Bellevue Pacific Center Condominium Owners Association v. Bellevue Pacific Tower Condominium Association

100 P.3d 832 (2004)

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Bellevue Pacific Center Condominium Owners Association v. Bellevue Pacific Tower Condominium Association

Washington Court of Appeals
100 P.3d 832 (2004)

Facts

Bellevue Pacific Center (the center) was a mixed-use condominium complex that was created by the Bellevue Pacific Center Limited Partnership (the partnership). The partnership recorded the declaration and covenants, conditions, restrictions, and reservations (the declaration) for the center. The center’s affairs were conducted by the center’s condominium association (the center association) (plaintiff). The declarations created three separate units: a parking garage, a commercial center, and a residential condominium tower (the tower). The tower was governed by its own Tower Condominium Association (the tower association) (defendant) to control the residential tower’s affairs. Thus, there was a condominium within a condominium. The partnership had owned the parking garage and the commercial center since declarations were filed for the center and the tower. The center’s declaration twice stated that votes in its association were allocated equally among the three units of the center, with each unit having one vote, for a total of three votes. The declaration also stated that common expenses were to be allocated based on square footage. Major decisions concerning the center’s operation required two of three votes, and the partnership owned two of the three voting units. The tower association’s declaration assigned voting rights in the tower association based on the declared value of each residential unit; however, common expenses were allocated among the units based on square footage. By a typical vote of two to one, the center association’s board divided expenses and assessed the three units of the center. Members of the tower association refused to pay the center association’s assessment because they believed that they were being overcharged. The center association filed suit to collect the tower association’s share of the overdue assessment, and the tower association counterclaimed against the partnership and the center association, alleging that the center was mismanaged and that improper charges were assessed against the tower association. Those claims were settled, but the tower association’s claim for declaratory judgment that the voting-rights allocation in the center’s declaration violated the Washington Condominium Act and its claim that the center association was a master association under the act—which would give the residential homeowners control over the center’s board—proceeded. The trial court granted partial summary judgment for the partnership on both claims and denied the tower association’s motion for reconsideration. The tower association then appealed the summary-judgment orders.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Grosse, J.)

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