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Frances T. v. Village Green Owners Association

723 P.2d 573 (1986)

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Frances T. v. Village Green Owners Association

California Supreme Court

723 P.2d 573 (1986)

Facts

Frances T. (plaintiff) lived in a Village Green Condominium Project (the project) condominium and was a member of Village Green Owners Association (the Association), a nonprofit corporation composed of individual-unit residents. The Association enforced the project’s covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) and maintained its common areas. The project’s board knew criminal activity had occurred at the project throughout 1980. Frances’s unit was in virtual darkness, and in April 1980, her unit was burglarized. In May, Frances requested that the Association install more lighting. After repeated unanswered requests, Frances installed additional exterior lighting herself. The board instructed Frances to remove the additional lighting. Pending removal, Frances was instructed not to use the additional exterior lighting. However, Frances had installed the additional lighting on the same circuitry as her original lighting, so to avoid using the additional lighting, she could not use any of her exterior lights. Frances complied and did not use any exterior lighting on October 8. That night, while her unit was in total darkness, Frances was raped and robbed. Frances sued the Association and its board members for her injuries. Frances alleged that the Association and the board negligently failed to investigate lighting alternatives within a reasonable time, failed to present alternative lighting proposals, negligently failed to respond to requests for additional lighting, and wrongfully ordered her to remove her additional lighting. Frances argued that the Association should be held to the same standard of care as a landlord. The Association argued that it did not have a duty to improve the lighting because it was not a traditional landlord. The trial court sustained the Association’s general demurrer and entered a judgment of dismissal. Frances appealed. [Ed’s note: Frances’s other claims, not discussed in this brief, were also dismissed.]

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Broussard, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Mosk, J.)

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