McNairn v Murphy and Pene 2017 ONSC 1678
Decision Date: April 6, 2017
McNairn is a Canadian lawyer who purchased a condominium in Costa Rica in April 2014. At the time of purchase, the property management company was under investigation for fraud. In September 2014 McNairn was elected President of the Home Owners Association and a new property management company was engaged. In early 2015 the new property manager contacted McNairn because he had been verbally abused by one of the condominium ownersand felt threatened; he resigned. McNairn was discouraged by these events and announced his resignation to the other owners via email in June 2015.
In response, Shannon Murphy, one of the defendants, sent a note (through the magic of the “reply all” option) to the other owners in which she said that the “President quit after accusations of theft.” McNairn received the email and wrote to Murphy, explaining the situation and inviting her to get in touch. He later asked her to retract her statement and apologize. In response, Murphy cut and pasted McNairn’s email to her and made a half-hearted apology. Upon receiving this communication, Pene (another owner, also a lawyer) sent a message to the group, accusing McNairn of threatening and bullying Murphy, of violating professional ethics, and of failing to be honest in his dealings with the other owners. These allegations caused McNairn considerable stress and anxiety, as well as professional embarrassment. After a failed attempt to resolve things with Murphy and Pene, McNairn commenced litigation. Neither Defendant filed a defense and both have been noted in default.
Justice Beaudoin found in favor of McNairn and awarded him damages of $70,000 against Murphy and $90,000 against Pene, plus costs.
Comment: A little sad that conflict occurs among condominium owners even under the sunny skies of Costa Rica.
York Condominium Corp No 163 v Robinson
Decision Date: April 19, 2017
The respondent is an owner and resident of YCC No. 163 who frequently communicates with the building staff regarding maintenance and governance issues. Unfortunately, her manner of communication is extremely disrespectful to the point of being verbally abusive (“insult, body shaming, name calling, and other forms of coarse language and rudeness”). In previous years she would communicate in person; more recently these communications have come in the form of virtually daily emails. The respondent has a right to complain and some of her complaints are valid. However the condominium is also a workplace and the position of YCC 163 is that the office staff should not have to put up with what amounts to daily harassment.
Justice Morgan agreed and ordered that Ms Robinson shall refrain from abusing, harassing, threatening, or intimidating any employee or representative of YCC 163. He also ordered that she pay costs of $15,000.
Comment: Download my article on the Condominium as Workplace that appeared in Condo Business.