A recent decision from an appellate court in Tallahassee will likely create significant hurdles for condominium unit owners who wish to sue their association and its directors for wrongdoing that affects the entire membership. In Iezzi v Edgewater, the First District Court of Appeal held that members of a not-for-profit condominium association must comply with the pre-suit notice requirements for shareholder’s derivative suits before commencing a lawsuit against the association and its directors.The court recognized an exception for those lawsuits which seek “equitable relief,” such as an injunction, and distinguished the standing of owners to seek relief that would represent and benefit an entire class, also explaining historical standing to seek relief in a “representative capacity” for such things as construction defects related to the association’s common elements.
Historically, the pre-suit notice requirements of the shareholder’s derivative statute have been applicable to lawsuits brought by shareholders for the benefit of not-for-profit corporations. Iezzi signifies a recent trend developing in the Florida courts which provides that the pre-suit notice requirements of the shareholder’s derivative statute applies to lawsuits against condominium associations and their directors in particular.
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