August 12, 2020

Volume X, Number 225

August 12, 2020

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August 11, 2020

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August 10, 2020

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Breaking News for NC Community Pools: New Law Limiting Liability Signed Today

Just in Time for Fireworks: North Carolina Governor Signs into Law Limited Immunity from COVID-19 Related Claims Arising from the Reopening of Community Pools

The Buzz

Part VI, of North Carolina House Bill 902, signed into law by Governor Cooper today, provides protection for community associations and their agents against lawsuits from people seeking damages for injury or death resulting from transmission of COVID-19 as a result of reopening their community association pools.  For a better understanding of what a community association is all about, please check out Unwrapping the Riddle: What is a Community Association? 

This new law specifically defines "community pools" to include pools owned by an apartment complex, a homeowners association, or a condominium unit owners association.

The Catch

In order for a community association to avail itself of this newly afforded immunity, it must show that it reopened and is operating its community pool in accordance with the applicable executive orders of the Governor. Those community associations (and their agents) that have acted in compliance with the relevant executive orders shall not be liable for any claim or action seeking damages for injury or death resulting from transmittal of COVID-19 alleged to have resulted from the reopening of the community pool.

The Exception

However, immunity will not be provided against claims arising from gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrong doing. 

The best way for a community association to avoid claims of gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrong doing is to either:

(1) keep its pool closed if it cannot open and operate it consistent with the applicable executive orders, or

(2) follow the applicable executive orders. 

For further information, see our article on community association pool reopening strategies, "Significant Restrictions Imposed on Public and Community Pools for Phase 2 Reopening in NC" from May 21, 2020.

Stay Safe Out There

This law is effective with respect to all claims or actions arising as of July 2, 2020, and expires one year from the date that Governor Cooper's Declaration of State of Emergency (Executive Order 116) expires or is rescinded.

© 2020 Ward and Smith, P.A.. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 184

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About this Author

Adam M. Beaudoin, Ward Smith, business entity formation lawyer, articles of incorporation attorney

Adam's practice experience encompasses a broad range of business law and transactional matters, including preparation of all components of business entity formation, including articles of incorporation, articles of organization, bylaws, organizational minutes, shareholder agreements, operating agreements, and partnership agreements. He regularly advises business clients regarding corporate governance, procedural requirements, governing document amendments, and fiduciary duties.  He also has experience preparing all components of nonprofit entity formation, including...

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Kristin Mitcham Real Estate Attorney Ward Smith Law Firm
Real Estate Attorney

Kristin assists real estate owners, developers, and individuals in complex real estate issues, including acquisitions, development, lease agreements, various easement issues, and real estate title searches. As a former commercial lender, Kristin harnesses her experience in the financial lending industry to negotiate, draft, and review various financing transactions, such as purchase and sale agreements and loan documents, for both borrowers and lenders alike. 

Prior to joining Ward and Smith, Kristin served as a law clerk for the Office of General Counsel at AARP Services, Inc., completed a judicial internship with the Honorable Christopher P. Baker, and worked as a student attorney at Columbus Community Legal Services in Washington, D.C. Before law school, Kristin spent several years working for BB&T Bank in the Greater Washington, D.C. region as the Assistant Vice President for Commercial Loans.

Kristin earned her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law. She graduated magna cum laude from Appalachian State University with a B.S. in Recreation Business Management. Subsequent to graduating from Appalachian State, Kristin completed an intensive two-year leadership and management training program with the United States Army. 

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