United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
JOHN W. DEGRAVELLES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the Motion for Summary
Judgment filed by Defendant Community Management, LLC
(“Community”). (“Motion, ” Doc. 55).
Plaintiff Jonathan Raburn has filed an Opposition to the
Motion, (Doc. 61), and Community has filed a Reply in further
support of the Motion, (Doc. 68). The parties have also
submitted supplemental briefs as discussed infra.
(Docs. 72, 73).
careful consideration of the law, facts, and arguments of the
parties, for the reasons set forth below, the Motion is
granted. Judgment shall be entered consistent with this
Ruling and Order.
March 2016, Community entered into an Association Management
Agreement (“Agreement”) with the Colony
Homeowner's Association, Inc. (“the Colony”),
wherein the Colony retained Community to manage its
homeowner's association. (See Doc. 55-2 at 1-2).
According to the Agreement, Community was authorized to act
on behalf of the Colony in all matters affecting the
management of its homeowner's association. (Id.
at 2). The Agreement sets forth numerous duties for Community
to undertake on the Colony's behalf, including
association affairs management, financial management
services, management and collection of homeowner assessments,
establishing a “resale and new resident communication
hub, ” legal affairs management, tax management,
insurance and investment management, board membership and
relationship management, board meeting management, annual
meeting management, contractor and vendor management,
property and common area management, deed restriction and
enforcement, architectural control committee management, and
maintaining a customized website. (Id. at 12-16).
to an affidavit from one of the “founding
members” of Community, Community performs for the
Colony “a multitude of services” unrelated to
collecting debts. (Doc. 55-5 at 4). Per the affidavit,
Community “devotes all of its efforts to managing and
maintaining the property and less than five percent to the
collection of past due assessments, ” and its
“primary purpose is not the collection of debts.”
(Id.). Plaintiff's Statement of Contested
Material Facts acknowledges that Community and the Colony
concluded the Agreement but disagrees that Community was
“actually performing” the duties described, as he
has not “witnessed performance” of them. (Doc.
61-1 at 1).
is a member of the Colony who did not pay some monthly
assessments as they came due. (Doc. 55-6 at 4). Community
claims he failed to pay for “unknown reasons, ”
while Plaintiff contends that it is “well
established” that he stopped paying because work billed
for was not actually being performed. (Id.; Doc.
61-1 at 1).
about March 6, 2017, Community sent Plaintiff a letter
advising him of the debt he allegedly owed and that the
Colony, “through its agent, ” might place a lien
on his property due to his non-payment of assessments. (Doc.
55-3 at 1; Doc. 61-2 at 1). The next paragraph instructed
Plaintiff to address questions to “Community
Management, LLC, ” and the paragraph after that
instructed Plaintiff to “go to
www.cmgt.org/thecolony” to make an online payment.
(Doc. 55-3 at 1; Doc. 61-2 at 1). The letter was on the
Colony's letterhead and signed “The Colony.”
(Doc. 55-3 at 1; Doc. 61-2 at 1). The letter closed with the
following address block:
PLEASE MAIL PAYMENT TO:
C/O Community Management
PO Box 60878 Phoenix, AZ 85082-0878
55-3 at 1; Doc. 61-2 at 1). According to a declaration from
Plaintiff, he initially thought the letter was from the
Colony due to the letterhead and signature line. (Doc. 61-4
at 1-2). He did not realize until he re-read the letter ...