Arbitrator rules in favor of Friendswood condominium association in foundation repair lawsuit

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | May 15, 2013

GALVESTON - A 2011 lawsuit blaming a Friendswood condominium association for a couple's foundation problems was recently disposed.

A local judge ruled in favor of Friendswood Hidden Cove Property Owners’ Association, effectively ending the litigation launched by plaintiffs Mel and Sandra Austin.

The Austins sued the condominium association on July 22, 2011, on allegations it failed to finish repairs to the foundation of their unit and garage.

According to the suit, the complainants began to experience foundation problems and other issues with their garage in 2003 and spent the next four years trying to get repairs done.

The suit explained that the Austins, however, continued to experience more problems and the condominiums’ board of directors had to intervene.

A resolution in favor of a repair bid on July 17, 2007, but attempts to fund the project twice met opposition, the original petition said.

It added no repairs were made since the passage of said resolution.

Both parties agreed to binding arbitration before former Galveston County Court at Law Judge Mary Nell Crapitto.

Judge Crapitto determined the association could not be sued for monetary damages without the Austins joining all owners of all units in the condominium development as parties to the proceeding, and its conduct met a standard of reasonableness.

Attorney Gregory P. Crinion of Crinion Davis & Richardson LLP in Houston, who represented the respondent, expressed pleasure in "that the arbitrator followed long-standing legal precedent in this state in making her award," adding the parties and their respective counsels' decision to use arbitration in the case worked.

The Galveston County 56th District Court entered an order and final judgment confirming the arbitration award and adopting the award as the court's ruling on April 10.

Case No. 11-CV-1197

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