The owner of a condominium (condo) in a common interest development (CID) tripped over a minor defect in a common area walkway and sustained an injury. The condo owner sought compensation from the homeowners’ association (HOA) for his medical expenses incurred due to the injury, claiming the HOA was responsible for his injury since the HOA neglected its duty to repair defects in the common area walkway which caused the condo owner to trip. The HOA refused to compensate the condo owner for his medical expenses, claiming the HOA was not responsible for the injury caused by a trivial defect in the common area walkway since the HOA was not required to repair minor defects in common areas it maintained. A California appeals court held an HOA is not responsible for the medical expenses associated with a condo owner’s injury sustained by tripping on a slight defect in a common area walkway since an HOA is not required to repair minor defects in common area improvements. [Cadam v. Somerset Gardens Townhouse HOA (2011) 200 CA4th 383]
Editor’s note — The condo owner in this case tripped on the raised edge of a common area walkway. The raised edge of the walkway was three-fourths to seven-eighths inch deep, decisively trivial in this case since anyone exercising ordinary care in walking over the defect would avoid injury. Prior cases regarding injuries sustained from a minor defect examine whether the exercise of ordinary care would have prevented the injury.