LAS VEGAS (FOX5) –
A property owners’ association in northwest Las Vegas, purchased to pay $20 million since of its failure to perform regular inspections and upkeep on play ground equipment, is now promising property owners they will not need to pay the bill.
Carl Thompson, who was 15 years of ages at the time, suffered serious brain injuries from a swing set that collapsed on his head at Lamplight Village in Centennial Hills. The swing set collapsed in 2013. Since then, the Lamplight Village play ground has had empty poles where the swings utilized to sit.
[RELATED: House owners consider suing HOA after it loses $20 million swing set collapse lawsuit]”He was playing basketball,” lawyer Al Lasso stated. “He muffled the swing set to send out a text. When he took a seat, the 42-pound steel bar fell from a height of eight feet and crushed his skull.”
“He’s aiming to end up high school,” attorney Sean Claggett said. “This injury triggered him to not end up yet, so he’s still attempting to end up high school.”
Lamplight Village’s insurance company just covers an optimum of $2 million from the $20 million awarded at trial.
Because the decision, homeowners have actually been terrified they might lose their homes. Some said they had no concept this case existed and were thinking about filing a suit versus the HOA for cannot tell them about pending lawsuits.
“We didn’t know anything was going on until we saw a FOX5 tweet about the entire situation, which is quite honestly a really frustrating way to find out news that’s going on in your very own neighborhood,” homeowner Jeremy Long stated. “We just moved in. Are we going to lose our house? We have no idea.”
[RELATED: Swing set collapses on teen’s head, jury orders Las Vegas HOA to pay $20 million]
At trial, Claggett and Lasso told the jury Lamplight Town had the choice to pay a $150 monthly upkeep fee, but declined. The HOA likewise decreased multiple settlement deals.
Michael McKelleb, an attorney who was recently employed to represent Lamplight Village, said all the settlement offers were for less than the $2 million policy limitation. He said Lamplight Village wished to settle, but couldn’t.
“The (HOA) board didn’t have authority,” McKelleb explained. “The policy provided that authority to the insurance coverage carrier … The insurance provider turned that down and went to trial.”
“An insurance coverage provider ought to not be stingy with paying policy limits,” he continued. “In hindsight, it was far undue of a threat.”
Lamplight Village is now suing against its insurance company, QBE Insurance coverage, for rolling the dice with somebody else’s loan in a case they might not win. First, the victim has to take a risk by signing a settlement with the HOA.
“If (the insurer) were to win the case, then the settlement would still provide that Mr. Thompson has concurred not to go after the property owners,” McKelleb stated. “(Thompson) is not aiming to make more victims. He does not wish to earn money from the property owners by taking their homes from them. That doesn’t really assist anyone, and rather honestly to obtain the kind of cash he would require from them, it’s not going to be there … I don’t believe anybody would be interested in displacing 284 families.”
Lasso and Claggett have not yet commented on the settlement. McKelleb, who did not yet represent Lamplight Village at the time of trial, stated the settlement had already been signed.
McKelleb said he feels dreadful for the victim and hopes he can assist make sure Thompson is paid the cash he’s owed from the insurance provider.
“I have no idea what would have taken place if (my customer) had actually had a maintenance program,” McKelleb said. “This play set ought to have lasted for Twenty Years if a 300 pound individual had actually been swinging on it. If you’re a board member who does not know anything about swing sets, and that’s your understanding, and it’s a fairly new play set, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to believe, ‘Well, possibly in the future we’ll get a program to have it took a look at every so often.'”
McKelleb also said all homeowners were informed about the pending litigation through a letter and as a part of their CC&R files.
If Lamplight Village wins its case versus QBE Insurance, Thompson might theoretically earn more than $20 million and property owners would not have to pay a dime, McKelleb stated. If Lamplight Village loses, homeowners might have to pay for lawyer costs, which would be significantly less than $20 million.
Representatives for QBE Insurance have not yet responded to FOX5’s ask for remark. Stay with FOX5 News for continuing updates on this case.
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