At the end of March, the Illinois Appellate Court ruled in the long-disputed Palm vs. 2800 Lake Shore Drive Condominium case. It decided that Board workshops or meetings, or a quorum of the Board simply discussing Association matters outside a formal meeting, without unit owners present, is unlawful. Additionally, polling or canvassing Board members via e-mail in advance of meetings is unlawful.
The problem is that this is currently not how most Association Boards operate in modern day. Board members have busy lives and full-time jobs and it is not always practical or realistic to expect a formal meeting every time a matter needs to be discussed. The good news is this decision is a Rule 23 opinion, which means it’s not binding and cannot be used as precedent. However, legal experts do encourage Associations to attempt to comply with the spirit of the law. Boards should have as many open meetings with advance notice to unit owners as possible.
Howard Dakoff, a partner at Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC, and “Condo Adviser” to the Chicago Tribune, spoke to a group of LMS Board members and staff on Thursday night, April 10, at the Hotel Palomar about this decision.
“The sky is not falling,” Dakoff said. Yet he did encourage Board members in the audience to reevaluate the way they conduct Board business, especially if they exchange ideas and matters via group e-mails.
Dakoff said he and others in the community Association law industry do not expect the ruling to become binding and expect it will possibly be overturned in the future – however, in the meantime, he does encourage Boards to govern themselves accordingly.
Lieberman Management Services encourages our clients to speak to their legal representation if they have any questions or concerns, and to verify that they are conducting Board matters appropriately.
For more information, see the full press release from Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC.