Last month a Denver jury awarded parents $4M in a fatal drowning case, Colligan v. The Lakes at Monaco Pointe, which occurred not in a pool, but in a pond, less than 25 yards away from the little boy’s home. The evidence at trial showed that the apartment management was negligent in maintaining the pond by allowing algae to accumulate around the outside and on the inside of the pond. The algae was so bad that a firefighter who responded to the 911 call actually slipped into the pond and couldn’t get out except with the help of three other firefighters.
What does this case mean for associations? It should be a reminder that:
- ponds do require maintenance. If you are unsure about the level of maintenance you should contact a professional who can make recommendations regarding drainage issues, chemical levels, water levels, etc.;
- board members have a duty to make sure that dangerous conditions do not exit on common areas. This requires regular inspections of all common areas and prompt action to address any deficiencies.