A Condominiums By-Law requiring a Unit Owner to indemnify the Condominium for any costs or expenses arising from alterations within the owners unit, including claims for personal injury or property damage, was enforced in Canela v. TLH 140 Perry Street, LLC, 2008 WL 193296, 2008 N.Y. Slip Op. 440 (App. Div. 2d Dept Jan. 22, 2008).
The plaintiff in this case was injured while performing work in a condominium unit.Plaintiff brought a personal injury action against the Condominium, its managing agent, and the Unit Owner.The case went to trial, and during trial, the Condominium and managing agent agreed to and paid a settlement, reserving their right to seek contractual indemnification from the Unit Owner.The Condominium and managing agent then demanded that the Unit Owner reimburse them for all costs and expenses they had incurred in the matter, including the amount paid in settlement as well as their legal costs and attorneys fees.
The By-Laws provided that all Unit Owners making alterations to their units were deemed to agree to indemnify and hold the [Condominium and its managing agent] . . . harmless from and against any . . . liability, cost and expense arising from alteration work within a unit.The court found that the by-laws, which are binding on the Unit Owners, are sufficient to impose a duty upon the Unit Owners to indemnify the [Condominium and managing agent for the amount of the settlement proceeds they paid to the plaintiff and for the amount of their attorneys fees incurred in defending the action.Condominiums and Cooperatives may wish to ensure that their By-Laws contain similar provisions.