Homeowners associations (“HOAs”) are a foundational piece of life in the United States for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. These planned communities provide stable living arrangements that many homeowners desire, and protect buyers’ expectations of a neighborhood’s character. Despite the ostensibly beneficial goals of HOAs, they have generated substantial controversy. Columbia, Missouri, was the backdrop of a garden-variety HOA dispute between Ajay Aggarwal and Megha Garg (“the Homeowners”) and the Arrowhead Lake Estates Homeowners Association (“Arrowhead”). The Homeowners submitted a plan for several outdoor improvements but failed to include a small shed that would cover pool equipment. After a trial judge’s denial of a substantial sum of attorney fees, the parties litigated whether the HOA should receive its attorney fees. What originally seemed like a petty dispute over a small shack became a four-year march through all three levels of Missouri’s judicial system to arrive at a result that may frustrate future litigants and harm homeowners.
Pool Houses and Public Policy: The Uncollectability of Contractual Attorney Fees in Missouri,
87 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol87/iss2/10