Work truck was sued for advertisement but my neighbors were not

31 Replies

I was sued for three reasons:

- Operating a home business out of my home.

- Having a work truck in my driveway

- Having decals/advertising on the work truck

Background:

I live in the State of Indiana and have lived in my subdivision since 2006. During that time I have always worked from home and had a small home based biz for hosting events. During the years of 2008-2010 I had an SUV with decals advertising the biz name and social media.  I never received any type of letter or notice to remove the decals/wrap.

In 2017 I started a new business, Vino Mobile Bar. It is the very first wine truck in the USA. I have parked my wine truck 10 times in my driveway over the past 18 months to clean or load wine. We have another piece of property in which we park it at. 

We received a letter stating that we had to remove the wine truck due to the advertising.  I was caught off guard and thought they are joking. So I did not respond b/c there are three other work trucks literally 4 doors down that have ads all over them.  

Well, needless to say I and my company got sued. We hired any attorney but that was about useless. The end result was I lost and have to pay the HOA $15,000.00 and $8,000.00 to my attorney. That will end up bankrupting my business.

I asked one of the neighbors with a work truck if he has ever received a letter telling him to remove his truck or park in the garage. He stated that he had not. I then stated taking pictures of his truck and sent them into the HOA as it violated the covenants. I have heard nothing for the past 60 days until this week. The owner of the work truck that I spoke to sent me a DM via social media that made threats and negative undertones. I immediately blocked him. I found out via social media that he posted on the community FB page that the 'HOA provided him with the name of the person that took the pics and turned him in for having ads on his truck'. That 'he could share the name of the community member but he is not going to.'

Question: How can the HOA provide my emails and contact information to this homeowner? I thought the whole point was that a homeowner could submit a violation in a confidential manner?

Question: Does this not fall under the Selective Enforcement? This homeowner met with the HOA on Tuesday (1/23/18) and his truck is still siting out in his driveway.

Question: What recourse do I have, if any, on this? They are clearly a 'good ole' boys club' and I am not included.

I have written two letters this week to Kirkpatrick Management Company asking for a meeting. I have not heard anything at this time.

Thank you for your time and comments.

Jenn Kampmeier-Aaron

I have always thought HOA's were the invention of nosy people who have nothing better to do than to get into other peoples business. Then try to figure out some way of messing it up. I think it comes from growing up watching Bewitched a lot, and the nosy neighbor always trying to catch Samantha doing something she didn't like. It is evil, just evil what some of the POAs and HOA's do.

Not an HOA expert, but I feel like you need a new/better attorney. $15k for parking a work truck on the property seems a bit excessive, don’t you think?

Anyway, I can’t imagine you solving any of this without an attorney, and considering they already won once, I’d imagine they aren’t going to roll over if you bluff legal action.

All I can say is wow

First you were lucky for several years for not having been reported. Your luck ran out. Too bad but that's life. Not sure what your thinking was (joke ?????) in ignoring the warning but lesson learned.

Second reporting your neighbour out of spite was a petty thing to do. Shame.

As far as your neighbour knowing who snitched on him is concerned....he doesn't, The HOA did not report you he is BSing based on a hunch.

What the hell were you thinking when you spoke to him before making the report. You painted a target on your own back. You made yourself the obvious suspect.

Take care of your own affairs and stop trying to get even by reporting others. It's petty.

There is no law for “HOA-homeowner complaint filer privilege”.

I got a speeding ticket but the guy next to me didn’t.....luck of the draw, or other personality reasons.

post up your HOC docs.... then we can give you answers.

every vehicle in your HOA has a company advertising on it . Ford , Toyota , Nissan , Edsel

Thomas-

I appreciate your feedback but indeed in the USA and in our HOA we have the right to report homeowner violations.  
In fact, this is called Selective Enforcement.  An HOA cannot single out a homeowner and not enforce the same set of rules to another homeowner. Yes, the HOA provided copes of the email with my personal contact information on it.  He has contacted me numerous times with threats. We have turned this issue over to the police dept. The HOA has placed my family in a unsafe situation.
However, I appreciate your interesting comments.

Cheers
Jenn



Originally posted by @Thomas S. :

First you were lucky for several years for not having been reported. Your luck ran out. Too bad but that's life. Not sure what your thinking was (joke ?????) in ignoring the warning but lesson learned.

Second reporting your neighbour out of spite was a petty thing to do. Shame.

As far as your neighbour knowing who snitched on him is concerned....he doesn't, The HOA did not report you he is BSing based on a hunch.

What the hell were you thinking when you spoke to him before making the report. You painted a target on your own back. You made yourself the obvious suspect.

Take care of your own affairs and stop trying to get even by reporting others. It's petty.

Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

every vehicle in your HOA has a company advertising on it . Ford , Toyota , Nissan , Edsel

Matthew-  In fact you are true on your statement.

Thank you

Jenn

Originally posted by @Wayne Brooks :

I got a speeding ticket but the guy next to me didn’t.....luck of the draw, or other personality reasons.

 Wayne-  I appreciate your thoughts but that is a 'little loose' in your analogy.  In fact it is called Selective Enforcement and that is what we are moving forward with.  I appreciate your interesting comments.

Thank you

Jenn

Originally posted by @Mike McCarthy :

Not an HOA expert, but I feel like you need a new/better attorney. $15k for parking a work truck on the property seems a bit excessive, don't you think?

Anyway, I can’t imagine you solving any of this without an attorney, and considering they already won once, I’d imagine they aren’t going to roll over if you bluff legal action.

All I can say is wow

Mike-

Thank you for your comments. We have filed an appeal with the appellate court. We have also contacted the insurance company and filed a claim against them. The HOA agreed when they contracted services with the ins carrier that they adhere to the HOA Covenants and enforce them equally. We have a claim number and an adjuster is contacting us. If the ins company finds the HOA in fault then they will cancel their ins. Which brings new light b/c then the HOA Board members are not covered and can be sued on an indiv basis.

Thank you for your comments.

Jenn

"it is called Selective Enforcement"

Guess what every single municipality operates on exactly the same principal. Until there is a complaint no action is taken to inforce the majority of bylaws related to home owners. They are all complaint drive so no grounds in your case.

"$15k for parking a work truck on the property seems a bit excessive, don't you think?"

The fine was not for parking the vehicle on the property it was for refusing/failing to remove when instructed to do so. Huge difference. As a landlord I give warnings to tenants all the time for violation of leases. I do not take action until they fail to comply and at that point I serve a eviction notice. Eviction notice is not served for minor infraction it is served for failure to comply. Eviction is excessive for failing to put garbage pails away but not excessive for refusing to put them away.

First of all it’s Carmel so of course that’s the case. They make McDonald’s use limestone on the outside of their building to sell $1 hamburgers.

What’s funny is the community of Carmel is very petty and HOA members have nothing better to do than screw their neighbors and that’s why you got sued and got you upset. Then you do the EXACT same thing to your neighbor. Send pictures over the course of a period of time trying to get him sued? Wow.

Originally posted by @Josh C. :

First of all it’s Carmel so of course that’s the case. They make McDonald’s use limestone on the outside of their building to sell $1 hamburgers.

What's funny is the community of Carmel is very petty and HOA members have nothing better to do than screw their neighbors and that's why you got sued and got you upset. Then you do the EXACT same thing to your neighbor. Send pictures over the course of a period of time trying to get him sued? Wow.

Josh-

I appreciate your comments. I am not trying to get my neighbor sued I am simply acting as a homeowner and sharing with the HOA that a homeowner in in violation of the same covenant that they sued me for. How can one homeowner be sued for advertising and the other neighbor not have to abide by the same HOA covenant. To me it sounds like the 'good ole' boys club'...

And.. I do love living in Carmel.... I have nothing against my city.

Thank you

Jenn

Originally posted by @Thomas S. :

"it is called Selective Enforcement"

Guess what every single municipality operates on exactly the same principal. Until there is a complaint no action is taken to inforce the majority of bylaws related to home owners. They are all complaint drive so no grounds in your case.

"$15k for parking a work truck on the property seems a bit excessive, don't you think?"

The fine was not for parking the vehicle on the property it was for refusing/failing to remove when instructed to do so. Huge difference. As a landlord I give warnings to tenants all the time for violation of leases. I do not take action until they fail to comply and at that point I serve a eviction notice. Eviction notice is not served for minor infraction it is served for failure to comply. Eviction is excessive for failing to put garbage pails away but not excessive for refusing to put them away.

 Thomas-

Appreciate your time.. but as you stated you are a property manager and not an attorney.

Have a wonderful day!

Jenn

This post has been removed.

Actually, you were trying to get your neighbor in trouble. How could you possibly debate that? You weren’t acting like homeowner. Homeowners are supposed to keep their grass cut and help their neighbors when they need it. You were trying to get your neighbor in trouble for absolutely no benefit to yourself.

Anyway, I’m glad you like Carmel. Seems like a good fit for you.

I was going to reply and actually try to provide some value, then I saw the Jenn replying to other people and decided it's not worth getting a cynical reply or attacked over. Yes Jenn, like Thomas I am also not an attorney.  Maybe you should post your questions on attorney.com?

I am considering moving into the house next to you and promote my "gentlemen club" with pictures of some of the girls who work for me on my truck. I'm sure you'll like for your kids to see that (if you have any). 

Somebody in your neighborhood didn't like the fact you were promoting wine/alcohol. Don't forget you live in Carmel. Rather than taking it serious and following the laws of the neighborhood you chose to live in, you ignored them. You thought it was a joke, really?

I think it's very petty from whoever reported you, but clearly you're not a whole lot better person than whoever this may be.

Lesson for everyone else: Read the HOA before you buy, try to follow those rules. When you get a notification you are breaking one of those rules, try to not do it again. HOA have massive powers.

For the record, I do not own or operate a gentleman club.

Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

every vehicle in your HOA has a company advertising on it . Ford , Toyota , Nissan , Edsel

Edsel. Made me laugh. 

Sounds like selective enforcement. The board hasn’t enforced the by-laws for years and now they’re enforcing the association laws. It can back fire if not done correctly.

Originally posted by @Tommy Spijkers :

I was going to reply and actually try to provide some value, then I saw the Jenn replying to other people and decided it's not worth getting a cynical reply or attacked over. Yes Jenn, like Thomas I am also not an attorney.  Maybe you should post your questions on attorney.com?

I am considering moving into the house next to you and promote my "gentlemen club" with pictures of some of the girls who work for me on my truck. I'm sure you'll like for your kids to see that (if you have any). 

Somebody in your neighborhood didn't like the fact you were promoting wine/alcohol. Don't forget you live in Carmel. Rather than taking it serious and following the laws of the neighborhood you chose to live in, you ignored them. You thought it was a joke, really?

I think it's very petty from whoever reported you, but clearly you're not a whole lot better person than whoever this may be.

Lesson for everyone else: Read the HOA before you buy, try to follow those rules. When you get a notification you are breaking one of those rules, try to not do it again. HOA have massive powers.

For the record, I do not own or operate a gentleman club.

 Tommy-

I would have no problem if you marketed your business on your truck. I am for anyone who is a business owner who drives their truck for work to make a living/money to pay bills and yes, the HOA fees. I have lived here since 2006 and had a previous SUV wrapped and never received any letters or notifications. I do appreciate your comments.

Thank you

Originally posted by Account Closed:

I really need to install a seat-belt on my chair so I will stop falling out of it! The descrite irony is, at least to me, that the guy who really benefits is the attorney! $8,000 for a simple civil matter involving an HOA? You should have went and personally represented yourself for $8,000!

 Hi Kyle-

Yes, I would have loved to represent myself BUT... and here is the kicker... they sued my business and I am an LLC ... so in the State of IN (and maybe other states) a business owner cannot represent their business... we had to hire an atty.

We tried to settle out of court for $4,000.00 but the HOA refused... so we had to go to court. They wanted to make an example of me and they did.. which is fine.. they just need enforce everyone in the neighborhood.

Thank you for your comments.

Jenn

Originally posted by @Dustin Salsido :

Sounds like selective enforcement. The board hasn’t enforced the by-laws for years and now they’re enforcing the association laws. It can back fire if not done correctly.

 Dustin-

Thank you for your comments. Can you share more about how it could backfire?  I am new to all of this and looking for advice.

Thank you for your time.

Jenn

Ever gone fishing?

Ever caught them all?

You can try and fight it for selective enforcement. It's your money. All they have to say is "Fred came in to a board meeting and requested a variance, which was granted". Did you go in and ask for a variance?

As far as "How can the HOA provide my information": They most likely showed him the complaint with the pictures taken from your front window and used deductive reasoning to decide what house the pictures came from.

This is my personal opinion from being on several boards and from being involved in plenty of situations, not necessarily the views of this station:

When something happens you disagree with fight the rules, request changes, be civil and polite. Try and work the system to make it better or find a way around that everyone is happy with. Going around reporting others, trying to get other people to feel your pain by having it them self is just dirty pool. Do you realize how many non-DOS compliant RE signs are up around me? It would be a full time job for me to run around and report them all. I have better things to do with my time. Secondly most of them are clueless to the rules so when I miss a rule, I'd rather not have everyone I reported getting their opportunity to get back at me.

As far as you having the truck in your driveway 10 times over 18 months just long enough to load and unload is not why you got in trouble. If that was the case they would not know if you were a customer or the owner. If your wine truck was parked off site 17 months and 21 days over the last year and a half then nobody would have any idea you were running a business out of your home. Anybody would think you had a business over at some other property. If you decided to send out flyers with your address and put a sign up or send out email marketing with your home address...... Or had boxes and boxes of wine out where people could consider it an eyesore, then that's how they figured it out.

I do wish you the best and hope the situation gets resolved to everyone's satisfaction. 

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