How the Trayvon Martin Case May Change Your Homeowners Association

The Retreat at Twin Lakes Homeowners Association is a likely target for a lawsuit from the family of Trayvon Martin.  Twin Lakes is the neighborhood where the shooting occurred and where George Zimmerman lived.  This is especially true if George Zimmerman's claim of self-defense is upheld by the courts as Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law would protect him from a civil suit.

To bolster their case is the neighborhood newsletter sent in February 2012, the same month as the shooting.  Under the "Neighborhood Watch" column, George Zimmerman was listed as the neighborhood watch captain for residents to report suspicious activity or crime.  The written endorsement of Zimmerman further exposes the homeowners association to legal action and makes the case harder to defend.   Florida courts have upheld that a HOA could be held liable for wrongful death.   If the association does not have coverage for this type of loss or significant reserves, the homeowners will pay with increased assessments and higher monthly fees.

Tennessee and twenty other states have a "Stand Your Ground" law that is similar to the Florida law. Many Nashville homeowners associations will re-examine their relationships with neighborhood watch groups.  Some HOAs may decide to discontinue publishing of the watch information in their communications.  I expect many will also review their current policies and add coverage for wrongful death if necessary.

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