J. Patrick Sutton Cases & Issues Blog

Texas Supreme Court to take up issue whether a homeowner must sue all other homeowners in a subdivision when an HOA is sued

If you sue an HOA, do you have to sue all the individual homeowners too? HOA's say you do because they want to create an insurmountable burden to challenging board actions.

Last year, my clients, the Kappmeyers, sued an HOA in Rockport whose board unilaterally amended the restrictive covenants without getting a vote of the owners. The HOA, despite claiming that it now represented all the owners (because it gave itself that power), then demanded that my clients sue
all 700 other owners in order to keep the lawsuit alive. The HOA argues that since every homeowner is "affected" by a lawsuit which challenges a board's authority, every homeowner must be sued. Obviously, an ordinary homeowner suing an HOA for the HOA's own actions cannot reasonably sue 700 people. Nevertheless, both the trial court and the court of appeals held that my clients must.

I've taken an informal poll of lawyers and non-lawyers, and no one I've spoken with (except the lawyers for the HOA in this case) believes it is fair, just, or legally valid to require a homeowner to sue all other subdivision homeowners any time the HOA itself is sued.

The Kappmeyers
took their complaint to the Texas Supreme Court using a procedure called "mandamus," which allows an issue to go up on appeal before a lawsuit is completed. On September 2, 2022, the Texas Supreme Court agreed to take up the case. It is set to be heard on December 1, 2022. Arguments can be viewed live, in real time, by following links on the Texas Supreme Court's website. Content may continue . . .
J. Patrick Sutton Cases & Issues Blog