I understand the concerns for the playgrounds, as I stated previously, the playgrounds will remain closed until such time they are repaired, replaced, inspected and deemed safe by a professional inspection.
Below is a letter received today from the Associations Attorneys.
With respect to all Stoney Glen Community Association, Inc. (“Association”) playground equipment and common areas that are used as playground areas (“Playgrounds”), please consider the following:
The Association has the obligation, 24/7/365 to insure that Playgrounds, including (and especially) all of the equipment located thereon, are in a reasonably safe condition to be used in the manner intended and reasonably expected.
Although not expressly stated in the Association’s governing documents, in order for the Association to satisfy its obligations referenced in #1, the Board should take steps and implement procedures that provides the Board with the ability to insure that the Playgrounds and the equipment are in good, safe and properly maintained order.
Routine inspections, including with the use of professionals, as necessary, should be implemented to achieve satisfaction of the Association’s obligations.
Playgrounds can cause a unique and very costly liability situation for the Association for two reasons: a) they obviously attract children who are more prone and susceptible to be injured by grounds and equipment that are not safe primarily due to their lack of awareness and the attractive nature of the premises; and b) playground equipment requires constant maintenance and undergoes wear and tear and degradation due to exposure to the elements and, therefore, presents a constant opportunity for injury or death in the event of failure or degradation.
We recommend that, at any time, that any and all unsafe conditions at a Playground are remedied as soon as practicable and that until the remedy is implemented that they are clearly indicated as being closed or not to be used.
The Board should meet with the Association’s premises liability insurance carrier to: a) review and inventory all of the portions of the Properties that the Association has the obligation to insure, including and especially, the Playgrounds; b) discuss whether the existing coverage is sufficient; and c) whether umbrella coverage should be obtained.
In our meeting we discussed a Nevada community association that was involved in a very serious matter of civil litigation that resulted in a judgment of $15 million + as a result of a brain injury caused by the failing of a common area swing set that the association board of directors had not properly maintained.
If the last credible inspection of the Playgrounds was 8 years ago, the Board should have the Playgrounds inspected as soon as possible and we suggest that the Playgrounds are closed until and unless the Board can credibly establish that they are in a safe and properly maintained condition.
The bottom line is that if the Playgrounds are not safe, then the Association and the Board are significantly exposed to liability due to what would invariably be a viable cause of action based on negligence in the event of an injury or death.
I trust this is helpful and please call me with any questions.
Andrew G. Elmore, Esquire | Fellow, College of Community Association Lawyers
Chadwick, Washington, Moriarty, Elmore & Bunn, P.C.
201 Concourse Blvd., Suite 101
Glen Allen, Va 23059”