By Ronald L. Perl, Esq.

Community associations can learn something from Milwaulkee Brewer outfielder and National League MVP Ryan Braun’s successful appeal of his 50 game suspension. Braun (pictured below) was suspended after a positive drug test administered pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement between Major League Baseball (“MLB”) and its Players’ Union.  The test was administered by a health care professional serving as an independent contractor to MLB. The collective bargaining agreement contains very specific procedural requirements dealing with the handling of samples collected for drug testing. One of those procedures involved transporting the sample promptly to Federal Express, which would ship the sample to the testing lab. Braun’s sample was allegedly not handled strictly in accordance with the procedure set forth in the collective bargaining agreement, and, on that basis, a panel of arbitrators overturned the suspension.

Community associations also have specific procedural requirements concerning issues such as the imposition of fines and/or late fees, the adoption and enforcement of rules and regulations, the approval of architectural modification applications and more. The courts have generally held associations to those procedures, requiring strict compliance. Therefore, board members should take note of the Braun matter and, in conducting the affairs of the association, use caution to ensure that both the substantive and procedural requirements of the governing documents and the law are being observed and followed.