Fred Rogers of the PBS television show “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” often related a quote his mother told him when he encountered scary news as a young boy: “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Most members of community association Boards of Directors are helpers by nature. That is why they volunteer to serve their communities. So, it is not surprising that some of the most frequent questions we at NowackHoward are receiving from our clients relate to how the Board can help community members in this time of crisis due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Importantly, a community association Board of Directors does not have a duty under the law to protect its members from the COVID-19 coronavirus or to otherwise protect the health or safety of its members. However, under Georgia law, if an owner of property or a person in control of property voluntarily undertakes an action which gives people who use the property a feeling of safety or an impression that the possibility of bodily injury is reduced, the person/entity is held to the same standard of care that Georgia law imposes for mandatory duties. So, if a Board, on behalf of its association, takes on such a duty, it exposes the association to potential liability if it is negligent in performing the voluntarily assumed duty. In other words, a good deed could punish an association if personal injury lawyers start advertising for clients who want to blame someone for causing a person’s contamination.