Barker Martin

Condo-HOA Blog

Washington Condominium Association Wins Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit

In Garron v. Pier Point Condominiums Association, Division One of the Washington Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s summary judgment dismissal of a personal injury lawsuit by a housecleaner against the condominium association. While cleaning one of the condominium units, the plaintiff slipped and fell on a wet tiled walkway in the common area of the condo. The court agreed with the association that there was no evidence the association knew or should have known about the slippery and dangerous walkway.

The Pier Point Condominium is a small eight-unit condo in Oak Harbor. The plaintiff had cleaned a unit at the condo every week for several years, so she was familiar with the complex. She was aware that when it rained, the walkway tiles became wet and slippery. The unit owner who employed the plaintiff testified he believed the walkway was dangerous when it rained, but had failed to inform the association of his concern. The appellate court concluded, as had the trial court, that there was no evidence the association knew or should have known about the alleged danger created by wet tiles on the walkway.

The appellate court also denied the plaintiff’s attempt to amend her complaint to sue the individual condominium unit owners. The court relied upon a specific provision of the Washington Condominium Act that states “an action alleging a wrong done by the association must be brought against the association and not against any unit owner or any officer or director of the association.” See RCW 64.34.344.

This case turned on the specific testimony of the parties. The plaintiff herself testified that she was aware that the steps got wet when it rained. Although there was some testimony about puddling of water on the walkway tiles, the plaintiff testified there were no puddles the day she slipped and was injured.

Although the plaintiff was unsuccessful in this particular case, associations should be vigilant and act as soon as reasonably possible to eliminate dangerous conditions.

For more information on this case, or to answer any related questions involving association liability, select the “Contact” tab at the top of this blog page to reach one of our attorneys.