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Bay Village Condominium Association, Inc. v. Roney

A-875-02T1 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2003) (Unpublished)

CONDOMINIUMS; ATTORNEYS FEES—Where a condominium’s organic documents provide that a unit owner pays the association’s legal fees incurred in a successful collection action, those fees are not limited by the amount collected but, instead, are to be based upon what is reasonable.

A condominium association sued a unit owner to collect unpaid assessments and attorney’s fees. The association and owner settled the assessment issue and submitted the issue of attorney’s fees to the court. The lower court limited the association’s legal fees to those costs incurred that were attributable to the collection action. It expressed its concern that the amount of legal fees sought greatly exceeded the assessment recovered by the association, and only awarded the association attorney’s fees in an amount equal to the amount of the assessment collected. The Appellate Division reversed. It found that the lower court was required, but failed, to weigh all the factors to determine if the fees were reasonable. The lower court limited its analysis to the cost of the litigation in determining if the fees were reasonable. Consequently, the matter was remanded to the lower court to determine the amount of reasonable attorneys’ fees.

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