HOA bankruptcy and member liabilities

This Foxwood Hills HOA (SC)  bankruptcy event is every important for all to understand what’s going on.  I am offering my views based on the article and my knowledge of the bankruptcy procedure, which I have some familiarity.  The article also shows first-hand the liability attached to your HOA membership that comes under the heading of “joint and several liability” (J&S), mentioned several times in my materials.

Basically, the phrase applies to all members of a sued party in  a lawsuit whereby the total monetary damages can be collected from any one or all the members of the party. It’s like  a partnership where the debt can be collected from the partners who can pay to pay for all total debt when others cannot make the payment. 

Here, as I read the article,  we have the HOA unable to collect assessments from its members to cover its budgeted expenses, and so decided to apply a J&S policy and “tax” only the members who have not abandoned  or disowned their property — those who could pay. The plaintiff, Busbee, filed suit and said this isn’t right. Foxwood didn’t amend its CC&Rs to permit such unequal treatment of its members. There is no covenant for the HOA to do this.  In HOA-Land it would require a court order or member approval – yeah, right!

A bankruptcy is usually filed because revenues are less than monetary payouts and the prospect is dim in making the finances balance.  Under Chapter 11, as Foxwood filed, it submits a plan to make payments on its debt and is obviously a give and take negotiations between the creditors and Foxwood as the debtor. Detailed financials are submitted including who are the creditors and what money is owed the HOA, which is essentially the assessments not being paid by the members.

Here, as I see it, the HOA filed bankruptcy in anticipation of the outstanding lawsuit which could require not the payments from the members, but for Foxwood to pay back the alleged excessive dues collected by Foxwood.  The decision by the bankruptcy court rests on the outcome of the lawsuit as it needs a precise and legal statement of Foxwood’s financial status.