Calling All Lawyers! “Ready, Set, Sue!”

Now that I’m out of mainstream journalism, I can afford to occasionally get my hackles up at the kinds of things written by other journalists. Indeed, most reporters don’t write their own headlines, but this one got my goat. It was an article in Main Street, a real estate magazine, which discussed the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida. The headline said, “Homeowners Association Could be “Eden” of Liabilities.

The headline writer was correct, of course. And the reporter, Jeff Brown, was also correct in saying that questions about legal liabilities could “wreck your worry-free Eden.”

This blogger has long been saying that the scariest HOA in America is YOURS! Why? Because the slightest slip and fall at the neighborhood pool, or the workman who cuts his finger mowing grass at the front entrance, now has unrestricted access to the pocketbooks, bank accounts and home equity of every single person who owns a home in the community. By joining “the club,” or the HOA, you have essentially pooled all of your net worth with your neighbors, thereby creating an irresistible deep pocket to which the tort industry just hasn’t paid much attention in previous years.

But with lawyers being graduated at the rate of 104,000 a year, and the with law firms clogged with too many lawyers and not enough lawsuits, there’s going to be a huge upsurge in lawsuits against this previously untapped “resource.”

You can buy liability insurance, of course, but you can never buy enough insurance to dig your way out of the kinds of jury verdicts that tort lawyers like, John Edwards, for example, are able to wreak out of a dysfunctional court system.

The HOA system is broken. The tort system is corrupted. On this entire Earth could you find any uglier twin sisters than that?

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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

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