Case Notes in

Fiduciary Duty

First published: Nov 2008
Ash v. Board of Managers, The 155 Condominium

This case reminds us that courts are bound to defer to board decisions taken in good faith, in the best interests of the co-op or condominium and within the scope of their authority. This is true even if it is ultimately determined that the board’s act are unwise or inexpedient. In addition, boards have the right to rely on their experts and, if the expert makes a mistake (such as, here, allowing a reporting system to be implemented which did not give the board all of the information it required), the board will not be liable for following the expert’s advice. The case also discusses what happens when a party to a litigation asks that a judge recuse himself from the case. As this court explains, orally attacking the court and inundating it with a letter-writing campaign will not force a judge to recuse himself, which would allow the litigant to “shop” for another judge. Assuming there is no statutory obligation, a judge will not remove himself from a case unless the judge believes, as a matter of his own personal discretion, that he cannot remain impartial.

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First published: Oct 2003
Michaelson v. Albora

The case illustrates the fiduciary duty of board members that is owed to both co-op shareholders and condo unit-owners when it comes to business dealings. A board cannot permit some unit-owners to get a "better" deal than others. If this happens, legal recourse is available, swift and unsympathetic.

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