Category Archives: Homeowner and Landowner Liability

Wrongful Death May Lead to Homeowner Association’s Lawsuit

Trayvon Martin’s family may not be suing just George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch resident who wrongfully killed Martin, but also the Home Owner’s Association.  If a jury finds that Zimmerman shot the unarmed 17-yeard-old in self-defense, then the family will not be able to file a lawsuit against Zimmerman.  However, they could still go after the Twin Lakes homeowners association.  The association’s insurance policies and assets would make a much more lucrative target than Zimmerman anyway.

The home owner’s association told the residents that Zimmerman was their go-to neighborhood watch person.  The association clearly endorsed Zimmerman for seven years.  Residents were told to call both the police and Zimmerman.  Zimmerman was in the neighborhood when he spotted Martin.  He told the dispatcher that Martin looked like he was up to no good.  The dispatcher told Zimmerman not to get out of his truck, that they did not need him to do that.  Moments later Martin was shot dead in the chest.

Texas Beach Property Owners Get Their Land Back

Carol Severance, a Galveston property owner, recently was vindicated when the Texas State Supreme Court ruled in her favor.  After Hurricane Rita caused major beach erosion, Severance was told that her property was now on the public easement and, thus, subject to removal under the Open Beaches Act.  This law “rolls” landward as erosion occurs.  Severance claimed that her constitutional rights were being violated.

After years of arguments, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of property rights and against the custom of public beach access.  While the court specified this ruling was for Galveston Island, attorneys and others are wondering what the repercussions will be all along the coast line, especially the next time a storm comes.