From the Court to the Board Lessons From Recent Decisions

Over the past few months there have been several interesting and insightful court decisions. Here are a few legal cases that provide some helpful lessons for boards and managers alike.

19 Pond, Inc., et al. v. Goldens Bridge Community Association, Inc., et al. 

Board members may have extremely busy lives, but sometimes an immediate vote on a pressing issue is necessary. Calling an in-person or telephone meeting are possibilities, but how about using email?  It’s convenient, but—as we learned from the recent presidential election—email can be troublesome if not managed correctly. 

The condominium board in this case decided to exercise its right of first refusal with regard to the sale/purchase of a unit, and the decision was made by a vote using email. The Second Department Appellate Court recognized this was not allowed under the applicable New York statutes or the condo’s governing documents, but the board took the next required step of ratifying the email vote at their next formal board meeting. The Second Department upheld the board’s practice of using email to make a decision—as long as the vote is subsequently ratified at a duly called and formal meeting.

When conducting votes via email, it’s critical that board members use a dedicated email address for board-only business that the board can control and access whenever necessary. They must also save all board-related emails. Imagine having to go back and corral individual members’ emails regarding the vote months or years after it takes place. board members may no longer be on the board, or have access to their personal or work email used in the vote at issue.

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