 3, Section 3.3(c) of the Declaration, which governs maintenance responsibilities states:

Water service to all Units will be included in the Common Expenses. Electric and propane gas service to units 4 through 9 will be charged as a Limited Common Expense to those six Units and such charges will be allocated equally among such Units. Electric service to Unit 1 through 3 and sewer, telephone and cable television service to all Units will be separately metered and each such unit owner shall be responsible for the cost of such services furnished to his Unit.

(PL's S. Addt'l M. F. ¶ 22.) Article 5, § 5.2 governing common expenses states:

The liability of each Unit for the Common Expenses of the Condominium shall be the same percentage share as the Percentage Interest set forth on Exhibit B, and as such shall be determined by dividing the approximate square footage of each Unit as of the date of the Declaration (exclusive of Limited Common Elements) by the total square footage of all the Units (exclusive of Limited Common Elements) in the Condominium.

(PL's Mem. Opp. Mot. Summ. J., Ex. A). Exhibit B sets forth that Unit 1, the Harrington Unit, is approximately 2, 018 square feet and therefore the percentage governing property interest stake, voting power, and Common Expense liability (excluding Limited Common Elements) is 38.7%. Id.[2]

II. Discussion

A. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate where there are no material facts in dispute and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. M.R. Civ. P. 56. "A material fact is one having the potential to affect the outcome of the suit." Burdzel v. Sobus, 2000 ME 84, ¶ 6, 750 A.2d 573. Where there is sufficient evidence to support ...


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