James Hauser was a passenger in a car driven by Jack Incorvia within a gated community where the roads are owned by the homeowner’s association. After attending a series of parties at homes within the community where he consumed illegal drugs and alcohol, intoxicated Incorvia drove his car off the road into a tree, killing passenger Hauser.

Hauser’s minor child, Jaylee Titus, brought this lawsuit against the homeowner’s association and its security service for premises liability damages arising from Hauser’s death on the homeowner association road.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

At the trial, the homeowner’s association and its security service explained it had no connection with the death-causing event, namely Incorvia’s careless driving. Although Incorvia lived in the community with his father, and he had been previously ticketed for speeding, evading arrest and “running stops,” the homeowner’s association argued it was not liable for Incorvia’s conduct.

Evidence produced by the trial by the plaintiff revealed Incorvia had been previously arrested or convicted of possession of controlled substances, furnishing methamphetamine to minors, and reckless or erratic driving.

If you were the judge would you rule the homeowner’s association is liable to the minor child of the deceased passenger for failure to prevent the driver on its road from causing the passenger’s death?

The judge said “no!”

There was no special relationship between the deceased passenger, James Hauser, and the homeowner’s association, which owns the roads within this private community, the judge began.

Although the passenger’s death was unfortunate, he continued, the homeowner’s association and its security service had no special duty of care to stop every driver on the association’s road to check for sobriety.

Evidence shows deceased James Hauser voluntarily became a passenger in Incorvia’s automobile, the judge explained. Neither the homeowner’s association nor its security service created the peril, namely Incorvia’s driving while intoxicated, nor did they act to increase the risk of harm to which Hauser exposed himself, the judge ruled.

Because the homeowner’s association and its security service had no involvement in this tragic situation, the association that owns the road where Hauser died has no liability to his surviving minor child, the judge concluded.

Based on the 2004 California Court of Appeal decision in Titus v. Canyon Lake Property Owners Association, 13 Cal.Rptr.3d 807.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center


What’s your opinion? Send your Letter to the Editor to opinion@inman.com.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription