Keeping Good Company

Hobbs & Olson’s affiliation with Carpenter Hazlewood adds four additional members of the Utah Bar to our local team, and allows us to consult, share with and learn from the 29 condominium and HOA attorneys in Arizona and New Mexico.

ch-half-page-ad2-p3-1And the lawyers at Carpenter Hazlewood are among the nation’s most qualified. Six of the Carpenter Hazlewood team are members of the College of Community Association Lawyers. Lincoln Hobbs is the current president of the College; Scott Carpenter is a Past President. All of these attorneys actively participate in and contribute to the College.

Of the thousands of HOA and condominium attorneys practicing community association law in the United States, fewer than 175 have been granted membership in the College, and the College currently has only 152 active members. Fellows of the College distinguish themselves through contributions to the development of community association law. Their service is demonstrated by a commitment to educate and empower boards and residents of the more than 330,000 community associations across the country. CCAL attorneys commit themselves to high standards of professional and ethical conduct and work to create a community of experienced legal professionals to advance community association law for the betterment of the communities they serve.

Join Us for a Free Lunch!

The Utah Condominium and HOA lawyers at Hobbs & Olson | Carpenter Hazlewood will be sponsoring this week’s UCCAI Luncheon, and the speakers will be covering issues related to unit owner insurance coverage (HO-6 policies.

The luncheon will be held Thursday, November 10, at 11:30 a.m. at the Cottonwood Country Club.

We have a number of sponsor guest passes, so if you or anyone whom you know might be interested in attending, have them give us a call or drop us an email. The main office # is 801.519.2555, and you can email us through the links on this page.

Selling U.S. Condos in Dubai

The 7.8 billion dollar CityCenter project here in Las Vegas (where I am this week, attending the annual CCAL Community Association Law Seminar) has found an interesting pool of buyers; they are selling their condominiums to wealthy Dubaians. (Is that a word?)

The idea follows an investment in the project by a Dubai government-owned conglomerate; as part of that deal, the MGM Grand entity got an agreement to be able to sell units in a Dubai sales office. With the dollar at historic lows, the units are reportedly selling quite well to international investors.

The Las Vegas Sun’s story on the project can be found here.

An Opportunity to Really Give

So, if you are wondering about how to make this Holiday Season special, how about taking a shot at improving the World in which we live?

The One Laptop per Child project will provide you with a durable laptop comuter for the recipient of your choice, and will contribute an identical laptop to a deserving recipient, for less than $400.00.

Of course, you can also contribute the laptop that you purchase to another deserving recipient, whom you may not know.

Please act promptly, if you are interested. This opportunity will end on November 26, 2007.

For more information on this amazing project, go to


Another Case from Park City

On October 30, the Utah Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case of Berry v. Greater Park City Company, 2007 UT 87, which didn’t deal directly with community associations; in fact, upon first blush, it would seem to have no relevance.

The Berry case dealt with a competitive skiercross race, promoted as the “King of the Wasatch.” Mr. Berry, before participating in the race, signed a “Release of Liability and Indemnity Agreement.” He was seriously injured in the race, and brought suit against several entities, including the ski resort and several sponsors. Before he could pursue his claims, he needed to challenge the enforceability of the release.

The court’s analysis of the enforceability of the release is what makes the case of interest in the community association realm. Regular readers will recall that several weeks ago, I referenced a Georgia case in which the Georgia court upheld exculpatory language in an associations covenants. The new Utah case may shed some light on whether or not Utah courts will follow the Georgia court in enforcing similar provisions. And, it may assist drafters in making their language more likely to survive judicial scrutiny.

In Berry, the Court declined the plaintiff’s request to rule pre-injury releases of negligence to be unenforceable based upon public policy. The Court did, however, reaffirm that “sound reasons exist for the law to treat pre-injury releases with greater suspicion than post-injury releases.” The Court adopted the considerations of an old California case Tunkl v. Regents of the University of California, 383 P.2d 441 (Cal. 1963), as establishing the standards which a court should evaluate in considering the enforceability of these clauses. The factors of Tunkl, adopted by the Court, included:

“[1] [The transaction] concerns a business of a type generally thought suitable for public regulation. [2] The party seeking exculpation is engaged in performing a service of great importance to the public, which is often a matter of practical necessity for some members of the public. [3] The party holds himself out as willing to perform this service for any member of the public who seeks it, or at least for any member coming within certain established standards. [4] As a result of the essential nature of the service, in the economic setting of the transaction, the party invoking exculpation possesses a decisive advantage of bargaining strength against any member of the public who seeks his services. [5] In exercising a superior bargaining power the party confronts the public with a standardized adhesion contract of exculpation, and makes no provision whereby a purchaser may pay additional reasonable fees and obtain protection against negligence. [6] Finally, as a result of the transaction, the person or property of the purchaser is placed under the control of the seller, subject to the risk of carelessness by the seller or his agents.”

Hawkins, 2001 UT 94, ¶ 9 n.3 (quoting Tunkl, 383 P.2d at 445-46).

Several of the factors in this analysis obviously argue against the enforceability of a pre-injury release of damages arising from negligence in performing construction services; on the other hand, the injuries arising from defective construction offer differ significantly from the injuries arising from negligent operation of a competitive or recreational activity. That is one of the underpinnings of the economic loss doctrine, and that is a discussion for another day.

Coming to a Library Near You…

In the next several weeks, the main branch of the Salt Lake City Library will be receving a collection of CAI publications, courtesy of Hobbs & Olson, L.C.

The books were purchased by the firm through the CAI Research Foundation’s Adopt-a-Library program, through which participating libraries can receive an extensive collection of community association materials through a contribution from the sponsor.

Hobbs & Olson is also seeking to obtain a collection of books for the Summit County libary system. Keep watching this site for updates on that effort.

An Hour of Free (and Exciting) (?) Video

Many years ago, I presented a one hour course for the Utah State Bar Annual Meeting. The session, entitled “Community Association Law: What You Don’t Know May Hurt You”, was videotaped by the Utah State Bar, and is available for online continuing legal education.

Lawyers who want to watch this and get CLE credit have to pay, but you can watch it here for free. The material is a bit dated, and I was quite a bit younger than, but not much has changed other than my time in a 10K.

As always, you cannot rely on the information contained in this video, and you are reminded to seek competent legal advice for your own legal questions.