In a clubhouse guarded by security, Lamplight Village homeowners gather tonight, hoping for answers in the wake of a $20 million verdict against their HOA in Centennial Springs.
"People are really, really nervous. They're scared. They don't know if they're going to lose their house, if it's gonna be foreclosed, if they can sell," said homeowner Dahl Hansen.
In late February, a jury handed down the verdict after a swing set crossbar in the Lamplight Village common area fell on a 15-year-old boy's head, causing permanent brain damage.
Court records show the HOA did not have a maintenance and inspection plan on their playground equipment.
"The whole chain of command from the insurance company QBE and their lawyers, Pinnacle Property Management, our HOA board... they did not protect these homeowners," Hansen said.
The HOA and its insurance company were given multiple chances to settle the case for the policy maximum of $2 million, but they refused and lost at trial, so homeowners may be left holding the bag to the tune of as much as $90,000 each.
"I thought it was a joke, a hoax!" said homeowner Steve Lopez, who, like Dahl Hansen, said he learned about the case on social media.
They say neighbors were never informed by the HOA.
"Why are we informed when they want to change the bushes, but not when there's a major lawsuit that affects our homes, our families?" Lopez asked.
Now, homeowners are having to hire their own lawyers.
"We're looking at whether there was any negligence or intentional misconduct by the insurance company, by the community management company that led to this worst-case-scenario of having a $20 million judgment hanging over this association and these homeowners," said Attorney Alex LeVeque, who represents the Hansen family.
But LeVeque says there are some options for homeowners to protect themselves, like adding lien assessment coverage to their individual insurance policies and filing homestead declarations.
"There's a very strong argument that a Declaration of Homestead will protect the homeowners here from a judgment lien execution on a judgment that's been entered against the association."
Homesteading is a smart move for anyone who lives in an HOA. For more on how to do that in Clark County, click here.
We should note that the Lamplight Village board kept us out of Monday night's meeting and declined to answer any questions. We hope to hear from them in the near future.
There's a court hearing on a possible appeal of the verdict scheduled for March 22.