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Law & Litigation Blog

$20 Million Verdict Against Homeowners Association in Personal Injury Case

In a recent personal injury lawsuit in Las Vegas, Nevada, a jury has returned a whopping $20,000,000 verdict against a homeowner's association. The case is captioned as Carl Thompson v. Lamplight Village Homeowners Association, Case No. A-14-697688-C, and was tried in Clark County District Court before Judge Joe Hardy. It should come as no surprise that the Plaintiff was represented by one of the top personal injury lawyers in the area.

The facts of the case are as follows:

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  • The jury found the Lamplight Village at Centennial Springs Homeowners Association responsible for injuries sustained in 2013 by Carl Thompson, a teenager, after a metal bar on a swing set broke and landed on his head. Thompson made the case that the HOA failed to adequately inspect and maintain their playground.

  • Thompson allegedly suffered a traumatic brain injury, persistent headaches, memory loss, movement problems with his right arm and a substantially increased risk of developing dementia.

  • The highest pretrial settlement offer of $125,000, according to Thompson’s attorney Sean Claggett. Apparently this offer was increased to $2 million, the maximum policy limit under coverage provided by Lamplight’s insurer, Community Association Underwriters, after closing arguments.

  • Lamplight disputed the extent of Thompson's injuries and argued that a property management company was responsible for maintaining the swingset.

  • The judgment was all medical expenses and pain and suffering (and $10,000,000 in punitive damages) - it included no lost wages. This is noteworthy given the amount.

According to a popular Reddit post about the case:

  • The homeowner's association has 205 homes

  • Insurance only covers $2,000,000 of the verdict, leaving $18,000,000. Divided by the number of homes, this could mean each homeowner is responsible for $88,000 (if that is how Nevada law works).

It is unclear what will happen from here, and to what extent the Plaintiff can try to "collect" the judgment from the individual homeowners. It is worth noting that the injury happened in 2013 and the trial just now took place, in 2018. The HOA has appealed, so it may be even longer before there is a final resolution. One thing is for sure - the personal injury attorney who got this verdict has bragging rights.

Alex Durst is a Cincinnati personal injury attorney with The Durst Law Firm. Licensed in Ohio, Alex has also practiced in Missouri, Florida, Indiana, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Kentucky. Alex can be reached at (513) 621-2500 or alex@durstlawfirm.com.